IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 336-348, 1999. (Also, presented at the 14th International Conference in Multiple Criteria Decision Making, Charlottesville, VA, June 1998

A Prescriptive Production-Distribution Approach for Decision Making in New Product Design

Whitcomb, C.A., N. Palli, and S. Azarm


      The process for developing new products is part of an integrated engineering and business strategy that includes determining customer needs, market segments, technology options, manufacturing capabilities, and business plans. Successful companies choose among new product concepts that integrate technologies into products that are both technically feasible and meet a customer market. For instance, a major factor leading to the recent success of the U.S. electronics industry was the technology integration process, with the incorporation of new technology developments into customer markets being most important [11]. While much attention is paid to concurrent engineering design that incorporates customer requirements through integrated product and process design (IPPD) including product cost, the greatest weakness in product innovation remains in the cuzzy front end?[15]. This front end phase is at the very beginning of concept design, in the early design phase well before the detailed design stage, where the new product alternatives first take shape. One of the major causes of new product development failure during the early concept design phase is that the plans do not match the company strategy [15]. This paper presents an approach to new product development decision making during the early design phase that explicitly trades off customer benefits against company business strategy.

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