Procedural model to ensure consistency and validity of complex, variant-oriented product portfolios
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Braun, Felix; Kreimeyer, Matthias; Paetzold, Kristin
Institution: Universitat der Bundeswehr Munchen
Product portfolios with a large variance can be found –amongst others –in the commercial vehicle industry. The variance in the portfolio is characterized through various combinations of portfolio items, for example technical components or customer-oriented properties, documented in different product structures. To represent any constraints or prohibitions in the combination of portfolio items, e.g. technical constraints regarding the combinability of engines and gear boxes, sales and pricing constraints, weight or legal restrictions, large quantities of Boolean rules are used. These different sets of rules are defined manually by various employees and departments of an organisation. Therefore, the key challenge is to ensure a consistent and valid portfolio definition throughout all product structures and across all divisions working on the portfolio and its rules. These types of complex, variant-oriented product portfolios consist of thousands of elements which can be combined in uncountable ways (~10#$$combinations in this industrial example).So, automated algorithmic tools have been developed to help detecting inconsistencies. This research is based on a literature study on the validity of data sets and empirical experiences from the industrial application supported by a case study with a global truck manufacturer. As only isolated approaches to solve certain aspects of portfolio validation have been described yet, this research proposes a procedural model to help establish and maintain a valid product portfolio definition. The procedural model describes a set of validation tasks and related algorithmic validation services to automatically detect errors and inconsistencies. By executing this procedural model, it is ensured that the entire portfolio definition, including all rules across different structures, is valid and consistent. This approach has already been largely implemented with the project partner, a global truck manufacturer. In consequence, it has become an essential process step to discover any errors or inconsistencies and to build and maintain a valid and consistent product portfolio across the entire organisation.