Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
The concept of the product life cycle is not new, having been described, analyzed and discussed so often in the literature of marketing, management and manufacturing. While its strategic implications have been the subject of much research, little is known about its effect on operational aspects, particularly for product and process design. This paper intends to fill this gap. Four product and process concepts are considered; they are modularization, mass customization, the customer order decoupling point, and postponement.
By means of a causal loop diagram, the relationships between the different concepts are explored, all finally connecting to one of two business benefits: cost reduction or customer value enhancement.
Building on the diagram, a conceptual framework is presented; intended to serve as a set of guidelines for companies wishing to align their product and process design with respect to the product life cycle, allowing benefits to be gained by leveraging the different stages of the product life cycle.
Finally, a case study tests the conceptual framework against a global materials handling equipment manufacturer. Due to the long product life cycles existing in the industry, it was not possible to fully cover all steps of the product life cycle. However, the application of the other concepts was explored in great detail for both the operational supply chain, as well as for the design of new products.
2010. , 112 p.