Product family platform selection using a Pareto front of maximum commonality and strategic modularity Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2018, Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature. Product family design offers a cost-effective solution for providing a variety of products to meet the needs of diverse markets. At the beginning of product family design, designers must decide what can be shared among the product variants in a family. Optimal design formulations have been developed by researchers to find one optimal component sharing solution based on commonality, cost or technical performance of a product family. However, these optimization methods may not be able to apply in consumer product design because some metrics (e.g., visual appeal and ergonomics) of a consumer product cannot be formulized. In this paper, we suggest a tradeoff between commonality and the quality of the modular architecture in product family platform selection. We introduce a method for designers to identify multiple component sharing options that lie along a Pareto front of maximum commonality and strategic modularity. The component sharing options along the Pareto front can be evaluated, compared, and further modified. We demonstrate the method using a case study of product family platform selection of high-end and low-end impact drivers and electric drills. In the case study, the quality of the modular architecture is evaluated using a design structure matrix (DSM) for each of product variants. Three architectures along the Pareto front with maximum commonality, optimal modularity, and a balanced solution of the two metrics are highlighted and further examined to validate the effectiveness of our method.

author list (cited authors)

  • Baylis, K., Zhang, G., & McAdams, D. A.

citation count

  • 16

publication date

  • May 2018