Product modularity theory and practice: the benefits and difficulties in implementation within a company

Type de publication:

Journal Article


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 1, Number 4, p.425-448 (2001)



The automotive industry has undergone considerable change, which has led to increased competition internally: product life cycles have shortened and competition has become a worldwide phenomenon. In this new context, the ‘product lever’ is becoming increasingly important and strategic in corporate marketing mixes. Ensuring increasingly higher quality products to fulfil the needs of the highest possible number of customers more satisfactorily and rapidly hinges on the product development process. Car manufacturers are required to combine increasingly specific market needs with corporate profit and value-related objectives to ensure success and thereby maintain or improve their position with regards to competitors. Therefore businesses are required to reconsider products and the methods used for dismantling in order to fulfil this kind of objective. The focus of the document is the concept of modularity applied specifically to product structure and relative documentation in order to improve the product development process. Modular product structures ensure real improvements and thereby lead to considerable benefits for the business, such as: a reduction in Time To Market - by decreasing the lead times for product documentation; a reduction in Time To Order - by both decreasing the time required to reply to customer orders and increasing the flexibility of the production mix; an increase in the stability of production plans; an improvement in the quality of product information; a reduction in BOM (Bill Of Material) code management while offering the same range of final product variants and thereby reducing back office management costs. © 2001 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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