Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

7.8.3 Exercise: Generative Techniques — Setting the Parameters of a Product Family

Intended learning outcomes: Explain how to determine possible parameters of a product family by examining five product variants of this family.

Figure shows a product family (umbrellas) with some of the possible individual products.

Fig.        A product family and five product variants of this family.

What are the parameters that generate the product family, if they should generate the five variants at the least?

Answer: There are at least 6 parameters. The diameter of the umbrella is one parameter, for example.

What are possible ranges of values for these parameters?

Answer: For “continuous” parameters (e.g., diameter), assume reasonable incre­ments (e.g., 10 cm), as well as a reasonable minimum (e.g., 60 cm) and maximum (e.g., 150 cm). For parameters representing a set of discrete values (e.g., pattern), assume a reasonable number of different values (e.g., 30).

How many physically different umbrellas can be generated within that product family?

Answer: Combine each value of a parameter with each value of another parameter (compare Figure Your result depends on the number of parameters you detected in question a., as well as the ranges of values you determined in question b. Thus, your answer will be different from your colleagues’ results.

Are there incompatibilities, that is, ranges of values that a parameter can assume, that are partly dependent on other parameters?

Answer: For example, if the diameter of the umbrella is greater than 120 cm, then the handle of the umbrella must be longer than 100 cm.

Course section 7.8: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes