An approach to quantifying flexibility for mass customization in the early stages of design
MetadataShow full item record
With the increasing stratification of customer preferences, companies must offer a number of options to remain competitive. Current methodologies, such as product families, seek to offer more options to the consumer while minimizing costs to the company. Customizable products are striving to offer the customer what they truly desire by increasing the level of influence the consumer has on their instance of the design. As the shift from cosmetic changes and modular options continues, systems will be required to have a greater amount of design flexibility to allow for the changes made by individual consumers. Drawing on reconfigurable system and product family research, three metrics for flexibility are proposed for use in the early stages of the design process. Discussion focuses on functional aspects of a system which affect flexibility and the rational behind the metrics used to represent their flexibility. The goal of the metric is to assist with the evaluation of design options by evaluating the flexibility of the system early in the design process. Two case studies are presented to demonstrate the use of the metric.