Multiattribute Utility Analysis in Design Management

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A methodology by which engineering design managers may consider technical aspects of a design concurrently with economic aspects of the manufacturing system in selecting among alternatives and directing the design effort is presented. The concept of design flexibility as an attribute which captures both technical and economic considerations in one quantifiable performance measure is developed and incorporated into deterministic multiattribute utility analysis. The alternative of greatest overall utility to the decision maker is identified, and sensitivity analysis is then performed to identify and quantify desirable trade-offs between attributes. The problem of materials selection and design in the automotive industry is presented as a case study. The methodology was applied to five automotive companies in the United States and Europe, and results from two companies are used to illustrate the insights gained. For this problem, design flexibility is measured in number of body styles per common platform. Attributes of capital and operating costs Reflect economic aspects of vehicle manufacture, and attributes of weight and corrosion resistance Reflect technical considerations. This approach may be used as a tool to guide the engineering design process itself, to help generate alternative designs rather than simply evaluate them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-301
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1990


  • Multiattribute utility analysis
  • R&D project selection
  • automotive
  • design management
  • manufacturing economics
  • materials selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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