Integrated configuration of platform products and supply chains for mass customization: A game-theoretic approach

George Q. Huang, Xin Yan Zhang, Victor H.Y. Lo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is concerned with optimizing the configuration of a set of platform products and the associated supply chain consisting of one manufacturer and multiple suppliers using a three-move dynamic game-theoretic approach. The variants in the product family share a common platform for developing/configuring variant modules which are substitutable in the sense that high-end module options can functionally replace low-end ones at higher prices. As the customer in the supply chain, the manufacturer takes its leading role by making the first move to give decisions on platform products development (PPD) and supplier selection. The concerned suppliers make the second move to optimize their decisions including price discounts and their ordering policies. The manufacturer finishes the game by taking the last move to make his ordering decisions. The ranges of the rational reactions for the players are derived from the analyses of their payoff models, and an enumerative algorithm is developed to find the subgame perfect equilibrium of the game through the technique of backward induction. The game model and the proposed solution procedure are illustrated through a series of simulation experiments and sensitivity analyses using a numerical example. The results have allowed us to draw some meaningful interpretations and useful managerial insights. The use of platform commonality and modularity has been found generally beneficial not only to the supply chain as a whole but also to individual players that are eventually configured into the game. Flexibility of the suppliers' capability is also found to affect the PPD decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-171
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Commonality
  • Configuration game
  • Game theory
  • Mass customization
  • Modularity
  • Platform product
  • Supply chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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