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Title: An investigation of the mirroring of supply chain configuration modularity, and product modularity in contemporary supply chains
Author: Carr, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7968 8812
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2018
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The introduction of new to market products is a challenge, in high technology markets, where speed and product variation are key considerations. High technology companies require the ability to simultaneously combine operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership. A lack of coordination between new product development (NPD), product planning and supply chain configuration (SCC) is a recognised cause of many early-life product failures. This research has one objective: to increase our understanding of the role of modularity in linking SCC and NPD decisions. The research incorporates general systems theory (GST) and knowledge-based theory (KBT), in mirroring product modularity (PM) and SCC modularity (SCCM) within contemporary supply networks. A systematic literature review (SLR) advocates the use of modular design, in linking these concepts and boosting the rate of innovation. The literature indicates that product architecture (PA) and SCC tend to be mirrored in modularity levels, post product launch, and this mirroring is desirable. The literature identified a gap in how SCCM is conceptualised, and how this mirroring manifests itself. These gaps are addressed in the empirical research conducted in project two, where the SCCM construct was developed and used to assess the manifestation and benefits of PM and SCCM mirroring across ten products (UoA) in five case companies across four industry sectors. Mirroring is evident, in six of the UoA, the remaining four UoA exhibit a medium level of mirroring, post product launch. The contribution to theory is a conceptualisation of SCCM where supply chain tiering is a main indicator. Propensity for modules to decouple; early supplier involvement, and a mirrored product and SCC life cycle perspective are the three causal linkages which enable mirroring of PM and SCCM post product launch. The SLR identified the use of co-development (CD), feedback (FC) and feedforward anticipatory control (FAC) at concept design to increase the mirroring of PM and SCCM, post product launch. In project three hypotheses were tested which advocate the use of these mechanisms, and the associated underlying mechanisms were investigated. The findings indicate use of CD and FAC, but a lack of FC, and mirroring support for platform design. The contribution to practice is an intervention framework applied at the concept stage that improves the coordination between NPD, SCC and product planning for new to market products.
Supervisor: Skipworth, Heather Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Supply chain configuration ; new product development ; product planning