Exploring the potential of applying a platform formulation at supplier level - The case of Volvo Aero Corporation
Paper in proceedings, 2009
The utilization of a platform strategy has become a competitive priority in many industries, enhancing ‘economies of scale’. However, few studies have investigated the applicability of platform strategies at supplier level characterized by small batch production.
The aim of this study is to investigate the potential for implementing a platform formulation in a company characterized by low volume products designed for functional optimization, usually leading to tailored products. The study is descriptive and exploratory, and has studied the reuse of elements between six different product developments at Volvo Aero Corporation. Four different reuse dimensions were investigated: reuse between different product families, reuse over product generations, reuse between customer products and reuse over product size.
The study has shown that reusability exists mostly over generations within the product family. However, it also exists between products in different sizes and between similar components offered to different customers. Some reuse exists between products with different applications, primarily regarding methods and technologies, but only to a limited extent.
Implementing a modularized product platform is not seen as feasible, since most reuse is found at higher abstraction levels. Instead, a technology or knowledge platform is seen as more interesting for leveraging corporate assets, both internally and on the market.
small batch production