A hybrid approach to concept selection through fuzzy analytic network process
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Evaluating conceptual design alternatives in a new product development (NPD) environment has been one of the most critical issues for many companies which try to survive in the fast-growing world markets. Therefore most companies have used various methods to successfully carry out this difficult and time-consuming evaluation process. Of these methods analytic hierarchy process (AHP) has been widely used in multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM) problems. But in this study we used analytical network process (ANP) a more general form of AHP instead of AHP due to the fact that AHP cannot accommodate the variety of interactions dependencies and feedback between higher and lower level elements. Furthermore in some cases due to the vagueness and uncertainty on the judgments of a decision-maker the crisp pairwise comparison in the conventional ANP is insufficient and imprecise to capture the right judgments of the decision-maker. Therefore a fuzzy logic is introduced in the pairwise comparison of ANP to make up for this deficiency in the conventional ANP and is called as fuzzy ANP. In short in this paper a fuzzy ANP-based approach is proposed to evaluate a set of conceptual design alternatives developed in a NPD environment in order to reach to the best one satisfying both the needs and expectations of customers and the engineering specifications of company. In addition a numerical example is presented to illustrate the proposed approach. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.