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Concept decisions in product development process
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Machine Design (Div.). (Integrerad produktutveckling)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8790-3859
2009 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Successful concept decisions are crucial for product development organisations. Failure in theconcept decision-making process means costly rework, requiring resources that could havebeen spent on innovative work with new products instead. This licentiate thesis tackles theconcept decision-making process and how to improve it. The research presented here is thefirst part of a research project, with an action research approach, that will develop newsupporting working procedures for concept decision making and thereby contribute to moresuccessful products.Empirical studies were conducted in Swedish industrial practice, particularly focusing oneorganisation, and it was found that concept decisions are not made at a certain point in time.Instead, many decisions and activities, on several organisational levels, were adding up to theconcept decisions in the investigated organisations. The concept decision-making process wasfound to be a web of interconnected activities, with many decisions integrated and embedded in the process. Itwas also found that both formal and informal factors influence the concept decision-makingprocess and main factors were identified as: Project and product request, Supporting structures androutines, Individual competence and driving forces, Teamwork and company culture and Contextualcircumstances. These factors represent different perspectives, meaning on what level theyinfluence concept decision making: individual, team, project, organisation, and context, and in orderto create improvements in the concept decision-making process all levels have to beconsidered. The knowledge of the different perspectives has implications for howimprovements should be designed.Larger product developing companies do often have internally defined formal workingprocedures that prescribe how to develop products within the company. The thesis discusseshow the internal working procedures relate to academic theory and to practice. It wasconcluded that internal formal working procedures has not been discussed in a sufficient wayin earlier engineering design research. Furthermore, means for improving the concept decisionmakingprocess are discussed, and it was concluded, based on interviews with practitioners,that the strongest pragmatic means for improvement were developing mindset and applyingmethods. Mindset addresses the awareness, attitude and approach needed for management (andco-workers) working in early product development phases. Methods mainly addresses the needfor having relevant supporting working procedures in general and templates for evaluationalternative solutions in particular. Finally, recommendations for future design of a template forevaluation alternative solutions are presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2009. , x, 45 p.
Series
Trita-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2009:13
Keyword [en]
concept evaluation, decision making, product development
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10685ISBN: 978-91-7415-375-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-10685DiVA: diva2:225023
Presentation
2009-06-24, Sal A425, Brinellvägen 83, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20111122Available from: 2009-06-24 Created: 2009-06-24 Last updated: 2011-11-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Challenges in Concept Decisions in Complex Product Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges in Concept Decisions in Complex Product Development
2008 (English)In: Proceedings of 15th International Product Development Management Conference, IPDMC, EIASM, June 29 - July 1, Hamburg, Germany, 2008Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-25436 (URN)
Conference
15th International Product Development Management Conference, IPDMC, EIASM, June 29 - July 1, Hamburg, Germany
Note
QC 20101021Available from: 2010-10-21 Created: 2010-10-21 Last updated: 2012-02-08Bibliographically approved
2. Deficiencies in Management of the Concept Development Process: Theory and Practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Deficiencies in Management of the Concept Development Process: Theory and Practice
2009 (English)In: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED'09, Design Society / [ed] Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U., 2009, 267-278 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Concept development is a key success factor in product development and in theory concept development means that a number of concept solutions are generated and evaluated in an objective way using a systematic evaluation method. This paper presents identified deficiencies in both theoretical models and industrial product development. The aim is to supplement previous research, by increasing the understanding of how concept decisions are managed in product development in practice, in order to suggest proposals for improvement of management procedures. Empirical studies have been performed in two large product developing companies that act on the global market. The results imply that actors in the concept development, instead of evaluating different alternatives (as recommended in theory), rather are struggling with developing a solution that will fulfill the specifications. Decisions concerning concepts are found to be embedded in a complex weave of actors and activities that characterizes concept development. It is concluded that changes are required in theory as well as in working procedures in practice in order to actually support the actors in product development.

Keyword
concept decision, decision making, product development process, management models
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-25437 (URN)000302594100026 ()2-s2.0-84859221415 (Scopus ID)
Conference
17th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED'09, Design Society, August 24 - 27, Stanford, USA
Note

QC 20101021

Available from: 2010-10-21 Created: 2010-10-21 Last updated: 2012-09-18Bibliographically approved
3. Concept Decisions – a Web of Interconnected Actions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Concept Decisions – a Web of Interconnected Actions
2009 (English)In: Proceeding of 16th International Product Development Management Conference, IPDMC, EIASM, 7-9 juni, Twente, Holland, 2009Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-25442 (URN)
Conference
16th International Product Development Management Conference, June (7) 8-9, 2009, Enschede, The Netherlands
Note
QC 20101022Available from: 2010-10-22 Created: 2010-10-22 Last updated: 2011-11-18Bibliographically approved

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Kihlander, Ingrid

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