Product variety can be provided more efficiently and effectively by creating families of products based on product platforms. One of the major advantages of the development of product platforms is the facilitation of an overall product development strategy, and an important factor in product development is the evolution of a family of products, including addition and retirement of products as well as changing demand and associated production quantities. In this paper, we present a quantitative approach for designing multiple product platforms for an evolving family of products. The approach is based on the utility-based compromise Decision Support Problem—a multi-objective decision support model with an objective function derived from utility theory. With this approach, a designer can model and consider multiple factors that influence the embodiment of product platforms as well as non-deterministic evolution of a portfolio of products serviced by the product platforms. We apply this approach to an example study of a family of absorption chillers, designed for a variable marketplace. Our emphasis is on the approach rather than the results, per se.

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