series: ERIM PhD Series;EPS-2002-011-LIS
The Business of Modularity and the Modularity of Business
(Modulariteitszaken en Zakelijke Modulariteit)
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Matthijs Wolters was born on June 4 1972 in Dronten, the Netherlands. He studied Econometrics at the University of Groningen, with a specialization in Operations Research and Statistics. During his study he was involved in a number of research investigations, varying from forecasting the outcome of tennis matches to a viewers inquiry for a popularscientific television program. He graduated in 1996 on a thesis that dealt with the development and testing of algorithms and heuristics for efficient orderpicking in warehouses. Since October 1996 he has been working at the Erasmus University Rotterdam as a Ph.D. candidate on modularity, mass-customization, dynamic networking and ICT. His research was published in several newspapers, books and journals and he presented his work at international conferences. He also supervised a number of graduation students with their master's project. In 1998 he organized an international conference "Electronic Commerce: Crossing Boundaries". Recently, he has started his own company Ludens Research and Consultancy in which he continues his work on customer-oriented organizing and modularity.
This thesis deals with the concept of modularity, which is used in many different fields of research and applications. The objective of this dissertation is to investigate how and to what extent business networks can use modularity to become more customer-responsive and flexible. For this purpose, a theoretical framework on modularity has been developed, which focuses on three dimensions of doing business: designing products, business processes and supply chains. The central proposition is that a concurrent, modular design in these three dimensions increases the performance of inter-organizational business networks in general and a mass-customization strategy in particular. This proposition was validated in a number of empirical settings. First, the applicability of a business modeling approach, called Modular Network Design, was validated in the air cargo industry. Second, it was investigated how the Dutch building industry applies modularity in order to mass-customize newly built houses. Third, a survey was held among numerous customizing organizations, dispersed all over the world, which led to more understanding about the relationship between business modularity and organizational performance.
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Promotores: Prof.mr.dr. P.H.M. Vervest, Prof.dr.ir. H.W.G.M. van Heck, Other members: Prof.dr.ir. J.A.E.E. van Nunen, Prof.dr. P.M.A. Ribbers, Prof.dr. L.F.J.M. Pau
- supply chains
- Modularity Modular
- enabled process reengineering