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Modularization Assessment of Product Architecture

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  • Juliana Hsuan Mikkola

Abstract

Modularization refers to the opportunity for mixing-and-matching of components in a modular product design in which the standard interfaces between components are specified to allow for a range of variation in components to be substituted in a product architecture. It is through mixing-and-matching of these components, and how these components interface with one another, that new systems are created. Consequently, the degree of modularization inherent in a system is highly dependent upon the components and the interface constraints shared among the components, modules, and sub-systems. In this paper, a mathematical model is derived for analyzing the degree of modularization in a given product architecture by taking into consideration the number of components, number of interfaces, the composition of new-to-the-firm (NTF) components, and substitutability of components. An analysis of Chrysler windshield wipers controller suggests that two product architectures may share similar interface constraints, but the opportunity for modularization of one module is significant higher than the other due to the higher substitutability of its components and lower composition of NTF components.

Suggested Citation

  • Juliana Hsuan Mikkola, 2000. "Modularization Assessment of Product Architecture," DRUID Working Papers 00-4, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:00-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Banri Asanuma, 1985. "The Contractual Framework for Parts Supply in the Japanese Automotive Industry," Japanese Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 54-78.
    2. Langlois, Richard N. & Robertson, Paul L., 1992. "Networks and innovation in a modular system: Lessons from the microcomputer and stereo component industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 297-313, August.
    3. Ulrich, Karl, 1995. "The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 419-440, May.
    4. Clark, Kim B., 1985. "The interaction of design hierarchies and market concepts in technological evolution," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 235-251, October.
    5. Kim B. Clark, 1989. "Project Scope and Project Performance: The Effect of Parts Strategy and Supplier Involvement on Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(10), pages 1247-1263, October.
    6. Schaefer, Scott, 1999. "Product design partitions with complementary components," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 311-330, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Product architecture; modularization; substitutability; new product development;

    JEL classification:

    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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