Assembly systems layout design model for delayed products differentiation

Tarek Algeddawy, Hoda Elmaraghy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Frequently changing customers' needs and market pressures motivate manufacturers to offer a wide variety of their products. Poor demand prediction and increased manufacturing complexities and managerial burdens are just a few symptoms of products variety proliferation. Applying a postponement strategy is an effective method for mitigating the complexities arising due to increased products variety and customisation. Delayed product differentiation (DPD) is a prerequisite for applying form postponement strategies, where the unique features that distinguish each product are added at the final stages of production. This paper introduces an innovative design methodology to derive and represent an assembly line schematic layout for delayed products differentiation. The proposed methodology incorporates product commonality analysis and feasible assembly sequences to synthesise the assembly line layout in a single integrated logical design framework, without pre-defining either the number or the positions of differentiation points along the line. Products commonality analysis is performed using cladistics techniques commonly used for biological classification. The classical cladistics was modified to take into consideration the precedence constraints, which are required to ensure the feasibility of assembly sequences. Real product variants are used to validate the proposed DPD assembly line layout design methodology and demonstrate its merits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5281-5305
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • assembly layout design
  • assembly postponement
  • cladistics
  • delayed differentiation


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