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The development of a component commonality metric for mass customization

: Blecker, Thorsten; Abdelkafi, Nizar


IEEE transactions on engineering management : EM 54 (2007), No.1, pp.70-85
ISSN: 0018-9391
ISSN: 1558-0040
Journal Article
Fraunhofer MOEZ ( IMW) ()

In this paper, we review the commonality indices that have been developed thus far and demonstrate their possible limitations in evaluating component commonality for mass customization. Therefore, we develop a commonality index that considers generic bills-of-materials for mass customization instead of material-requirements-planning-like product structures. The construction of the index is carried out stepwise. At first, the intermediate commonality metrics with respect to common components, must-generic items, and options are defined. Then, we introduce the total commonality index, which enables the evaluation of the overall commonality of a product family. The index suggests a significant increase of commonality as the number of must-generic items and common components increases. However, product options have a minor contribution to the improvement of commonality. On the basis of a sensitivity analysis, the managerial implications that would result from using the index in practice are derived. We also explore the interdependencies between component commonality and variety-induced complexity on the shop floor. Finally, we discuss the application requirements that should be satisfied in order to effectively use the index.