Commonality In Complex Product Families: Implications Of Divergence And Lifecycle Offsets

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Executive Summary

Commonality, or the sharing of components, processes, technologies, interfaces and/or infrastructure across a product family, represents one of many potential tools for increasing corporate profitability. Industrial interest in commonality is strong, but results appear to be mixed. A rich stream of academic research has examined commonality (typically under terms such as "Product platforms" and "Platform-based development") but has not emphasized the benefits and penalties of commonality, a topic that is critical to effective product family planning and lifecycle management, and ultimately, to improving corporate profitability.

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