Product Platforming
Effective Management and
Creation.
Product Platforming


Terminology
Motivation
• Why Study Product Platforms?

Managing Platforms
• Power Tower
• Platform Evolution

Platform Strategy
•
•
•
•

Plan for the Design Process
Develop Engineering Specifications
Concept Generation
Develop Product
Conclusions
Product Platform

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Set of subsystems and
interfaces that form a common
structure from which a stream of
derivative products can be efficiently
developed and produced.
Product Platform
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Product Family

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Set of individual products that share
common technology (Platform) and
address a related set of market
applications
Product Family
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
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Why Study
Product Platforms?

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Disadvantages of Single Product
Development
•
•
•
No commonality, standardization, or
modularization of products or their component
parts
Using different materials for the same purpose
Components with same technical specifications,
but different scale, so parts are noninterchangeable
Technology is developed at great expense
to serve a single product.
Why Study
Product Platforms?

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Advantages of Platform
Development
•
•
When new derivative products are abandoned,
no great cost is incurred
“If you generate one idea; it will most likely be a
poor idea. If you generate 20 ideas, you might
have one good idea.”
Platforms capitalize on the good stuff.
Benefits of Platforming
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Objective

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Effective platform management
maintains product innovation across
multiple generations.
Power Tower
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Models product and process
innovation

•
•
•
Market Applications
Platforms
Common Building Blocks
The Power Tower integrates the “Bottomup” and “Top-down” approach to
initiating product innovation.
Power Tower
Market Applications


•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Market Applications take the form
of derivative products (Bottom-up)
Establish the need for a derivative product
or platform (Top-down)
Examples of Bottom-up and Top-down products.
Power Tower
Product Platforms

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Platforms must be managed as evolving
entities
Walkman
Museum
Power Tower
Product Platforms


•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Platforms should provide leverage
Sub-system interfaces can be strategic
Power Tower
Product Platforms
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Sometimes the process is the platform.
Power Tower
Building Blocks of Platforms

Customer insights



Integrate new technology into platforms
Manufacturing processes


“Imagine that you are the product; then think
about how you, as the product, frustrate your
users.”
Technology

“Process is the platform.”
Organizational capabilities



•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Distribution
Customer Support
Organizational Capabilities
Power Tower
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Create a Power Tower for Black and
Decker’s versa-pak platform.
Platform Strategy
1.
2.
3.
4.
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Plan for the Design Process
Develop Engineering Specifications
Concept Generation
Develop Product
Plan for the
Design Process
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Assemble the “Ocean’s 11” of
Product Platforming
 Exercise: What types of people
should be on a design team?

Develop Engineering
Specifications
1.
2.
3.
Know Your Market
Define Existing Platforms
Envision Future Platforms
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Engineering Specs
Know Your Market

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Identify major market segments
(horizontal) and price performance tiers
(vertical)
Engineering Specs
Know Your Market

Identify design drivers
• What does the market want?
• Use market research!

Sunbeam Iron
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Cost
•
Complexity
•
Commonality
•
Reliability and Quality
•
Dimensions
•
Flexibility and
Variability
Direct and indirect
•Transportation
Number of
subsystems
•Parts and
components
•
Similar parts
•Similar Processes
Performance
•Safety (fail safe)
Weight
Time and labor
•Material
•Capital
•
•
Volume
Processes
Similar materials
•Similar interfaces
•
Robustne
ss
•Failure
•
•
Service
life
•Modes
•
Mass
Richness in ability to provide extremes in
performance and features without system suboptimization or loss of ‘elegance’
•
Modularity
•
Subsystems with elegant interface
architecture allow for rich variety within sub
function without causing disruptions to any
other subsystem
Simplicity
•
A customer-pleasing level of features and
variability with a minimum number of parts
and interfaces
Engineering Specs
Define Existing Platforms


•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Where do your current products sit on the
grid?
Where are your competitors?
Get specific!
Engineering Specs
Envision Future Platforms

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
How could a new product address current
market “holes”?
Concept Generation
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Main Goal: Discover the product
architecture and make the architecture
common across many products.
1.
Define aim
2.
Define relevant existing products (including competition)
3.
Define several product concepts
4.
Realize over-arching architecture
5.
Define a platform concept
6.
Refine platform concept
Concept Generation
Define Aim
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
What should this product do?
 Develop your design drivers

• ‘5+2’ Method

Where do you intend to expand your
product family?
Concept Generation
Define Relevant Existing Products



•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Patent Search
Rate in terms of function and cost
Composite Design
Concept Generation
Define Concept Products

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Generate concepts that fit in your current
and future markets
Concept Generation
Realize Over-Arching Architecture
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
What do all your concepts have in
common?
 What parts/sub-systems are crucial
to the function?
 What parts can be produced
similarly?

Concept Generation
Define a Concept Platform
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Pay attention to connection points
 How will the platform save time
and/or money?
 Degrees of Freedom

Concept Generation
Refine Concept Platform

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Complexity
• Complexity = Np + Nt + Ni

Np , Nt , and Ni , are the number of parts, types of
parts, and interfaces respectively.
Develop Product
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Focus on the ‘one best way’
 Using new equipment could lower
unit cost substantially

Managing Platforms

Use the Power Tower
•
•
•
•
Goes top-down and bottom-up
Building Blocks
Platforms
Market Applications
•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Platform Strategy

•Terminology
•Motivation
•Managing
Platforms
•Platform Strategy
•Conclusions
Planning
• Assemble a multi-disciplined team

Develop Engineering Specs
•
•
•
•

Know your market
Break it down into horizontal and vertical components
Define existing platforms
Envision future platforms
Concept Generation
1. Define aim
2. Define relevant existing products
3. Define several concepts
4. Realize over-arching architecture
5. Define platform concept
6. Refine platform

Develop Product
• Decide on the best concept, and best manufacturing process
Next Time
Start thinking about ice
scrapers.
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Product Platforming