THE CONCEPT OF MODULARIZATION AND THE DEFINITION OF A MODULE : An investigation and comparison of two successful companies within the automotive industry

University essay from KTH/Maskinkonstruktion (Inst.); KTH/Maskinkonstruktion (Inst.)

Author: Madeleine Björk; Emma Hällfors; [2015]

Keywords: ;

Abstract:

Modularization is an established concept for managing complexity and product variety, but there is no unambiguous and clear definition of the concept and of what constitutes a module in previous literature. This question was a starting point for the master thesis documented in this report, carried out at Scania CV AB. The purpose of the thesis is an investigation of the present situation regarding modularization at Scania, where focus is on how modularization and the term module are perceived by different functions within the Scania organization. Also, Scania is since May 2014 a part of the Volkswagen Group, which extended the thesis to compare Scania and Volkswagen regarding modularization.Analysis and result is based on interviews and a survey performed within different functions at Scania. The same procedure was performed at Volkswagen, where the interviews were replaced with meetings with employees.The result when analysing Scania internally is that the concept of modularization is indeed ambiguous and very hard to express in words. What could be identified as a common view on modularization is that it is about combining a fixed amount of parts to create variety and a customized vehicle. A great focus is on keeping the number of articles low and to reuse in as large extent as possible. Apart from the common view there are many diverse definitions of the concept and when it comes to methods linked to modularization the opinions differ the most.Regarding modules, there is no uniformity in the opinion of whether Scania has modules or not, although the majority agrees that Scania has. Regardless of opinion, it is also difficult for the participants to express their definition of a module.When comparing Scania to Volkswagen, the general perception of modularization and a module was similar. However, some differences were found regarding for example the description of the product, how to increase margins and the view on variety.

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