Title: The House of Concepts as a matrix-based problem-solving method in conceptual design

Authors: Stefan Punz; Peter Hehenberger

Addresses: voestalpine Stahl GmbH, voestalpine-Straße 3, A-4020 Linz, Austria ' Institute for Mechatronic Design and Production, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Altenbergerstr. 69, A-4040 Linz, Austria

Abstract: As most of the key properties of a product are determined by its design concept, customer orientation must be ensured very early in the conceptual design phase. Hierarchical concept development can help to reduce the complexity of this strategically significant task. This paper examines the process of hierarchical concept design by means of the House of Concepts (HoC) approach, which was conceived specifically to support customer-oriented concept development. This approach, which builds upon Quality Function Deployment (QFD), is compact, illustrative, enhances comprehensibility and can be considered both a method and a guiding principle. Supporting the creation of solution concepts by analysing the dependencies between requirements, functions, structure and properties with matrix-based methods allows verifying the suitable product concepts. The HoC method promotes customer orientation, especially during conceptual design, and supports systematic concept development at different levels of abstraction. Thus, it enables step-by-step development of product concepts and helps to reduce the complexity of this important engineering task. The HoC approach can be used to ensure customer orientation in the development of product concepts, which leads to an increase in effectiveness in product development.

Keywords: HoC; house of concepts; QFD; quality function deployment; customer-oriented concept development; early design phase; problem solving; conceptual design; customer orientation; hierarchical concept design; product development; product design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2015.073523

International Journal of Product Development, 2015 Vol.20 No.6, pp.435 - 464

Accepted: 06 May 2015
Published online: 11 Dec 2015 *

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