MIT Strategic Engineering

Product Platforms and Commonality

Many firms and organizations have to provide ever increasing numbers of variants and customized products and services to remain successful. Product Platforms are a particularly successful strategy for reusing architectures and design solutions from one variant, market segment or customer to the next. Product platforms are essentially a coherent subset of the overall design that is leveraged across multiple applications. A more general commonality strategy is one where individual components and processes are reused. The most significant challenge is to decide how much and where to implement commonality to balance between potential gains in efficiency versus sub-optimality of reusing solutions that are somewhat sub-optimal for individual users.

To master this need for external (market-facing) complexity with minimal internal complexity, firms are pursuing a variety of platforming and commonality strategies. Where and how much commonality should be introduced in a product family or set of related projects? What are the technical, financial and architectural implications of alternative platform and commonality strategies? This research area focuses on developing frameworks and methods for platforming, commonality and smart standardization and their application and refinement through industrial practice.

Specific contributions to the Product Platforms and Commonality domain are as follows:

Publications about Product Platforms and Commonality