A Customer Needs Motivated Conceptual Design Methodology for Product Portfolios


Platform design strategy is currently a very important topic in modern product development; however, current methods do not fully address platform definition with respect to customer needs. Customer satisfaction is the key for survival and it is crucial that the customer be used to differentiate between different variants of a product, also known as a company's product portfolio. This research explores the utility of high-level customer needs as a direct means to define the product's base platform and differentiating modules. Our approach is to outline platform and differentiating modules during the conceptual design stage of product development and plan a product portfolio before any embodiment design occurs. Modern design tools such as the Functional Basis, functional modeling and modular heuristics are used in this approach. Based on a case study, a function based and customer need motivated design method for conceptual design of product portfolios is proposed. The developed method is validated by applying the technique to existing products and by comparing the results against known product platforms. Finally, the method is applied to a new product to generate conceptual design of product variants.

Meeting Name

ASME 2004 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE2004 (2004: Sep. 28-Oct. 2, Salt Lake City, UT)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Product Development; New products

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2004 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

02 Oct 2004

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