An Online Learning Tool for Product Platform Planning


Product Platform Planning is an emerging philosophy that calls for the planned development and deployment of families of related products. It is markedly different from the traditional product development process, which focuses on optimized designs for individual products. This is a relatively new development in engineering design, which is not typically a part of an engineer's education. Furthermore, it is different from traditional engineering topics in that it requires an integration of principles from both management and engineering design. All this makes for a new and different topic for which educational material needs to be developed. This paper presents and describes an online learning tool that includes a tutorial, cases, and a glossary in a multimedia format hosted on the Internet. The tutorial presents the basic concepts as well as current research on planning and architecting families of products. The case study section has three cases based on a family of popular power tools. The cases, of increasing complexity, present information in the form of function diagrams, assembly diagrams, individual component pictures, usage information and market segmentation data. Links are provided to helpful sites, as well as to relevant sections in the tutorial. Learning and practice activities are also presented. This paper and associated web-based materials are intended for educators interested in incorporating Product Platform Planning in the design curriculum as well as practicing design engineers and product planners in industry interested in improving their knowledge and skills in this strategic approach to product development.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


National Science Foundation (U.S.)

Keywords and Phrases

Architecting Families; Product Development; Product Platform Planning; New products; Planning

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2005 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2005