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Towards Managing Long-Term Uncertainties in Product Development

[+] Author Affiliations
Whitfield J. Fowler, Kos Ishii

Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Paper No. IMECE2007-42434, pp. 169-177; 9 pages
  • ASME 2007 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Design and Manufacturing
  • Seattle, Washington, USA, November 11–15, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4297-5 | eISBN: 0-7918-3812-9
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


Under increasingly uncertain environment of long term life-cycle costs arising from such causes such as material price increases and carbon regulation, product development design decision makers need an improved method for evaluating project net present value under significant risks. This paper seeks to expose this need for an interdisciplinary design method capable of proactively managing long-term uncertainties and risks. First, the paper provides an overview of trends and uncertainties in material prices and environmental regulations. Second, we highlight a variety of existing work relevant to this research. The third section describes Customer Value Chain Analysis and Quality Function Deployment exercises towards addressing the nature of the challenge at hand. The study found that the primary customers for this research are engineering managers involved in strategic product development decisions. The most important aspects of a new methodology are to identify and characterize the uncertainties specific to a project, and to facilitate modeling. The final section describes a research path leading towards the development of a new design methodology. The paper concludes that a new framework will draw upon a variety of fields including Design For Reliability, Decision Analysis, Industrial Ecology, and Informatics.

Copyright © 2007 by ASME



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