Strategic product design for multiple global markets

Three platforming strategies for global product design.

Designing products for multiple global user populations has been the focus of numerous studies. Based on an understanding of the current state of knowledge, this paper outlines three broad top-down design strategies to satisfy varying user, business, and regulatory requirements across target markets, and to do so in a resource-efficient manner. The first strategy results in a set of optimal, robust, or reconfigurable designs for the markets. The second strategy is the development of a static platform-based design, with variants of the product for the different target markets. In the third strategy, flexibility is embedded into a platform itself; the manufacturer can then release the product in a few target markets, and can leverage the platform at later stages when entering additional markets or adapting to changing requirements. The implementation of the proposed strategies is explored in the context of three different products: (1) the Adidas Jabulani soccer ball, (2) left- and right- hand drive vehicles, and (3) the Apple suite of mobile and tablet devices. The observations in these case studies highlight the importance of the three global product design strategies, and help define certain questions for future research.