Loughborough University
Thesis-1997-Fung.pdf (8.28 MB)

An intelligent hybrid model for customer requirements interpretation and product design targets determination

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posted on 2010-11-30, 09:46 authored by Ying-Kit (Richard) Fung
The transition of emphasis in business competition from a technology-led age to a market-oriented era has led to a rapid shift from the conventional "economy of scale" towards the "economy of scope" in contemporary manufacturing. Hence, it is necessary and essential to be able to respond to the dynamic market and customer requirements systematically and consistently. The central theme of this research is to rationalise and improve the conventional means of analysing and interpreting the linguistic and often imprecise customer requirements in order to identify the essential product features and determine their appropriate design targets dynamically and quantitatively through a series of well proven methodologies and techniques. The major objectives of this research are: a) To put forward a hybrid approach for decoding and processing the Voice of Customer (VoC) in order to interpret the specific customer requirements and market demands into definitive product design features, and b) To quantify the essential product design features with the appropriate technical target values for facilitating the downstream planning and control activities in delivering the products or services. These objectives would be accomplished through activities as follows: • Investigating and understanding the fundamental nature and variability of customer attributes (requirements); • Surveying and evaluating the contemporary approaches in handling customer attributes; • Proposing an original and generic hybrid model for categorising, prioritising and interpreting specific customer attributes into the relevant product attributes with tangible target values; • Developing a software system to facilitate the implementation of the proposed model; • Demonstrating the functions of the hybrid model through a practical case study. This research programme begins with a thorough overview of the roles, the changing emphasis and the dynamic characteristics of the contemporary customer demand with a view to gaining a better understanding on the fundamental nature and variability of customer attributes. It is followed by a review of a number of well proven tools and techniques including QFD, HoQ, Affinity Diagram and AHP etc. on their applicability and effectiveness in organising, analysing and responding to dynamic customer requirements. Finally, an intelligent hybrid model amalgamating a variety of these techniques and a fuzzy inference sub-system is proposed to handle the diverse, ever-changing and often imprecise VoC. The proposed hybrid model is subsequently demonstrated in a practical case study.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© Richard Y.K. Fung

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en