El-said, Ahmed Tarek (2018) THE EFFECT OF PRODUCT DESIGN MODULARITY ON SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis integrates between three major fields of study: product design, supply chain management and sustainability. This thesis introduces product design modularity (PDM) as a product design methodology and evaluates its influence on supply chain operations. This is done with a view to assess whether adopting modularity in design enhances a supply chain’s economic, environmental and social performance.

The research conducted within this thesis follows a pragmatic philosophy with the focus being on the research questions instead of on the type of data available. Abductive reasoning is used to collect and present quantitative and qualitative data to answer whether modularity in design leads to more sustainable supply chain operations.

A conceptual framework integrating PDM and sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) is developed within the thesis. The conceptual framework presents all supply chain processes affected by product design.The framework further differentiates these effects into economic, environmental, or social categories depending on which aspect of sustainability is impacted by PDM.

The research implements a case study strategy. The case study focuses on a washing machines product family for a well-known white goods electronics manufacturer in Egypt. The case study follows a comparative approach, where the analysis is structured around assessing the effects modules with differing designs (one has a modular design and the other has an integral design) have on the economic, environmental and social performance of a supply chain.

To assess the effect of PDM on SSCM analytical hierarchy processing (AHP) has been used. The hierarchy focuses on presenting a holistic view to sustainability by considering economic, environmental, and social supply chain aspects simultaneously. Supply chain processes influenced by product design modularity make up the criteria within the hierarchy. The model develops pairwise comparisons that assess the effect modular versus integral components have on the sustainability of supply chain operations within the case study. Data collected and analysed within the case provided that the modular component led to improved economic, environmental and social performance when compared to the integral component.

This research presents PDM as a viable solution, which supply chains can adopt to become more sustainable. The integration of product design and supply chain design allows for the decision making process to be sufficiently flexible to overcome the common barriers supply chains face when attempting to implement sustainable procedures. This research offers a guide to assist supply chains improve their sustainability through providing a cause and effect relationship linking product design decisions to a supply chain’s economic, environmental and social performance. In turn this allows companies to include sustainability considerations and have more control on the sustainability of their operations from the product design stage. From an academic perspective, assessing the effect different product design approaches (modular versus integral) have on the sustainability of supply chain operations offers tangible solutions for improving SSCM. The conceptual framework presented an integrated review for all supply chain processes affected by product design. Furthermore, the framework classifies these processes depending on which aspect of sustainability they affect. From a practical perspective, the AHP model developed provides an analytical tool to assist product designers in choosing the best product design alternatives to improve sustainability within a supply chain.

El-Said THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (3MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email