Friday, March 02, 2012

Systemic Management Challenges in Platform Savings

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series
Bruce Cameron, PhD
Lecturer, MIT Engineering Systems Division
Date: March 5, 2012
Time: Noon - 1 p.m. EST
Open to all
Companies from aerospace to white goods use platforming strategies to deliver more variety to their customers, while saving internally by sharing parts and overhead. However, many firms fail to earn a return on their investment in platforms—Black & Decker famously dropped its platforming strategy one generation after a landmark tool family design. This webinar will explore whether such failures are the result of flawed strategy or execution challenges.
The challenges will be discussed in the context of industrial case studies conducted over the last six years. These studies have shown that many firms face systematic downward pressure on commonality. For example, in several cases companies set initial commonality goals only to realize less than half of the commonality expected. Using a systems thinking framework of platforms, it can be shown that this divergence in commonality resulted in noticeable erosion of commonality benefits. Notably, the lead variants that bore the platform costs achieved weak investment returns and recaptured few benefits from later variants. The key management methods used in successful product families will be reviewed, along with descriptions of how they helped firms achieve competitive advantages.

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