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Developing a decision-support framework to advise companies in the planning of product configurators that can let the end user engineer-to-order the final product

Saiz Montilla, Marcos (2021) Developing a decision-support framework to advise companies in the planning of product configurators that can let the end user engineer-to-order the final product.

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Embargo date:2 November 2025
Abstract:Within the general market trend focused on customized products based on the individual customer’s needs, the literature points at the will of obtaining product configurators with more engineer-to-order (ETO) possibilities to improve the customization level the customer can achieve with a configurator. The identified research gap is the lack of efficient guidelines for companies to understand to which extent customization can be accomplished in product configurators by integrating them with ETO processes. As a consequence, the objective of this research is to investigate, develop and evaluate a decision-support framework to advise companies in the planning of product configurators that can let the end user engineer-to-order the final product. This objective is visualized with the creation of a framework that underlays the relation among the four main pillars identified in the literature that play a role in this scheme: the customer's needs and knowledge, the product configurator itself, the degree of customization the product can deliver and the capability of the company to achieve that customization. The decision-support framework helps companies to balance these different variables to deliver further customization as pulled by the customer with a product configurator. The literature is reviewed to identify guidelines and best practices to fulfill the main objective. The framework includes different models and methods identified in the literature such as the Product Variant Master (PVM), activity diagrams, AS-IS and TO-BE process representations, use case diagrams and the Mamdani's fuzzy inferences method. There are four phases in the framework and by going through them the companies obtain guidelines to plan the aforementioned configurator when possible based on the capabilities of the four main pillars. The framework is then tested in the case of a real consumer good from the company Haverland. The findings from the literature and the case study are used to evaluate the framework with an application and a success evaluation. The application evaluation exhibits that the framework propitiously fulfills the research gap and can be considered beneficial for companies, but the main outcome from the success evaluation depicts that the achievable level of customization is still lower than the projected in ETO-only approaches. The results from this thesis serve as a basis for future research in order to further investigate which factors and elements are relevant, and how their balance can be improved, to obtain a higher level of customization through product configurators when used in relation to the engineer-to-order business model.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:50 technical science in general
Programme:Industrial Design Engineering MSc (66955)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/88944
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