The design and development of effective product lines is a challenge in modern industry. Companies must balance diverse product families that satisfy wide ranging customer demands with practical business needs such as combining manufacturing processes and using similar materials, for example. In this paper, the issue of consolidating an existing product family is addressed. Specifically, the Hypothetical Equivalents and Inequivalents Method (HEIM) is utilized in order to select an optimal product family configuration. In previous uses, HEIM has been shown to assist a decision maker in selecting one concept from a set when concept attributes conflict with each other. In this extension of HEIM, the optimization problem’s constraints are formulated using two different value functions, and common solutions are identified in order to select an optimal family of staplers. The result is then compared with the result found using a multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT) based approach. While each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and MAUT provides a necessary first step for product family consolidation and selection, a robust solution is achieved through HEIM.

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