Towards Development Platforms - Models, Processes and IT-Tools for Platform-Based Development across the Lifecycle
Product developing companies strive to provide their customers with high quality products, more quickly than their competitors, using as few resources as possible. One way of managing all three aspects at the same time is to reuse old, quality assured designs and knowledge in new products. A common way to do that is to create a platform with designs that are reusable in many different products.
Traditionally, research on platforms has focused on finding ways to provide manufacturing with a low number of parts to be able to increase utilization of expensive production equipment. However, a designer needs more information than just the physical form of a design in order to reuse the design to cut development lead-time. The use of platforms based on core technologies and re-configurable systems as platform elements may on the other hand give the needed support. These types of platforms are here referred to as development platforms. This thesis elaborates on support for working with development platforms that are integrated across the lifecycle of a product.
The studies in this thesis show that platform approaches in literature today do not cover the need to support holistic platform development across all stages of a lifecycle. As a solution, configurable system elements may be used as a bridge between abstract descriptions of platforms (e.g. technology platforms) and concrete descriptions (e.g. part-based and module-based platforms).
Further, development platforms may be supported by a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) architecture for engineering-to-order configuration, but it can also serve as a tool to learn about the knowledge gaps that need to be filled to get a product to meet requirements. However, there is a great risk in trying to support design reuse with IT-applications alone. In order to fully support platform-based development, an organization needs to consider business objectives, processes, information architecture and application architecture.
product lifecycle management
Gamma, Hörsalsvägen 7, Chalmers University of Technology
Opponent: Prof. Ola Isaksson, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Luleå University of Technology