Product Architecture Design for Global Performance

Yong Yin


In this paper, I characterize the impact of product
global performance on the choice of product architecture
during the product development process. I classify
product architectures into three categories: modular,
hybrid, and integral. Existing researches show that
the choice of product architecture during the new product
development is a crucially strategic decision for a
manufacturing firm. However no single architecture is
optimal in all cases, thus analytic models are required
to identify and discuss specific trade-offs associated with
the choice of the optimal architecture under different circumstance.
This paper develops analytic models whose
objectives are obtaining global performance of product
through a modular/hybrid/integral architecture. Tradeoffs
between costs and expected benefits from different
product architectures are analyzed and compared. Multifunction
products and small size are used as examples
to formalize the models and show the impact of
the global performance characteristics. I also investigate
how optimal architecture changes in response to the
exogenous costs of system integrators. Some empirical
implications obtained from this study show that if one
considers global performance, modular architecture is
an absolutely sub-optimal decision and integral architecture
is an all-the-time candidate for optimal architecture.


Product architecture; Product development; Integrality;Modularity; Tradeoff; Multifunction.

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