Methods at Work in Engineering. The weighted matrix, Pugh Matrix and QFD method for decision making in product development

Seminar Paper, 2016

15 Pages, Grade: 1,3



1. Introduction

2. Engineering Methods
2.1. The value methodology
2.2. Theoretical framework of the weighted matrix – Pugh decision matrix
2.3. Application and evaluation of the weighted matrix – Pugh decision matrix

3. The methodology process and phases
3.1. Project schedule
3.2. The methodology process
Choosing the baseline
Choosing the criteria list
Executing the evaluation

4. Conclusion

5. Appendix
5.1. Design Brief of the case company, including company description
5.2. Table of Figures
5.3. Bibliography

1. Introduction

Only suitable methods can help to move forward in the process of product development. Therefore it is important to choose a method that fits the product, current stage of development process and the team.

The project is currently in the evaluation phase in accordance to the value methodology. One of the major purposes of this stage is to come up with a short list of projects with the highest potential. Hence, a selection process needs to be executed to produce a focused concept. The focus concept will then be used in the next stages to be developed further.

The weighted matrix is a method that is used at an early stage in product development process to select a concept that looks the most promising. This method helps to increase customer value and at the same time make a selection that is objective.

Therefore the weighted matrix was chosen in this project to help make a selection among the choice of concepts. Often it is difficult to come to a consensus among group members as everyone is biased by their profession. Everyone has a subjective way of ranking the concepts according to their experiences and knowledge. Such a ranking can lead to dissatisfaction and conflicts in the team as well as choosing a concept that has not the most potential from a customer perspective. The weighted matrix makes the decision process on the one hand a group experience where everyone is involved and gets the acknowledgement of their knowledge and on the other hand more objective.

For detailed information about the discussed company and design brief refer to “Design Brief of The case company, including company description 5.1”.

2. Engineering Methods

In this chapter the value methodology is described as basic framework for this part of the project. It serves as framework with further detailing in several product development methods. Suitable tools for the project are identified and critically evaluated regarding their applicability to the project

2.1. The value methodology

The value methodology should improve the value of a product. This improvement can be either achieved by increasing the function of the product or reducing the cost. Hence, the concentration is more on the functional, value creating attributes of the to-be-developed product. The methodology proves especially worthwhile in small, multidisciplinary groups and fuzzy environments where not all parameters are set (Park, 1999). The functional analysis is the foundation of the value methodology (SAVE International, 2007). A vital part of the value methodology is the job plan, a schedule that leads through the different phases of product development with specific activities. It consists of the Information Phase, Functional Analysis Phase, Creative Phase, Evaluation Phase, Development Phase and Presentation Phase.

2.2. Theoretical framework of the weighted matrix – Pugh decision matrix

Within the value methodology a variety of specific methods can be applied for each phase. However these methods should be in compliance with the value methodology framework. This means that the methods used should look at value creation for the customer. The weighted matrix is designed to make the decision process more objective and the selection of a concept among competing concepts more respected.

The Weighted Matrix method can be applied when several design concepts have been developed and a decision enabler is needed to select promising ideas (Martin & Hanington, 2012). The Pugh Decision Matrix is a specification of a weighted matrix method. It is also called a variety of names including Pugh method, Pugh analysis, decision matrix method, decision matrix, decision grid, selection grid, selection matrix, problem matrix, problem selection matrix, problem selection grid, solution matrix, criteria rating form, criteria-based matrix, and opportunity analysis (Tague, 2004). The Pugh Decision Matrix is especially used when a decision among concepts is needed, but the concepts are not yet specified in detail and are “fuzzy” (Herrmann, 2015).

A baseline is set to which the competing concepts are benchmarked (better/positive, worse/negative, the same/zero). The matrix is made by having a list of criteria in the first column, and several options in the head column (Kubiak & Benbow, 2009). Then a criteria list with concept attributes that are important to the products design are selected. Each criterion is measured for each option in comparison to the baseline. Finally the concept with the highest ranking of Better/positive grading outcompetes the other concepts. A typical Pugh Decision Matrix is shown in the following table (Tague, 2004).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: example of a Pugh Matrix

The Pugh matrix is used when a company has several alternative processes to the one it's using, and it wants to know if any of these is better or not (Herrmann, 2015)

It is also used when only one solution is possible, only one product can be brought to market, has only sufficient financing for one solution or where the optimal alternative is required, at the same time multiple criteria need to be considered (Tague, 2004)

It can also be used where there are many alternatives, none of which are quite suitable. The Pugh matrix can be used to choose the best aspects of the various concepts to produce a hybrid, which hopefully will be better than the alternatives used initially.

2.3. Application and evaluation of the weighted matrix – Pugh decision matrix

The Pugh decision matrix concentrates on qualitative decisions (Samuel & Weir, 2005). Therefore it interlinks well with the value methodology where emphasis is put on the added value for the customer. Furthermore it is often used at early stages of decision making (Farag, 2014), which applies to the current situation of the project team.

When applying Pugh decision matrix, the first thing that needs to be done is to have a clear understanding of the existing concepts. The team members have generated three concepts: concept 1, concept 2 and concept 3. The main materials of these concepts are fiber board, which is the only similarity of these concepts. The difference is the constructional structure.

Concept 1 uses wood frames to support the coffin and make it more stable.

Concept 2 consists of fiber board only. It has some ingenious structures, like a double layer to support the coffin and make it stable.

Concept 3 is the combination of concept 1 and 2, basing the double-layers structure, adding wood frames to provide stronger capacity, at the same time, it may cost more.

To make a Pugh decision matrix, after having the concepts, the next step is to choose the baseline. For this project, the traditional coffin was used as the baseline. It has traditional shapes as most of western coffin in the market used the same shape; also it is totally consist of solid woods, which can provide tough strength.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: Pugh decision matrix evaluated by the team on their concepts

From the above table, it is obvious that the alternative concepts have different marks basing the same baseline on each criterion. For instance, concept #1 and #3, which are consist of both woods and cardboard would have a better environment impact than the baseline coffin, because the degradations of cardboard would be easier than solid woods. As the same, the concept 2, which is totally consist of cardboard, would performs better than concept 1 and 3, thus in the above table, the concept 1 and 3 have a ‘+’ and concept 2 have ‘++’.

The team gains from the Pugh decision matrix is that it shows a valuable way to choose a suitable concept for further development from several generated concepts, it provide a convincingly method to persuade every team member and avoid arguments. For this project, it is obvious that concept 2 performs better than the other two.

However it is criticized that the Pugh decision matrix is a quick overview and does not include much detail when forming the decision as it does not weight the importance of each criteria (Herrmann, 2015). This needs to be considered when using the matrix being aware that it is limited and certain criteria might be more important than others to the end-consumer. Examples can be that a customer is more interested in the environmental impact of the product as of the innovative qualities.


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Methods at Work in Engineering. The weighted matrix, Pugh Matrix and QFD method for decision making in product development
Linnaeus University  (School of Engineering and Business)
Methods at Work
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ISBN (Book)
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983 KB
QFD, pugh decision matrix, pugh, weighted matrix, analysis, analyse, Produkt Entwikclung, product development, Engineering, Ingenieurwissenschaften
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Anna Lena Bischoff (Author), 2016, Methods at Work in Engineering. The weighted matrix, Pugh Matrix and QFD method for decision making in product development, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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