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Platforming: Dream or Achievable Reality?

By Francis Jan, Partner Strategy, Operations & Development

 

Beyond well identified methods in software and automotive industries, the concept of platforming often evokes a mix of curiosity and uncertainty. Is it merely a buzzword or a tangible strategy? This article seeks to unravel the complexities surrounding platforming, shedding light on its transformative potential.

Understanding Platforming relevance

In markets defined by rapid innovation and diverse and evolving customer demands, the need for customized products delivered at competitive prices and absolute performance is paramount. 

Industrial companies face the multidimensional challenge of optimizing costs, maximizing assets utilization, speed of innovation, reliability and predictability. 

Platforming emerges as the nexus between meeting customer expectations and fulfilling manufacturer requirements.

Differentiating Platforming, Modularization and Standardization

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Platforming: a shared set of design, engineering, manufacturing processes and components, (basic definition) …ensuring seamless integration and interchangeability of functional modules. It serves as a standardized process, maximizing performance, project predictability, and ecosystem engagement while facilitating smart automation and Industry 4.0 integration.

Modularization: creation of reusable functional modules across product lines, reducing development time and costs while ensuring performance and reliability through rigorous validation. Modularization applies to products, functions, designs, processes… and opens the door to automation by creating critical mass.

Standardization: primarily applicable to components, simplifies processes, reduces costs, and enhances bargaining power through SKU reduction, aiming at mass production efficiency.

Embarking on Platforming journey

The journey to platforming begins with strategic patience, emphasizing the importance of not immediately diving into product design. This transformative journey requires a concerted effort lasting between 12 to 24 months initially, followed by a continuous improvement effort. 

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Success in platforming hinges on steadfast perseverance and consistency, supported by two critical pillars: long-term vision and commitment from leadership, and a workplace culture adaptable to change.

Delivering Performance through Platforming

Platforming drastically supports 2 of the 4 most frequent growth strategies:

  • Market Penetration (same product / same customer network)
  • Market Development (same product / different customers)
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Evaluating your Readiness

Achieving platforming success hinges on team readiness, necessitating careful evaluation of roles, competencies, and process adaptability.

  • Roles and competencies (both hard and soft skills). The articulation between Design engineering and Systems engineering needs specific attention.
  • Willingness to change your processes.
  • Appointment and training of the right leaders.
  • Identification of new set of talents (value management, subject matter experts…) as the role of design engineers will change.
  • PLM software as a structuring supporting tool.

Experience in high product turnaround in a mass customization environment and familiarity with significant transformation projects further enhances Platforming success potential.

The Future with Platforming

Platforming has the power to redefine industry winners by fostering ecosystems within companies and across partners, facilitating information sharing, material, and equipment, thus enhancing connectivity and accelerating Industry 4.0 adoption.

ABOUT FRANCIS JAN

With a 40+ year career spanning a multitude of industrial sectors across three continents and companies varying in size from family-owned to publicly traded industrial giants, Francis is an accomplished global executive, recognized for achieving double-digit growth in revenue and margins, along with a consistent 30% cost reduction. Renowned for successful transformations in diverse industries, his entrepreneurial approach prioritizes bottom-line performance, optimizing manufacturing and supply chain processes. 

A proven team builder, Francis fosters multicultural teams, delivering outstanding goals on time with passion and resilience.  Francis’ expertise in technology and in orchestrating successful transformations is underscored by 11 process patents and 4 product patents attributed to him. 

ABOUT ALTIX:  

Altix is the middle-market international industrial champions’ management consulting partner, providing business strategy, technology and innovation, and operational excellence support, in the world of advanced manufacturing and international supply chain. 

With decades of experience, our team of experts has created a tried and proven methodology that leads to measurable successes. Leveraging the insights and guidance of Altix Consulting’s seasoned experts who have consistently delivered successful outcomes not only mitigates risk, but it also offers the strategic advantage of assembling a proficient team that will prime your company for long-term success and help build a foundation that ensures sustained excellence.   

www.altixconsulting.com