Modular Approaches

Improve your ability to develop reusable products/components

The major benefits of reuse (or reusability) are reduced non-recurring costs and shorter program lead times in the research phase preceding development.

Context and challenges

To remain competitive, manufacturers need to react to changing customer behavior and needs (requirement for off-the-shelf products, short development lead times, and product durability), as well as internal needs (knowledge sharing, non-recurring cost reduction, controlled incremental developments, reduction of inventory, and procurement costs).

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They often react in one of two ways, depending on the industry context, even if there are other options:

  • Standardizing or rationalizing components, through complexity-reduction approaches
  • Increasingly resorting to reuse (reusable or ready-for-use product or function), through the creation of product lines, modular elements, and modular architecture (platforming)

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These reuse policies require a company to gradually obtain real control of the product, as that is both the basis of and directly related to any achievable benefits.

The success of these initiatives depends on four fundamental points:

  • Detecting and targeting present AND future customer value, while targeting the market in question:

That involves identifying and understanding the demands of the customer and stakeholders, segmenting and prioritizing needs, and analyzing diversity and clear positioning, then formalizing standards and communicating them to Sales and Programming teams.

  • Improving and tracking reuse performance:

It is necessary to consider the relevance of building blocks in respect of customers’ needs (range/performance/cost), the nature of the business line and product, and the depth of the approach taken to develop and track the relevant indicators (technological maturity, product/project coverage ratio, rate of reuse per project or product line, estimated and validated Return on Investment (ROI) for each standard to be created).

  • Preparing and achieving a cultural transformation:

This approach is not spontaneous and requires organizational and behavioral changes, particularly in Sales (creating Product Line Engineering, applying the reuse roadmap or building block catalogue, implementing standard interfaces, taking into account the effect caused by knowledge transmission, responses to invitations to tender and anticipation of client needs, suggesting standards and skills strengthened in upstream negotiations, and trade-offs with clients to challenge the stated needs).

  • Structurally integrating the initiative:

This integration means agreeing to review the development model and technical roles (organization integrating a Reuse Design Authority, evolution of the development process oriented at reuse of products and improvement of building blocks, and prior identification and consideration of design system risks and opportunities).

How can Argon Consulting help you?

  • Deciding on the best approach to adopt for a business case and its implementation plan, based on the maturity of their Product Engineering, the type of reuse concerned, and the target gains to be achieved
  • Implementing a product complexity reduction policy, through the use of standards/options/variants, and relating to it the study on gains achieved across all operations
  • The performance of specific pilots, supported by experts from our network and our client’s core team, to demonstrate the gains of this type of initiative in a given area (catalogue of modular blocks and control of their maturities, modular architecture and its reuse)
  • Supporting the implementation and ensuring the sustainability of reuse initiatives, by adapting our standard method or applying our three proven specific methods on electronic systems and software, electric systems, or predominantly mechanic systems.

Case Studies

Deployment of a standard design-to-cost approach in an international group
Management and acceleration of an innovation program
Comprehensive restructuring of R&D processes – skills transfer