Boute, Robert; Van den Broeke, Maud; Deneire, Kristof (Interfaces, 2018)
In this article, we present how Barco, a global technology company, used an operations research optimization model, which was supported by an efficient solution method, to implement platforms—common structures from which sets of products could be made—for the design and production of its high-tech medical displays. Our optimization model captures all cost aspects related to the use of platforms, thus, it is an objective tool that considers the input from marketing, sales, research and development (R&D), operations, and the supply chain. This comprehensive view allowed Barco to avoid the excessive costs that may result from the implementation of an incorrect platform. Our model supported Barco in determining the elements that should comprise each platform, the number of platforms to develop, and the products to derive from each platform. The results of the project led to reductions in safety stock and increased flexibility due to the use of platforms: R&D can now introduce twice as many products using the same resources, thus increasing Barco's earnings by over 5 million euros annually and reducing product introduction time by nearly 50 percent.
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