Quantifying the effects of product family decisions on material selection: A process-based costing approach Academic Article uri icon


  • Product designers must continually assess trade-offs among various performance attributes and cost. Materials choice can play an important role in that decision-making process. Product platforms are used to meet the demand for increased product variety, while also managing costs. Because of their interdependent effects, it is possible that platforming strategies may alter preferred material choice. This paper examines the interrelationship of these early stage design choices through the application of process-based cost modeling. A case study is detailed concerning two alternative material options for an automotive instrument panel beam: a die-cast magnesium design and a conventional design (i.e., discrete stamped steel components) which allows for more component sharing than the integrated magnesium design. The effects of component sharing on product family costs are analyzed. It is shown that the magnesium design is less competitive in platformed scenarios. 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Production Economics

author list (cited authors)

  • Johnson, M. D., & Kirchain, R. E.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Johnson, Michael D||Kirchain, Randolph E

publication date

  • August 2009