Engineer to Order Product Configuration in Stages

Project Details


In industries where tendering and auctions are becoming the preferred approach to increase competition among suppliers and thereby create more value for the customers and consumers, companies are turning to product customization in order to supply customer-specific solutions. In this high-competitive scenario, prices are pushed which challenges companies to adapt their traditional value proposition from reliability, quality, and security to improving the customers’ business case by engineering an increasing number of products to specific customer conditions, introducing extensive product variation in the supply chain. The main challenges in this regard is customizing the right product at the lowest possible cost, when non-standard requirements are demanded and handling that information upstream over a long order horizon, with increasing uncertainty and multiple engineering changes.
This PhD project addresses these challenges by developing and testing methods for staged configuration, enabling different levels of configuration at different times, in order to reduce demand uncertainties for long order horizons. Further, the PhD project establishes methods for handling non-standard products using a product configuration system together with creating knowledge on how customization affects supply chain operations in an engineer-to-order (ETO) setup going towards mass customization.
This is achieved by applying design research methods, where the first part will focus on describing challenges in the industry through case studies and reviewing state-of-the-art research on the topic, in order to compare the two and test the findings. The second part uses Vestas Wind Systems as case company to identify challenges, establish models and finally to test the findings by implementing selected best practices from the general industry, together with method developed from literature review. The testing focuses on operationalization and applicability and is performed in an interactive setup between describing challenges and implementing methods dealing with the challenges. After implementation, the results will be analysed and validated, which benefits the case company, as well as the ETO industry through generalization. The contribution to literature and state-of-the-art is in the area of mass customization, product configuration, and engineer-to-order modelling in configuration systems.
Short titleEngineer to Order Product Configuration in Stages
Effective start/end date01/12/201601/12/2019

Collaborative partners

  • Vestas Wind Systems AS


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