Optimizing product concepts

Competitive pressures demand continuous optimization of products.  The Spider chart or Tornado chart comparison of alternatives (similar to those within the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework ) are very powerful tools to highlight optimization opportunities that can yield the highest payback.

The Spider chart below represents the comparison of 3 product concept alternatives for a fictional water filter company.  They have previously evaluated and committed to a 3+N-layer scalable-volume reverse osmosis design for their new “Under-the-Sink” (UTS) water filter product.  This approach beat out 2 other solution concepts for a myriad of reasons that can be seen from the Spider chart.

Spider chart for product concept decision

Spider chart for product concept decision

However, no solution is ever perfect; this one has a few disadvantages compared to its competitors.  See if you can pick them out from the chart.

(Play Final Jeopardy music here) 🙂

You can focus your product optimization energies on extending your product’s advantages, but most often you’d prefer to erase its disadvantages relative to competitor solutions.  Your competitors may have access to the same technologies that you have evaluated for your own use, so you can leverage your already-completed decision analysis efforts to focus your optimization energies.

If you want to better understand what is driving these disadvantages (against the Reliable, Manufacturing cost, Development cost and Mineral removal criteria), you can switch views to the Tornado chart comparison of alternative “pairs”.

Tornado chart #1 for a product concept decision

Tornado chart #1 for a product concept decision

Tornado chart #2 for a product concept decision

Tornado chart #2 for a product concept decision

The weaknesses of your current product concept stands out at the bottom of the tornado; you can drill into these factors (assuming that you’ve captured a brief scoring rationale when you evaluated them) and better understand what’s driving the disadvantage.

I don’t have a clue as to how the WaterMore company will optimize their product to overcome these weaknesses; I’m not a water filter design engineer or technologist (and it’s just an example).   Perhaps they can create a hybrid; adopt whatever makes the other alternatives better and blend these ideas into their solution concept. However, anyone can read the Spider and Tornado charts and tell at a glance where they could focus their optimization investments.  That’s the power of making your decisions visible!

Build your own Spider and Tornado Charts for your product concepts by utilizing the powerful capabilities of the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF). Please contact the Decision Driven® Solutions team at trial@decisiondriven.com or solutions@decisiondriven.com to start your free trial today.

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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