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RODRIGUES, Edilson Alves; CARNEVALLI, José Antonio  and  MIGUEL, Paulo Augusto Cauchick. An investigation of product design and production in an automotive assembler and engine suppliers that adopt modularity. Prod. [online]. 2012, vol.22, n.3, pp.337-379.  Epub May 08, 2012. ISSN 0103-6513.

Modularity can be understood as a set of concepts that leads to new product architecture and production organization. This enables the transference of value-added activities throughout the automotive supply chain. In this context, the aim of this paper is to investigate modularity adoption in product design and in production by considering a specific situation of the relationship between a commercial vehicle assembler and engine suppliers. In order to fulfil those objectives, a case-based research was employed as the methodological approach. The results presented some influences that occur between product design and production and vice-versa - part of them were expected. This reinforces the confirmatory nature of the empirical data. The modularity concept may be applied to a productive process not necessarily designed in modules, i.e. it is possible to assemble components as from an existing product, resulting in sub-sets in a modular logic. Data also confirmed that the product architecture of a commercial vehicle favours product division in modules. Moreover, the supply chain management is simplified compared to the traditional production system, as part of the responsibilities is transferred to the suppliers.

Keywords : Modularity; Automotive industry; Product design; Product development.

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