Review of Business and Economic Literature vol:58 issue:3 pages:186-210
Product platforms, as a base from which products can be derived, are believed to allow companies to offer their customers large product variety in a cost and time efficient way. However, the overall impact of product platforms on different (supply chain) activities is not
always clear. In this paper we review literature to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of platforms. Based on literature, we first develop a new end-to-end supply chain framework that defines platforms from a cross-supply chain, cross-disciplinary and cross-departmental
perspective. The building blocks of the platform framework acknowledge that platforms are a combination of product assets and processes, internal and external partners, and up- and downstream supply chain activities. We also assess which supply chain practices, such as commonality, postponement and the House of Quality, facilitate the objective of platforms to reduce upstream variety while at the same time allowing for downstream variety. To evaluate
the advantages and disadvantages of platforms, we rely on our new end-to-end supply chain framework and definition. The framework supports the discussion about the impact of
platforms on different supply chain activities; these activities include product development, ordering, purchasing, operations, inventory management, customisation, reverse supply chain and after-sales activities, as well as marketing and sales.