Edited by Annabelle Gawer
Chapter 13: Detecting Errors Early: Management of Problem Solving in Product Platform Projects
Ramsin Yakob and Fredrik Tell INTRODUCTION The ability to speed up the product development process has been touted as one source of competitive advantage. Consequently a number of different approaches by which product development cycle times can be reduced have been suggested, often however with contrasting success depending on industry and product complexity (see Eisenhardt and Tabrizi, 1995; Kessler and Bierly, 2002). Product platforms has emerged as one approach towards the increased capability of firms to reduce development cycle times and provide a number of products at lower cost (Meyer and Lehnerd, 1997). Product platforms are often systems consisting of a complex architectural configuration of components and subsystems from which a number of derivative products can be produced. The higher and broader the architectural configuration of a system, the more independences between its parts. Subsequently the approach towards reducing product development cycle time needs to vary depending on the degree of complexity of the product being developed, since some systems have more complex architectural configurations than others (Clift and Vandenbosch, 1999). In this chapter we take a problem-solving approach to product development (Clark and Fujimoto, 1991; Thomke and Fujimoto, 2000) whereby the ability to manage the problem-solving process is considered a key capability in reduced product development cycle time. The development of platforms is a complex endeavour requiring the organizing and utilization and involvement of a number of different functional areas of a firm and the inclusion of a variety of expertise, usually in cross-functional development projects. Problems and errors...
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