Platform thinking in the automotive industry - managing dualism between standardization of components for large scale production and variation for market and customer
Paper i proceeding, 2007
Automotive industry faces two major problems. One is to develop standard platforms to reach high volumes and low cost. The other is to use platforms for enabling variation of models that suit customer needs, local market demands, and restrictions. Platform thinking embraces several industrial levels, systems integrators, global and local suppliers, and markets. How can the dualism between standardization of components and model variation be managed and which trade-offs need to be made?
In this paper we have identified and analyzed different approaches to platform concept from technical as well as organizational, production, and product development perspectives. Platform technology improves flexibility in production and product development. However, when radical changes are made, new design of platform is not easily made, i.e. propagation of requirements and changes in models vs. platforms. When this happens, several production systems have to be entirely rebuilt causing major capital investments, redesign at suppliers etc. Hence, platform technology reduces product development flexibility.