A multi-attribute approach to conceptual system design decisions based on Quality Function Deployment (QFD) and the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)

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Virginia Tech


This research integrates a multi-attribute decision-support tool, the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), with a customer-focused design methodology, Quality Function Deployment (QFD). The result is a hybrid methodology more complete than either of the two alone, involving synthesis, analysis, and evaluation activities necessary for completing conceptual system design.

An indicator was developed for the overall performance of an organization's product and its competitors’ products using the information in a QFD matrix. In addition, a methodology was developed to determine if essential customer requirements and design-dependent parameters (DDPs) have been adequately identified in the QFD matrix. A mathematical relationship was developed which relates technical and competitive assessments in the QFD matrix and helps test for inconsistencies. Finally, an indicator was developed to assess a new product concept for viability in the marketplace and to be used for accomplishing trade-off analyses. Examples are presented throughout this document to further illustrate the concepts.

This research is unique in its application. It adds to the body of knowledge for decision-making in the conceptual design phase of the systems engineering process.



multi-attribute, conceptual design system, design decisions, QFD, AHP