Generic product model

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Generic Product Model: The Technological View

José Ángel Lakunza
Joseba Arana
Juan Carlos Astiazaran

IKERLAN Technological Research Centre
Mass Customisation Research Team / Design and Production Processes Business Unit.
Pº J.M. Arizmendiarrieta, 2,
20500 Arrasate-Mondragón. Gipuzkoa. Spain


One of the key aspects to implant Mass Customisation strategies in a company is the definition of a generic product model. Based on this generic model products variants can be generated by a product configurator.

From the scientist community different approaches have been developed for the definition of formalisms to represent a generic product model. One characteristic of theseapproaches is that are focused in the physical structure of the product.

In this paper a new formalism is going to be presented. This new approach has been developed from the point of view of the designer. This framework is defined by the set of problems that the designer must solve and the different solutions that the designer has to solve these problems.

The process to get this technological viewis based on a method that uses several information sources: the experience of the company and the knowledge available in the designers mind.

This approach has been checked and validated with designers in different industrial context. Currently this formalism is successfully being used in several industrial cases in which a product configurator system has been implanted in order to answerquickly and efficiency to the customisation needs demanded by the customers.


Product models, Product Configuration, Product Line Rationalisation


The design of new variants has become one of the company’s key activities in response to the advent of mass customisation as a means of offering customers a personalised service. In the process, we have generated productvariants that respond to their needs, with lead times and costs that mirror those offered by mass production.

This paper proposes a new approach in the formal representation of a product as a means of enabling the company to respond quickly and efficiently to its customers’ needs, generating a product variant that, based on the product manufactured by the company, provides a customised response tothe customer’s requirements.

First of all, we shall offer a summary of the features that have led us to adopt the approach in question. We shall then describe this approach and the relationships between this formal product representation and a representation based on the bill of materials.

We shall then go on to describe the method employed to obtain information on the product that will bestructured in line with this formal approach.

We shall then quote industrial cases in which both the formal representation and the method followed in obtaining said product model have been contrasted.

Finally, we shall state some of the conclusions obtained by contrasting the model proposed in the industrial cases specified.


In order to aid understanding of this article,definitions of two concepts that are used throughout the paper are provide below.

Generic product: When we talk of a generic product we are referring to a product representation that contains all the customisation options created by a company in order to adapt a product to a customer’s needs. This concept has certain similarities with others used in this domain such as product family, product range,parametric product, etc.

Product variant: Refers to each of the specific embodiments of a product, specified by the company for a certain customer within the framework of a generic product. This means that the product variants observe the criteria and restrictions set out in the definition of the generic product.


A number of different solutions have traditionally been...
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