Designing product platforms can be challenging, requiring the design of multiple products to maximize commonality without compromising individual performance. Some suggest that the lack of systematic approaches for defining platforms and related product families has made many companies shy away from platform strategies. This article presents a structured platform identification approach that utilizes questionnaires to assess modularity, as well as a function-based model to explore interdependencies and identify commonalities, while identifying market separator(s) by linking functionalities to anticipate customer needs. This approach is applied in an engineer-to-order company and proved to be successful in conceptualizing platforms and planning for new products.
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