Toward a Multi-Agent Information Management Infrastructure for Product Family Planning and Mass Customisation


Development of complex new products requires numerous decisions by many individuals and groups, which are often geographically and temporally distributed. There is a need to share and coordinate distributed resources and synchronise decisions. Recent advances in information technology (IT) pose an untapped potential in assisting the capture, storage, retrieval, and facilitated use of product development information. by sharing assets such as components, processes, and knowledge across a family of products, companies can efficiently develop differentiated products and increase the flexibility and responsiveness of their product realisation process. This paper describes a recent effort in realising an information management infrastructure for product family planning and platform customisation. Particular focus is on current research thrusts: an evolutionary approach to product platforming; a bottom-up approach to product platforming; industry-based platform case studies; exploration of ontologies for representing product family information; filtering techniques to facilitate reuse of manufacturing information in product families.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

NPD; Agent-Based Systems; Distributed Resources; Information Management; Information Reuse; Information Sharing; Manufacturing Information; Mass Customisation; Multi-Agent Systems; New Product Development; Platform Customisation; Product Families; Product Family Planning; Product Information; Product Platforms; Software Agents; information technology

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2005 Inderscience Publishers, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2005