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The critical product planning phase, early in the product development cycle, requires a design tool to establish engineering priorities, select the preferred design concept, and set target levels of engineering performance while considering the needs of both the consumer and producer. The quality function deployment (QFD) method was developed as a design process tool to translate customer needs into engineering characteristics; however, limitations have been identified in using the QFD method for product planning. In this paper, a new design tool called product attribute function deployment (PAFD), based on the principles of decision-based design (DBD), is introduced as a decision-theoretic, enterprise-level process tool to guide the conceptual design phase. The PAFD method extends the qualitative matrix principles of QFD while utilizing the quantitative decision-making processes of DBD. The PAFD method is built upon established methods in engineering, marketing, and decision analysis to eliminate the need for the user ratings and rankings of performance, priority, and attribute coupling in the QFD method. The differences between the QFD and the PAFD processes are compared and contrasted, and the conceptual design of an automotive manifold absolute pressure sensor is used as a case study to demonstrate the features and benefits of the PAFD method.
Date of Publication: May 2009