As companies are pressured to decrease product development costs concurrently with increasing product variety, the need to develop products based upon common components and platforms is growing. Determining why a platform worked, or alternatively why it did not, is an important step in the successful implementation of product families and product platforms in any industry. Unfortunately, published literature on platform identification and product family analysis using product dissection and reverse engineering methods is surprisingly sparse. This paper introduces two platform identification methodologies that use different combinations of tools that can be readily applied based on information obtained directly from product dissection. The first methodology uses only the Bills-of-Materials and Design Structure Matrices while the second utilizes function diagrams, Function-Component Matrices, Product-Vector Matrices, and Design Structure Matrices to perform a more in-depth analysis of the set of products. Both methodologies are used to identify the platform elements in a set of five single-use cameras available in the market. The proposed methodologies identify the film advance and shutter actuation platform elements of the cameras, which include seven distinct components. The results are discussed in detail along with limitations of these two methodologies.

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