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Configuration refers to how the components, parts, or elements of a system fit together. Highly modular elements can be dynamically configured into a diverse set of higher level systems or products. Modularity is a key element of mass customization.

Product configuration --
Product configuration is a useful model for all types of systems configuration.

Product configuration process defined --
A product configuration process is used to --

  • define the features and options of products to support the selection (select, quote, order) and conversion processes.
  • filter product offering based on customer rules, pricing rules, manufacturing rules, and/or marketing rules.
  • create specifications for products dynamically on demand (bill-of-material, routing- process requirements)

    Related definitionsnew --

    • feature -- primary product selection criteria
    • options -- choices related to the primary selection criteria
    • configured item -- set of choices that define a complete product
    • constraint/rule -- limits on an attribute

    Rules --

    • configuration rules -- defines boundary conditions for what is allowed
    • validation rules -- ensures proper selection of component/route or predefined items
    • parameter rules -- proper selection and use of calculated or tabular lookup values

    Examples of rules include marketing programs, maximum and minimum dimensions, performance limits, manufacturing capabilities, shipping and safety constraints, and component availability.

Use of product configuration by business processes --

  • business development -- development of product and process platforms
  • product realization -- product and process development
  • demand creation -- sales profiling
  • revenue generation -- proposal generation, guided selling, product information for potential customers
  • fulfillment -- quote and order, plan, source materials and processes, manufacturing, delivery
  • post sales service -- as built product information, service fulfillment
  • support and development -- product information for costing, designing, upgrades, etc.

Application of configuration by type of conversion processes --

  • Invention -- Configuration with designers for specification. Configuration by engineers for defining product and manufacturing process.
  • Mass production -- Catalog or simple configuration for product selection. Configuration not needed for product and manufacturing process.
  • Continuous improvement -- Configuration simple for selection, quote, and order. Configuration may or may not be needed for product and manufacturing process.
  • Mass customization -- Configuration for complex selection, quote, and order. Configuration for defining the product and process for manufacturing.