Donal Reddington on mass customization, crowdsourcing and digital manufacturing

Product Family Design Course at MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professional Institute is holding a short course called ‘Product Platform and Product Family Design: From Strategy to Implementation‘, from 31 July to 3 August 2006.
This four day course focuses on the ability of firms to deploy and manage a family of products in a competitive manner.  It will examinine both strategic and implementation aspects of this challenge.

A key strategy is to develop and manufacture a family of product variants derived from a common platform and/or modular architecture.   Reuse of components, processes and design solutions can lead to advantages in learning curves and economies of scale, which have to be carefully balanced against the desire for product customization and competitive pressures.  The course will present the latest theory, methods and tools in this field as well as a number of case studies from industries that have successfully leveraged platforms.

Recent strategic issues such as embedding flexibility in product platforms as well as the effect of platforming on a firm’s cost structure will also be presented.

The course is targeted towards executive decision makers, product managers, marketing managers, product line strategists, product architects, as well as platform and systems engineers in industrial and government contexts.  The cost for course participants is US$2,800.

The lecturers are Prof. Olivier de Weck and Dr. Timothy W. Simpson.  Prof. de Weck is currently an assistant professor with a dual appointment between the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Engineering Systems Division (ESD) at MIT.  His career objective is to carry out cutting edge research and teaching in complex engineering systems with emphasis on Integrated Modeling and Simulation, Multidisciplinary Design Optimization and System Architecture.  His applications of interests include Space Systems and Automotive Platforms.  In 2001 he obtained a Ph.D. in Aerospace Systems from MIT for research on a 2Multivariable Isoperformance Methodology for Precision Opto-Mechanical Systems2.  Dr. Simpson is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University.  He has over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and the focus of his Ph.D. research was on “A Concept Exploration for Product Platform Design”.

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