Product and Portfolio Architecture
Good Morning, welcome back to the course on functional conceptual design. So, in the
last class we briefly introduced Product Architecture. From the functional design we
move to the design of the product in terms of its architecture, where we tried to map the
product functions into product form. So that is what the architecture is.
And we found that the creation of architecture has a lot of influence in the design of the
product. There are 2 types of architectures we normally encounter, the first one is known
as the Portfolio Architecture and then the second one is the Product Architecture itself.
Portfolio Architecture talks about the family of products; how many products should be
there in the product family and Product Architecture talks about how to architect an
individual product. So that actually depends on the number of products in the family so
these two are interconnected.
You need to design the architecture of the product based around the number of products
in the family and how do you want these products to share the components. So we look
into these two aspects of product development which is Portfolio Architecture and
And yesterday I briefly showed these kinds of products where you can see each product
is independent of the other one. There is nothing common to these products; the handle is
different, the tool tip is different, and each one is an independent product. But in the case
of this kind of product, you can see this is a toaster where you have a toaster with a 2
slice of 2 breads can be toasted or here we can have 4.
So they are two independent products so customers can decide to go for a 2 slice or a 4
slice toaster. However, when designing the product you need to see how best he can
utilize the resources in order to get these products.
For example, if you have to make both the products completely different, then the cost of
production, cost of design, cost of manufacturing everything will go up. But you can
actually have many things common to both the products and therefore, by properly
designing the architecture of these two products you will be able to make the products
very cost effective and at the same time you can have you can have variety in the product
And here you can see the kind of film rolls where you can have the number of films
available. Each roll can be different, and there can be many things common outer cover
can be constant, the same center portion can be the same but still you can have a variety
in the market. So, this is the way how any manufacturer will provide variety in the
market. But how many products to be offered and how we decide the individual
specification of each product or within the family matter a lot when it comes to the
market and then satisfying the customer requirement.
That is why architecture becomes very important. So whether to have many products in
the family or can have only just one product and then how these products need to be
architecture matters a lot. That is why we have these two architectures, Portfolio
Architecture and Product Architecture need to be understood.
Portfolio means a set of different products that a company provides, and architecture is
the layout of the components. So how you lay out the components within the product is
basically the architecture and the set of different products that a company provides is the
Portfolio. Now, what actually decides this Portfolio Architecture is the cost and revenue.
How much will be the revenue that you can generate, how much the product is, that
actually decides how many products could be offered in the market. Because if the
requirement is very small there is only a very small number of customers for a particular
variety of product then there is no point in developing a product for the customer segment
because the cost and revenue wont workout well.
This needs to be understood before we decide how many products to be there in the
family. And the Product Portfolio Architecture is the system design strategy for laying
out components and systems on multiple products to best satisfy current and future needs.
So, we have multiple products in the Portfolio Architecture so in this multiple products
how best we can arrange the components keeping in mind the current requirements of the
customer guess currently there will be some requirements for the customer but after 1
year customer requirement may change so we need to keep this also in mind when you do
for the portfolio architecture so that after 2 years you should will be able to easily modify
the product to made the customer requirements.
So the current requirements as well as the future requirements need to be taken into
account when we decide the number of products in the family and the architecture of the
product. So, the design task here is to determine whether one might develop subsystems
within the product that can be reused across different products.
The question is can we have some kind of subsystems in a product so that this subsystem
can be used in a multiple product that you do not need to separately develop for each
product within the family. So, we can have some kind of subsystem which or some
subsystem can be made common to all those members in the family so that you can easily
make the product and sell in the market.
Few things will change but many things can be the same for all the products and therefore
you will be able to offer variety without much difficulty. So these are the things to be
understood when we look for the Portfolio Architecture. First we will look at the type of
architecture existing in the portfolio or what are the ways in which Portfolio Architecture
is classified and how one can decide what kind of an architecture to be used for the
Portfolio or the family of products that is what we are going to see.
If you look at the portfolio Architecture as a whole, you can actually classify them into 3
major categories that is the first one is known as a Fixed Unshared Architecture the
second one is Modular Platform and the third one is known as Massively Customizable.
These are the 3 major categories of a Portfolio Architecture existing in the current
And many times this will be used but some of them will be preferred over the other
considering the particular product and its specific characteristics, but most of them will
be always following a particular architecture called Modular Platform.
But let us just look at the first category which is the Fixed Unshared Architecture. If a
company decides to make 5 products to bring to the market and if they decide if they feel
that I can be offered in the market and there is need not be anything sharing in these 5
products. And that kind of architecture is known as Fixed Unshared Architecture.
The family will be having many products but these products will not be having anything
in common. Each one will be independent and it will be having its own components
which are not shared with any other products within the family. That kind of an
architecture is known as Fixed Unshared Architecture.
Typical example is this screwdriver set. You can see these screwdriver has got its own
handle and the tool tip also and here also it has got its own handle and which is different
from this one and this tool also different similarly this is different from this, this one is
different from this, this one is different this one so each one is completely independent
that is nothing sharing between these products and that kind of an architecture is known
as Fixed Unshared Architecture.
That means you have products in the family but the products do not share anything
between themselves is known as the fixed unshared architecture. One of the typical
examples is this one and like that you can see many products in the like hammer sets or
spanner sets will be seen in the market so there will be many such products which
actually go for Fixed Unshared Architecture.
A company can go for this kind of architecture only if there is a large demand for the
product because if this product has to be made if they can make it in thousands they do
not mind going for a design for this one special design for this and special design for this
because the can make large numbers and cost of manufacture per unit will be less.
If there the requirement is only 10 or 15 or each one of these then making each one
separate will be very costly that therefore, a Fixed Unshared architecture is opted only if
there is a large demand for these products. So, that is the Fixed Unshared Architecture.
So, whenever there is a large demand for this product will go for the Fixed Unshared
In the Fixed Unshared unit itself you can actually have two categories known as Single
Offer and Robust Offer. So, basically it says that in Fixed Unshared it is a Single offer;
only one type of products in the market there is no variation to that all over the world it
will be the same so there is no variation in that but Robust offer still which is in a Fixed
In the Robust Offer, it may provide you some kind of flexibility in the market to meet
some specific requirements. For example, if you have a power supply unit where you
want to connect to the wall socket you need to have some variations within the countries.
So, if you use something in India you will be having these 3 pin configurations. But if
you use it in some other countries it may be 2 pins or the pin will be different in other
countries. Even if it is just 3 pins geometry will be different.
To that extent there will be variation and that kind of offers are known as Robust Offer.
So, these are the two variations that can be there in the Fixed Unshared Architecture. So,
there is no common module and its high volume for Fixed Unshared and the
Screwdrivers, Magnetic cassettes are examples for this and the Fixed Unshared Single
offer does not take into account market variation.
So, if it is a Single offer one, it would not really take care of the market variation and
they assume that every market can actually take this and sell it. Sell it as a product. But
the Robust Offer will take some examples that take into account some market variation
specially the power sockets and other things in the electric sockets, power supply etc in
the product that is the example for Robust offer.
So, this is not a very commonly used Architecture the Fixed Unshared is very rarely used
specially when there is a High Volume requirement for a product, then the can go for a
Fixed Unshared Architecture that is cost effective the cost and revenue matches in this
case or you can still make good profit but when that is not when the volume is very small
or not worth going for a Fixed Unshared Architecture, then we need to go for the
Modular Architecture. So, that is the second Architecture which is the Modular Platform.
So, let us see this one, the different products do not share any components in the Fixed
Unshared architecture and these are the examples for the Fixed Unshared Architecture.
Screwdrivers and Spanner sets etc., you can see as an example for Fixed Unshared
Architecture. Modular, the name itself says that it can be made of modules. So a product
will have multiple modules and then these modules can be shared within the Family and
that kind of an Architecture is known as Modular Architecture.
If there are 5 products in the family and the company decides to have 5 variants of a car
in the market, for example, if Hyundai or Honda city wants to have 5 types of city models
in the market. So, they cannot have each car as completely independent because that is
not cost effective because each model is the number of units they can sell will be very
So, what they do is they make the modules within each one will be having multiple
modules, each product will be having multiple modules and many of these modules will
be shared among the models. And only a few things will change in between the models.
Actually you can have different models in the market but there will be many common
things in these products.
So, that kind of an Architecture is known as Modular Architecture. This is the most
commonly used Architecture in Portfolio Development. It will check what modules can
be developed separately and then can be shared among the family members. This has
different variants too. As I mentioned the product should look at the current requirements
of the customer.
Guess currently customers will be having some cost requirement, some performance
requirement, some safety requirements etc., but after 2 years their preferences will
change. Now after 2 years if they meet the customer requirement they cannot go again for
designing a completely new product. So, they have to build up on the existing product
and then make it suitable for the customer after 2 years. So they have keep that in mind
what are the things going to change in the future so that also need to be taken into
account when they design the module within the product so that is the another one
Similarly, there will be a product which may require something which will be consumed
very often so then you have to make that same model so that only can be changed or that
consumable can actually be made different for different products so this way you will be
getting different architecture for the product.
So, the Modular Architecture can be divided further into categories like a Modular
Family, a Modular Generation, Modular Consumable, Modular Standard and Modular
Parametric. So, these are the different categories within the Modular family that you can
see. We will see each one what is the significance of each of these architectures.
So, the Modular Family is a series of products that share some modules. That is the
simple explanation for a Modular family. In most of these there will be a basic platform
and on the basic platform we will add many modules; for example, the car will be having
a chassis and you will be having modules for the transmission, a module for the engine, a
module for the air conditioning and module for the steering system and a module for the
dashboard and things like that.
So, each one can actually have a module. As such we will be having many modules in the
product and this module will be shared amongst the models within the family. So, if you
buy a Ciaz high end car or a low end car, there will be many things common in both these
cars and very few things will be different.
This way if they can actually share the modules, software and hardware, then we called
this as the Modular Family of products. This is known as the Modular Family where the
modules are shared amongst the family members; that kind of an architecture is known as
For example, you take this Coffee Maker, so this Krups company is actually offering two
products in the market. Somebody who is interested in going for a very high end and very
nice product with lots of electronic controls and all, they actually opt for this one and
somebody who is looking for a low end product they just want the function to be there
coffee to be made they don't really care for the appearance and other things then there is a
product for them.
So, this product can cost cheaper and this can be a costly one. Now, if the company has to
offer these two products and if they make it completely independent, then there will be a
lot of cost involved in the production. So they will make many things common, probably
inside the heating element or the container and the way the containers are assembled.
Those things may be the same but the control and the display the control knobs display.
These things can actually be made different so you will be getting a different product. So
many things will be shared within the product, within these products but still the product
will be different for the customer so that kind of an architecture is the Modular Family
And you will see large number of products in the market is actually belong into this
Modular Family where it is your Washing machine, Mobile phone, Television sets any
product you take you will see that there are many product variants available in the market
and most of these variants will be having many things common within the product
architecture. So, that kind of an architecture is known as the Modular Family
Now, these are examples for the modular architectures as you can see all these products
will have a lot of things shared amongst themselves. So, this toaster if you look at this
toasting an element or the heating element will be common for this except that they are
actually combined them and made it in separate one and the little bit of change in the
control and other things will give you a different product with the 4 slice capacity and
this will be a 2 slice capacity
So, a customer who is looking for a 2 slice he can actually buy low-cost and the
somebody wants a 4 slice one they can actually get it by paying an extra some extra but
the manufacturer need not make everything completely separate there will be sharing
many of these things between these two products. That is the case with most of these
products when your camera mobile phone iPad and printers so all those things will be
able to see these kinds of sharing of modules. So, that is the modular family architecture.
The set of products that are supported any one of the time by a platform. Always, all
these products will be having a common platform supported by a common platform and
they will add the modules. So, by changing some modules will get a new product but the
basic platform will be almost the same.
That is how most of the company manufacturers are able to bring multiple products in the
market because they have a common platform to which they will keep adding modules
and some modules will be different compared to the other; so that you will get a variation
in the product variety.
Here we can actually have different derivatives for the product by using a Modular
Family Architecture you will be able to create the variance of the product you can
actually have a cost variant that if you want to have a low cost and high cost product, so
the low cost you can actually have some kind of some modules can actually be changed
so that the cost will come down and if you are looking for high cost money you can
actually change the module with the high cost element or high quality elements can be
used to get a costly, costly products
This is possible because these are all modules can be changed by without changing the
whole product; some critical modules can be changed to make it a better product and the
cost variant and you can have product line extensions if you want to have like you know
2 slice, 4 slice or by bigger size. Like washing machines you can have different capacity
washing machines. Many things can be common but only the motor and the drum size
and things can be changed to get various capabilities or capacity. That is the product line
It is basically to meet the customer needs because there will be customers who ask for
various requirements and by providing this kind of variance you will be able to satisfy
those customers. And additional features to address more difficult customers. Some
customers may require very specific needs so we can actually add those needs or those
modules into the product and then make it a much enhanced product or a high end
product for the customers.
These are the ways in which actually you can provide multiple products in the market
without changing the basic platform and without having it as a completely new product
you can change the modules and then modify the product to get a different variant of this
product and that is how the manufacturers are able to offer multiple products in the
family. So, this is one of the most commonly used architecture modular families.
The next one is basically known as the Modular Generations. It is also a kind of modular
product only so in this case you are not looking at the products currently to be offered in
the market. The model family looks at how many products I need to offer currently in the
market. So, if a company is trying to introduce a new washing machine to the market they
need to see what kind of variants that we can offer in the market.
So, that a large customer segment will be happy in terms of cost in terms of capacities is
in terms of water consumption or whatever it is. They can actually offer different variants
of the product using the modular family. But the modular generation is looking at it in a
different way, they are looking, now I can offer five products in the market but then after
2 years if I have to offer the product, can I offer the same product or you need to change
it completely? What will be the changes in the customer preferences over the period of
maybe 2 years or 3 years depending on the product?
Now, if the company can offer a new product in the market to meet the customer
requirement at that point of time after 2 years can we use the same platform and the same
product change a module in order to meet the customer requirement? So, by looking at
what is going to change in the future you make that as a module and then make sure that
if you want to offer a new product in the market, you can actually change this module and
insert a new module and then bring it as a product so that customers in will be happy at
that point of time.
That is what actually happens in most of the electronic products. Guess if they offer a
product today in the market after 1 year people will be looking for better features in the
product. So, you can see each subsequent model and hence only some subset of the
modules of the previous generation. So, some modules in the previous generation will be
modified to meet the customer requirements of the current generation that is known as the
Modular Generation Architecture.
So, typical examples are the cameras and other electronic products because today there
will be LCD displays and after 2 years the display may be changed into something else
and then people will be looking for that kind of a display in the product. So, the company
cannot scrape the whole product and then make a new product, so they can actually have
the only display module that can be changed to a new technology so that they will be able
to offer something which actually meets the requirements of that generation.
That is the processor capacities, the RAM capacities etc., are actually added to the system
so that, that system will meet the requirement of that particular generation this is known
as the Modular Generation Architecture. So if there is going to be some change in the
future then we need to think of a Modular Generation Architecture.
If there are not many changes expected, then we go for a Modular Family Architecture.
So, this Module Family is normally employed in automobiles and products where
actually the changes are not so drastic every year; there will not be too much of changes
in the technology or the expectations of the customer.
They can actually go for Modular Family but in the case of electronic products most of
the time they need to keep this in mind and then go for Modular Generation Architectures
so that they can meet the expectations of the next generation or after 2 or 3 years. So, that
is the Modular Generation Architecture.
And the third one is known as the Modular Consumable Architecture Here, the
architecture differentiates modules based on whether it is consumable or not. So, it is a
very small number of products to actually fall into this category. Suppose there is a
product and there are some consumables coming in the product and these consumables
may change depending on the region or depending on the situation then we can actually
make that as a module and then offer the product with this consumable as a separate
module. This is known as Consumable Module.
For example, in the printer the toner is consumable; in this case they should make this as
a module so that you can actually attach any kind of compatible consumables to this
product and even if there is a change in the consumables use, you can still offer this
product by changing the consumable and making sure that the consumable can actually
go into the product. This is known as the Modular Consumable Architecture. This ink
cartridges for Inkjet printers, Film for Film Cameras etc., are the Consumables
Architectures. And the next one is Standard Architecture.
So, Standard Architecture is basically to look at the current standards of manufacturing
and design so that there will be a lot of standards followed by industry in making
products. That is a communication standard, interface standard and standards for
connecting hardware to software and things like that, so we need to follow these
architectures in the product.
Whenever there is a standard available for a particular product or a particular component
we will try to ensure that this product meets that standard and then we will make part as a
module so that whenever there is a change in standard or there is a need to change this
component with the different component which actually the same standard, we should be
able to modify the product as per the requirement standard and that is known as the
Modular Standard Architecture.
We follow the published standard in mechanical, electrical and software interfaces and
then make sure that this product meets the industry standards; so that any product or any
component which meets the standard can actually be interfaced. For example, the lens
mount system in the cameras so you can actually see the camera structure will be there
and you can actually mount the lenses so these are actually having a lot of standards in
this design of such lengths and bounds.
Whenever there is a compatible stand compound which actually meets the same standard
we can easily attach to this product and then can be used as a it… it can be used to meet
the requirement of the customers so that is the Modular Standard Architecture. So, this is
also not I mean that most of the companies need to follow this, but that will be coming
from the existing standards so more than the customer's requirement this is coming from
the industry standards. And the last one in this one is known as the Parametric, Modular
Modular Parametric is exhibited by changing the motives parametrically and fitting into
the product at the time they are ordered. So, this is basically like if a customer requires a
particular size or shape of a component or a product, you can modify the existing
modules to meet that particular parametric limitations and then fit into the product that is
known as the Modular Parametric.
In the case of a computer customer will say, I need to have a particular size of the
product. Overall product I want this much only and I want to have a particular hard disk
hard disk capacity, a particular RAM capacity etc. Depending on those parametric
requirements you can actually fit those modules into the main platform and then generate
the product that is the Modular Parametric Design
These are the 5 categories of modular family architecture which is basically used for the
Portfolio Design and this you so this actually is Modular Family is the most commonly
used one and modular generation is considered whenever there is an expected change in
some of the requirements of the customer over a period of time.
Others are depending on the product's architecture rather than the customer’s
requirement. Of course customer requirements also play a role but it is more from the
designers point of view to offer this kind of architecture. So, that is the Modular
Architecture for Portfolio Design. I hope you are able to follow in case you have any
questions please feel free to email me or ask me whenever we get an opportunity.
The last category is the customized one. So, customizing a product is actually modifying
the product according to the requirement of a customer. That is basically the Customized
Architecture. You are not going to offer too many products in the family as directly to the
market; but look at the customer and if a customer is asking for a particular kind of
architecture or particular product with some particular features, then you try to offer that
as a product, one time offer of a product and that kind of architecture is known as
Only very few products offer this kind of architecture especially when there are very high
end products like that you would not have a high end car and especially companies like
BMW and all they offer customized cars. You can actually tell what you are expecting
from your car; you can tell the color you can tell the engine capacity, the speed
And based on all these requirements they will actually create the product and give it to
you. So, they will be having a basic platform and they will be having different modules to
attach then depending on the customer's requirement they will add these modules to your
products. So, that is basically a Customized Architecture.
Here there are 2 types. One is known as the Bespoke and the other one is the Parametric.
So, in Bespoke the product is designed and made based on the customers’ engineering
specification. So, the engineering specifications are given by the customer then you
design the product accordingly and give. That is known as the Bespoke product.
This kind of thing normally happens in very high end products or something like fighter
aircraft. If a country wants a fighter aircraft with specific requirements and they will give
all those engineering specifications and then give this to the company and tell that now
with these are the specifications we are looking for make one and give it to us. So, that is
the customized design for the product and that is known as Bespoke D