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Why modularization?

Products are not complex, they are complicated. They seem complicated to us because we do not know or understand their internal relationships. Modularization is an adequate means of finding such a rule.

Posted on: 12/22/2019

Customer requirements are becoming more individualized and a global market is expecting ever shorter innovation cycles. All this poses a particular challenge to the development of complex products. It is often encountered by trying to reduce complexity, in the hope of being able to optimize a product. However, some facts are often overlooked.

  • Complexity cannot be reduced or controlled

  • The product and its manufacturing process are not complex, they are complicated

  • The process of product development is complex

Modularization is an adequate means of managing complexity, because it helps to clarify the structure and variance of the respective product and at the same time provides a set of "components" that are considerably easier to view and use. For this, the product is viewed and analyzed from two aspects.

  • Engineering view: The product is decomposed into its components, wherein a component is not to be understood in the sense of the mechanical construction, but as a functional component. This process essentially follows the building structure and leads to reusable, functional units that can be used in other products as well.

  • Customer view: The properties, capabilities and options of the product are classified from the customer's point of view. The classification leads to structured components with characteristics that enable the product to be configured.

The two aspects lead to different structures of the modules and often result in different characteristics (attributes) of the modules. The fine art of modularization is to bring the results of the two processes together into a single model.