Inderscience Publishers

Product platform life cycles: a multiple case study

Product platforms are used to specify a (virtual) company's offering to the market in terms of functionality and performance. The specification covers a range of actual products and services and the platform includes choice features, options and external interfaces. Usually, the platform also specifies a number of internal interfaces, in such a way that the common architecture of the products is specified by the platform. The components of a product platform can by itself act as a recursively-defined smaller platform. Like many other artefacts, platforms have a life cycle. In this paper, we discuss the life cycle of the platform in various industries, such as industrial machinery, aerospace, automotive and product software. This paper describes requirements for platform life cycle management and concludes that there are strong arguments to distinguish platform life cycle management from the more common Product Life Cycle (PLC) management, and that best practices in various industries deserve to be generalised.

Keywords: PLC, product life cycle, PDLC, product design life cycle, PPLC, product platform life cycle, product platforms, machinery industry, aerospace industry, automobile industry, software industry, product software, automotive products, life cycle management

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