A modular design strategy considering sustainability and supplier selection

Masato Inoue, Shuho Yamada, Shogo Miyajima, Katsuhide Ishii, Rina Hasebe, Kazuhiro Aoyama, Tetsuo Yamada, Stefan Bracke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


To utilize the residual value, which remains an idle asset and disposed product based on the circular economy package, the definition or clarification of such a value and the development of a scheme for such a reutilization is essential. In addition, to facilitate an efficient utilization of the residual value, a product or its components needs to be designed considering its future reuse, remanufacturing, and upgrading. When companies monitor product usage using the Internet of things, they can make proposals to users of appropriate lifecycle options such as reuse, remanufacturing, and upgrading and such proposals are conductive to customer retention for these companies. Therefore, an ideal situation is one in which the product is appropriately modularly designed and its components will be reused in an upward product or another product family or be recycled at the end of life. A designer needs to consider resource efficiency not only in the reuse stage but also in the production and procurement stages. In addition, a company that designs and manufactures products needs to strive for the simultaneous attainment of cooperate social responsibility, higher profits, and higher user satisfaction. Therefore, proper supplier selection is necessary because products currently consist of many components and modules manufactured by various companies. This study proposes a modular design and a strategic evaluation method based on the viewpoint of supply chain management considering sustainability and supplier selection simultaneously. In particular, the proposed method evaluates the designed modular strategy from the perspectives of cost, environmental load in production and transportation, quality, and procurement lead time. As an evaluation, the proposed indicator evaluates the efficiencies of the candidate suppliers. This study applied the proposed method to the design problem of a laptop module and determined the more appropriate suppliers with respect to each destination.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA23
JournalJournal of Advanced Mechanical Design, Systems and Manufacturing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Decision-making support
  • Early design phase
  • Modular design
  • Product architecture
  • Supply chain management
  • Upgrade design


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