My Past, Present and Future Research



In manufacturing environments nowadays, developing product families has been recognized as a promising strategy to fulfill product variety at low costs. A successful product family development relies on the achievement of efficiency in both designing and producing product families. A literature review suggests that most of the existing research focuses on design and has delivered solutions to achieving efficiency; limited efforts, if any, have been made in product family production, more specifically planning production processes for product families. In response to the limitations of existing research, I proposed a concept of process platform-based production configuration to assist companies to achieve efficiency in producing product families by planning similar production processes for product families. A number of specific problems around this concept have been identified, including process platform formulation, process platform representation, process platform construction, configuration rule construction, production configuration formulation, production configuration modeling, configuration space modeling and configuration evaluation. In the presentation, the problems that I have solved along with the solutions that I have developed will be reported. As an extension of my past research, currently I am working on some problems in production configuration and integrated order fulfillment for product customization. An overview of these problems will be introduced. At the end of the presentation, both the short term plan and the long term plan of my future research will be presented. In the near future, I plan to complete some unsolved problems in production configuration, process family planning and integrated platform development, and in the long term, I will 1) enhance my research in process family planning and integrated product family development; and 2) extend my research to some topics in Operations Management. 
Contact information:
René de Koster