An investigation of product design and production in an automotive assembler and engine suppliers that adopt modularity

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Producao, 2012, 22 (3), pp. 337 - 379
Issue Date:
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Modularity can be understood as a set of concepts that leads to new product architecture and production organization. This enables the transference of value-added activities throughout the automotive supply chain. In this context, the aim of this paper is to investigate modularity adoption in product design and in production by considering a specific situation of the relationship between a commercial vehicle assembler and engine suppliers. In order to fulfil those objectives, a case-based research was employed as the methodological approach. The results presented some influences that occur between product design and production and vice-versa - part of them were expected. This reinforces the confirmatory nature of the empirical data. The modularity concept may be applied to a productive process not necessarily designed in modules, i.e. it is possible to assemble components as from an existing product, resulting in sub-sets in a modular logic. Data also confirmed that the product architecture of a commercial vehicle favours product division in modules. Moreover, the supply chain management is simplified compared to the traditional production system, as part of the responsibilities is transferred to the suppliers.
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