Abstract

We consider the design issues of characterizing and appropriately choosing the quality of a product for maximum customer satisfaction and maximum corporate profit. We assume that the basic design configuration of a product is determined and that the designer must select the product quality by imposing statistical tolerances (manufacturing accuracy specifications) and choosing appropriate manufacturing processes. We claim that these design considerations, although often neglected, impact the behavior, cost, and even marketability of the product. A design concept without these specifications is incomplete because i) its feasibility is questionable ii) its cost of production is undetermined iii) its performance is unknown. The design process is seen here as an exploratory activity constrained by the manufacturing systems available. In particular, we provide a decision-analytic methodology to reason about the quality of product and the influences on profit resulting in a specification of manufacturing process and machine accuracy to match customer requests. The method is illustrated by the study of a simple three component assembly.

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