An Approach to Decision Support for Strategic Redesign

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Chamberlain, Matthew Kipp
Mistree, Farrokh
Allen, Janet K.
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Researchers have paid relatively little attention to the fact that most design activities are actually more like redesign. These activities are characterized by an attempt to leverage experience, knowledge, and the capital that a company has already invested into existing engineering systems. In this dissertation, it is proposed that an approach be developed to aid designers in making decisions in redesign problems when there exist systems to be leveraged and multiple new systems to be created. In addition, strategy is introduced to the problem through the consideration that new systems may not be offered all at once, as is often assumed in product family design research. In this dissertation, the aim of the designer is assumed to be a creation, through redesign, of a series of new systems with desirable and distinct performance levels. In addition, a plan is required to involve as little redesign effort throughout the life of the family of systems as possible The proposed approach is based upon the concepts of Constructal Theory and previous work to create methods for the design of mass customized families of products. The existing methods are abstracted and heavily modified through the infusion of the compromise Decision Support Problems at all stages of the decision-making process. In addition, two indices are developed to represent considerations unique to redesign as opposed to original design. These indices for redesign effort and commonality value are utilized in the overall objective formulation for the approach. Through a thorough validation process and a large number of redesign scenarios, it is shown that the overall approach proposed can lead the designer towards promising redesign plans involving leveraging of existing systems, but that the constructal-inspired approach in and of itself has certain limitations when applied to redesign.
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