The market is therefore in crisis because it is no longer able to sell products that provide almost entirely benefits to producers (who no longer respect the Law of Supply and Demand).
Basically, it is one of those phases of disruption of human history in which progress makes a leap that creates a discontinuity in its ordinary linear evolution.
In this case the leap brings the Market to pursue the Demand, the real needs of the people. Which means a recovery of product quality now lost as affordability and sustainability.
To achieve these goals it is necessary to recover some characteristics of the typical products of the market phases prior to the current one, as is the Modular architecture.
One of the problems of current products that encounter difficulties in sales is their Integral architecture (ie they are created as “one piece”, in which the components can not be replaced).
The integral architecture presents many advantages for the big Players of the current Market, since this structure of the product, among other things, drastically lowers production costs. And it allows developing a “planned obsloscence” (a “death by design” of the product) that forces consumers to continuously purchase new versions of the product.
It is also important to note that products based on Integral architecture are only convenient for large-volume production (design is complex, and the means of production are very expensive) and therefore only the great Players on the market can offer this type of product. product.
The modular architecture was typical of the products of the Market before Planned obsolescence (of the Market before the 70s).
The “technological” products since the early twentieth century are all based on modular architecture (such as the first car, the Ford T, or the first “appliances” that were totally modular; in them there was not even partial integration between the components).
One of the most significant examples of modular product is the PC consisting of a “frame” that houses independent components (a product that can therefore also be produced by small assembly laboratories).
The transformation of the modular model of the PC into a product with integral anchitecture by Apple is one of the most significant examples of how this type of architecture can drastically reduce the useful qualities for the User in a product (and how this transformation became at a certain point in a boomerang for the producer).
In fact, Apple, creating a “disposable” product (characterized by a real value that does not justify the expense) has been forced to propose sales strategies strongly based on the product’s image-value. And this has worked for a few years, but the high cost for a product “status symbol” is no longer sustainable in times of crisis, in which people are forced to fall back on really useful products.
Anyone who has bought an Apple product knows that soon one of its components breaks down, and one hears from the assistance service that the repair costs more than the purchase of a new version of the product.
One of Apple’s “masterpieces” in this sense was the mini-Mac.
But the most important point of the Apple strategies is represented by the band of the professional Macs, whose new generation is based on an integral architecture. This is obviously incompatible with a professional use of the computer (the professional needs to upgrade, according to his specific needs, some aspects of the instrument).
Following this move Apple professionals began to use normal PCs on which they install clones of the Apple operating system (the paradox in this case is that many professionals would also have paid the high price of Apple products if they could customize it with the appropriate cards ).
Compared to Apple products, the PC has remained a substantially modular product, which can easily be repaired, upgraded and upgraded according to the user’s personal needs by replacing or updating only one component.
The current market has also managed to create strategies of planned obsolescence for the PC, inventing a periodic succession of new standards not compatible with the past that make it impossible to upgrade the Computers (it is no longer possible to change a single component).
The advantages of modular Architecture
There are countless advantages of the Modular architecture from both points of view:
► of the Market: while penalizing the big players (which are in any case destined to succumb to new comers that apply disruptive innovation that go beyond the philosophy of integral architecture), modular architecture allows a revival of the market thanks to the possibility of creating new Business (this type of product requires much simpler production equipment).
► of the Consumer: the modular architecture allows a customization and an upgrade of the features that make the product more useful and affordable for the Consumer.
Thanks to the new production methods of the Proximity market (that implies the diffusion of production in the territory), there are lower costs of transportation (“Km Zero”) and intermediation (in Manufacturing 4.0 it will come to the “direct” sale by the producer, with products that can be collected at the factory).
Prices also decrease due to the fact that in the new situation there is greater competition.
A side benefit of the new product philosophy is that thanks to it we can have a revival of the local economy (a revival of local markets and, obviously, a revival of the market in general).
The modular products (substantially long/endless durability) have the following advantages:
● price: apparently one of the advantages of an integral architecture product is its lower cost.
But soon the consumer realizes that this price is actually much higher than that of a modular architecture product which has a much higher lifetime.
● performance: on paper, the performance of the integral architecture product can be better (if we consider the benchmark of basic products).
But in reality, useful user performance can be much higher with modular architecture, as the user can customize the basic product for his specific needs with high performance cards.
Regarding the issue of performance, we must take into account that in the current disruptive innovation phase, in any case, “technological” performances are less important, since with disruptive innovation we are able to create much greater functionality with relatively inexpensive technologies (the consumer technologies, today used in the few dollars devices).