Value-driven engineering design: lessons learned from the road construction equipment industry
Value models, in form of economical optimization functions, are often proposed to frontload engineering design activities. However, literature argues that, when qualitative data and assumptions prevail, a qualitative assessment of the ‘goodness’ of a design is preferable against a numerical (and monetary-based) encoding of preferences. This paper explores how a model-based approach can support deliberation about value in cross-functional design teams. Emerging from case studies in the road compaction equipment industry, the paper analyzes preferences for value modelling support when it comes to iteratively translate customer desires into terms meaningful for engineering design decision-making. It further prescribes a framework for value-driven engineering design that considers the need to update the value model definition as far as new information become available in the process, moving from qualitative to quantitative. The findings highlight the role the proposed chain of value models plays in terms of providing a shared reference to stimulate value discussions across functions and organizational roles, which is something that does not naturally happen in the organization today.