PITA Fiscal Year 2007 Projects

Product and Process Design and Optimization

A Systems Decomposition Approach for Optimization of Product Families to Balance Market and Engineering Needs
Consumers are diverse, and different people want different things, so it is rare for companies to design only a single version of a product. Instead, firms build families of product variants to meet the various needs in the marketplace. While greater differentiation of products generally increases a company’s ability to reach a range of market segments and capture more revenue, achieving this diversity comes at a cost – requiring more equipment, labor, and management complexity. To reduce costs and complexity, engineers would prefer to increase commonality across product variants. The challenge for a firm is to balance commonality at the engineering level against differentiation at the market level in a way that is most profitable. Addressing this challenge Proposal Number: CMU ## Awarded Amount: $ (For administrative purposes only) INSTRUCTIONS: Please use this form to submit your PITA proposal. Fill-in complete answers for all questions. Submit complete proposals electronically to Dana Hilinski Clements at hilinski@andrew.cmu.edu no later than August 31, 2006. BUDGET INFORMATION: A specific budget template has been created for PITA proposal submission. This template will automatically calculate the correct rates negotiated for the PITA program and provides fields for you to include salaries, equipment, consultants, travel (within PA only), supplies, and leverage funds. An electronic copy of the budget template is available on the Call for Proposals page on the PITA web site at www.ices.cmu.edu/pita or by request to Dana Hilinski Clements. Once you receive the file, fill out the budget template according to your project needs and submit with your completed PITA proposal form. A. Is this proposal a renewal or continuation of a previous PITA project? (check one) ?? yes ??no If yes, please provide the account string & title of that project: This project is not a renewal or continuation; however, it will build on results obtained from the project: 14476.1.33: Hierarchical Design Optimization of Complex Systems, as discussed below B. If your project is funded, would you be interested in participating in the SURE Thing program? (ie. Accepting a qualified, non-CMU, PA college student to work as a research assistant on this project during the summer of 2007.) (check one) ?? yes ?? no ?? possibly for more information visit www.ices.cmu.edu/surething requires measurement of diverse consumer preferences, modeling of product design and costs, and a method for finding the most profitable product family.

This project builds on methods developed by the investigators for complex systems optimization through hierarchical decomposition. By viewing the design of a family of products as a system, it is possible to decompose the system into subsystems representing the design of modules that make up each product variant and the positioning of each variant in a heterogeneous market. Preliminary research by the investigators has shown that it is possible to coordinate marketing and engineering models for the purpose of designing and positioning products. The primary challenge in the proposed effort is to determine the most appropriate representation and solution methodology allowing solution of product families that share components at the engineering level, yet are differentiated in the marketplace.