Lee, Hau L., Tang, Christopher S., "Modelling the costs and benefits of delayed product differentiation",Management Science, Vol. 43, No. 1, Jan 1997, pp. 40-53.
Expanding product variety and high customer service provision are both major challenges for manufacturers to compete in the global market. In addition to many ongoing programs, such as lead-time reduction, redesigning products and processes so as to delay the point of product differentiation is becoming an emerging means to address these challenges. Such a strategy calls for redesigning products and processes so that the stages of the production process in which a common process is used are prolonged. A simple model is developed that captures the costs and benefits associated with this redesign strategy. The model is applied to special cases that are motivated by real examples. These cases enable the formalization of 3 product/process redesign approaches.