SFB 768 Subproject T1

(finished) Methodology for creating cycle-robust module and platform strategies

Field of Study

Engineering Design Processes
Process Management, Change Management, Lean Management, Knowledge Management, Process Modelling

Systems Engineering
Structural Complexity Management, Flexibility and Adaptability of Systems, System Architecture Development, Variant Management


Platform and modular strategies, Lifecycle Management, Anticipation, Changes


The inital situation of industrial partner is chracterized by a high variety of products within the company as well as on the market. These variants are historically grown because of different markets, production sites and suppliers. The key drivers for this product variety are cycles arising from the market, the environment and the company, as well as from the products themselves and their integrated technologies. Internal cycles can occur as development cycles of new products or variants, caused by new technologies or cost reduction projects of existing variants. The external variety and dynamics of the portfolio is increasing to meet the requirements of the markets underlying an accelerated dynamic.
The challenge of the above mentioned variety to face is the development of a flexible platform architecture. The platform architecture has to coop with the offered portfolio and its variety under consideration of the described.


The derived objectives are as followed: the planning department should be enabled to decide about a suitable platform strategy. This should be reached by methodical support for identifying relevant cyclical influence factors and the subsequent platform definition (regarding scope and a market-oriented flexibility on a functional layer). Moreover, supporting methods for the definition of development roadmaps and controlling mechanism should be developed in order to verify the success of the implemented system, to response to unanticipated influences and introduce steering actions. Besides the planning, the development department should be enabled to design the above mentioned platform architectures. Therefore, the current product family architecture is acquired in order to derive different modular concepts. By mapping the cyclic influences and anticipated changes to the product architecture, the architecture should be optimized to depict the required variety and to implement the necessary changes in an efficient way. Besides the mirroring of the product architecture and the organization structure, the module development are synchronized by roadmaps.


The focus of the transfer project lies on the validation and verification and the transfer of research results developed in the first phase of the SFB. Especially, results from the sub-projects A2, B1, B3 and C2 are evaluated by industrial cases. The results are brought back to the respective sub-projects. The transfer project closely cooperates with various sub-projects and represents the connection between research and industry.
Moreover, an approach containing the necessary steps for the defining a cycle-robust modular platform strategy is developed. This approach comprehends a methodology for anticipating the dynamics of required product features based on cycles of context factors. Expert-based as well as data-based methods are used for anticipation. Based on the dynamic information, the required flexibility of product features and its realizing components is determined. Moreover, various development roadmaps are developed in order to plan the anticipated changes under consideration of the available resources. The results are documented in a guideline addressing industry.

Project Term

January 2012 to December 2014