Decision-making systems and the product-to-service shift

Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is first, to provide input to the “through life knowledge and information management” grand challenge and second to provide industry with a tool for assessing the quality of the process(es) by which decisions are reached. Design/methodology/approach – An iterative approach is used with two student-based case studies, followed by two research institution case studies, and then two industrial case studies. Validation of the tool by managers is undertaken in another case study. Findings – An analytic framework is created which allows managers to categorise and display the characteristics of their decision processes. By assessing the resulting voids and clusters within the framework, the efficacy of the process can be determined. The framework has an associated management process, first to enable managers to see and compare instances of other situations, especially those leading to “disaster”, and second to upgrade the tool itself as assessments are undertaken. Research limitations/implications – The tool has been developed in a UK manufacturing environment. It has demonstrated its usefulness in the defence industry, but its wider applicability is not yet known. It requires industrialization to make it usable by managers. Practical implications – Use of the tool has already led to significant changes to the capability development process in a major defence company, and has been used by a board in a civilian company to understand why they have cost overruns and delivery problems. Originality/value – The paper has not discovered another, simple-to-use tool for the same purpose.