|Ph.D Student||Amihud Hari|
|Subject||Integrated Customer Driven Conceptual Design Methodology|
|Department||Department of Quality Assurance and Reliability||Supervisors||Professor Weiss Menachem|
|Dr. Zonnenshain A.|
This research presents an Integrated Customer Driven Conceptual Design Method (ICDM), for the entire conceptual design process, in concurrent engineering environment. Conceptual design is the early stage in the design process. It starts, from the definition of a new need, through creation of alternative solutions until the selection of the optimal concept.
It has been established and widely accepted that the early phases of the engineering design process are the most critical to the technical and economical success of a new product. Most of the product’s performance and failure modes are generated during the conceptual design phase and more than 75% of its life cycle cost is committed at this stage. The major risk in the conceptual design phase is the selection of a poor concept that may cause engineering changes later in the process, delays in time to market, compromising on lesser quality than that of competitors, a loss in the market share and profits and sometime even failure of the entire program.
The research proposes an inclusive methodology for conceptual design of new products driven by customers’ needs. The proposed unified procedure was originally combined by use of some well-known and proven methods and tools. Some other tools were modified for the special requirements of the conceptual design process. Some other steps of the methodology required original contribution to complete the whole procedure. With ICDM, an on-line design quality, measurement and control system has been incorporated. ICDM is flexible and can be tailored to the unique needs of each case, or organization or to personal preferences. The methodology also looks at human aspects of the conceptual design process and provides the means to improve motivation and creativity during the product development teamwork.
The research hypotheses were examined through design laboratory experiments in which 29 new product development teams (129 members) were instructed to apply the ICDM methodology step by step. The proposed design quality measurement system was applied during the experiments at several points during the process. Another method for examining the research hypotheses was based on workshops and interviews. About 500 designers participated in special workshops in which they were introduced to the methodology and experienced it to some extents. The designers could express their opinion on the contribution of the method to the conceptual design in a questionnaire. The results of the analysis of the questioners were used to examine the research hypotheses.
The research stated and proved that application of the proposed methodology increased most of the benefits required from conceptual design methodologies. It also revealed that application of the proposed design quality measurement system, enables evaluation of the design quality in the early stages of the design process and enables early detection and improvement of weak points in the design. The quality of a concept achieved by ICDM is superior to alternative concepts created by the existing traditional intuitive approaches. The thesis proves that application of the proposed methodology contributes to the motivation and creativity of the product development team.