(Drs. Farrokh Mistree and Janet Allen, co-advisors)
"Applying Constructal Theory for Product Platform Design in the Context of Group Decision-Making and Uncertainty"
Designers develop product platforms when they wish to offer variety to the customer and simultaneously keep costs down to a reasonable level. It has been shown that it is feasible and useful to design hierarchic product platforms for customizable products as a problem of optimization of access in a geometric space, allowing the designer to thoroughly explore a product family’s market space. However, the presence of multiple objectives, multiple designers, risk, uncertainty, and tradeoffs, which are inevitable aspects of a real-world design problem, are not considered in this method. These limitations are addressed through the infusion of utility theory and game theory into the multi-stage decision-making process. The proposed approach is illustrated with two examples: the design of a product platform for a line of customizable pressure vessels and for a line of beverage merchandisers.