Product configuration in projecting company: the meeting of configurable product families and sales-delivery process

Research output: ThesisDissertationMonograph


The work presented in this dissertation is a qualitative research in the field of engineering design. The applied research method involves case studies and interviews in the industry. The data collection methods are briefly explained. A literature review is presented for the purpose of crafting the method of analysis for the collected data. The context of the research is a projecting company which carries out sales-delivery processes with a project-based business paradigm. The concept of projecting is defined along with the engineering design and product development literature. The emphasis is on the project management situations as well as on the propagation of the engineering change. It is argued that the propagation of changes causes the project management situation to evolve from one stage to another. Moreover, with product configuration the evolution of management situation can be controlled. An engineering design process is reviewed from the viewpoint of product structuring. The problems related to the development of standard, fixed products are reviewed and related to projecting. It is argued that the standardization of product structures and architectures as a configurable product family can alleviate the problems related to the evolution of project management situation. The different stages of product development are reviewed. Product configuration is defined and examined from both the design knowledge and the reuse point of view. Product configuration is presented as an option for product design in projecting. The sales-delivery processes are studied from the viewpoint of customization in process, product standardization, as well as production. It is argued that the customization as well as standardization of product design affects the sales delivery processes which constitute the state of a sales-delivery process. It is argued that the development of configurable product families is a means of transforming the state of the sales-delivery processes. Moreover, the scope of transformation, the functions and the organizations of sales-delivery project, are related to the means of transformation, the configurable product family. Applying the model of integrated product development is suggested. The direct results of the interviews and the case studies are presented. In addition, an analysis of the collected material is presented. The analysis is conducted according to the synthesis of the literature review. It is pointed out that the changes of product design often have pervasive dispositional effects on the project activities. Thus, there is reason to believe that the first argument is valid. The application of configurable product families has had positive effects in the sales-delivery processes of projecting companies, such as sufficient engineering resources and shortened lead times. These are implications of the second argument, which can be regarded as valid. Both the interviews and the cases are related to the scope, means, and objectives of the development projects. The relations between the scope of the development project and its objectives are acknowledged. Also relations between the scope and the characteristics of the development project are examined. The cases and the interviews as a whole imply that the application of configurable product families in a projecting company is a means of transforming the focus from sales-delivery projects to systemic customization. This, however, requires the alignment of the means with the scope.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor Degree
Awarding Institution
  • Tampere University of Technology (TUT)
Award date11 Dec 2007
Print ISBNs978-952-15-1897-3
Electronic ISBNs978-91-633-7064-9
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2007
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


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