Customer-specific starting solutions and product architecture adaptation in the B2B configuration process

Key Info

Basic Information

01.05.2018 to 01.04.2020
Organizational Unit:
Chair of Production Engineering, Innovation Management
German Research Foundation DFG

Research partner

  • Chair of Marketing (MAR) of RWTH Aachen University


The aim of the project is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the configuration process of B2B companies by defining Starting Solutions, taking into account customer preferences and internal complexity effects.

The starting point for the project are the Starting Solutions relevant for the configuration process from a marketing point of view, in order to simplify a large variety of variants for the configuration process according to requirements. Due to the significantly larger configuration space of companies in the project business, especially when implementing special solutions, the selected configuration can have a far-reaching influence on the design of the product. The framework conditions for the configuration of individual products are determined by the product architecture. However, the product architecture is often defined statically and is only suitable to a limited extent for subsequent adaptation of the flexibility of assemblies and components, which can, however, be advantageous over the life cycle of a product to take account of different customer groups. In particular, this possibility of product architecture adaptation could be used when defining Starting Solutions in order to achieve a higher level of agreement between the product and the customer preferences as early as possible in the configuration process while at the same time limiting internal effects.

This customer-specific adaptation of the product architecture must be evaluated on the basis of technical feasibility and, in particular, variant-related expenditure. In order to ensure long-term optimization, customer-specific findings are taken into account in the continuous further development of the product architecture. To this end, the principle of a product architecture must be extended with regard to greater customer-specific adaptability. This is where this project steps in.