M.S. Thesis Presentation by Matthew K. Chamberlain
Monday, August 19, 2002

(Drs. Farrokh Mistree and Janet Allen, co-advisor)

"Web-Based Strategic Design"


In the preliminary stages of designing a complex system, it is helpful for decision-makers to have the capability of determining whether candidate designs are feasible and where their money could be most wisely invested to ensure feasibility. The future promises a day when the engineers who are entrusted with the task of determining system feasibility work together in teams whose members are distributed all over the globe and have no other choice but to communicate with one another and share work via computers. These teams may be faced with making strategic decisions about how to address a new portion of the market not covered by existing products. It may be that the design team could leverage existing products and technologies using existing design methods to design a new product or redesign an existing one. However, what options are available to the design team when it is clear that current technologies and methods will not allow redesign to address the desired market niche?

What the design team needs is a method for carrying out strategic design, which is a comprehensive approach to forecasting shifts or changes in markets, associated customer requirements, and technical capabilities, and for devising the means of accommodating those shifts efficiently and effectively. The Technology Identification, Evaluation, and Selection (TIES) Method developed by the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) at Georgia Tech comes very close to being able to address the needs of this design team. In this thesis, a working definition of strategic design is given and efforts on several fronts combined to improve TIES and make into a functional web-based strategic design tool are described. The efforts towards this end are focused on two areas: the incorporation of utility-based selection into the TIES method and the formulation of a web-based framework on which TIES can be run. Case studies are drawn from aerospace in the design of two different aircraft and mechanical engineering in the design of reach-in beverage chillers.