Product variety is necessary to satisfy the market. The change from a vendor market to a customer market has led to increased competition among manufacturers, benefiting the customer. Accordingly, less busy market niches are sought and more specific customer wishes are fulfilled. Rapid improvements or design of new products generate new incentives to buy. This market trend increases the variety of product variants while simultaneously leading to smaller number and lot size per variant. An increase in the number of variants and a decrease in the lot size tend to lead to longer throughput and delivery times and problems of quality assurance, and to higher direct and indirect costs per variant. The paper discusses this problem and provides a set of recommendations for controlling the multiplicity of variants within an enterprise.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.