Tradeoff decision making is a difficult problem in design, and even more so when designing for the product lifecycle. Tradeoffs must be made among a broader set of issues, including environmental impact. In addition, normative methods such as utility analysis can become more difficult to implement because of decision modeling issues. This paper presents formal, normative methods for overcoming these difficulties. The method includes a lifecycle analysis which reveals elements of the cellphone design that are most impactful on the environment. A baseline estimate of impacts provides insight into possible redesign options based on minimization of negative environmental impacts. The proposed method also employs a multiattribute utility copula approach, which can be useful when the condition of utility independence is not easily satisfied when formulating a multiattribute utility function. An example using the decision process for end of life (EOL) processing alternatives for cellphones illustrates the method. The extraction of sub-assemblies was determined to be the best decision alternative to recapture value at the disposal stage of the product lifecycle. The copula structure is shown to be effective in analyzing a firm’s tradeoff preferences as well as attribute valuation, providing a straightforward tool for tradeoff decision making.

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