Identifying and Comparing Subproblems in Factory Design Processes

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Herrmann, Jeffrey W. (1); Gralla, Erica (2); Fazelpour, Mohammad (1)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: University of Maryland; 2: George Washington University
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 2195-2204
DOI number:


When a design team faces the problem of designing a complex system, they are required to make several decisions. Because such design problems are difficult to solve all at once, teams often decompose the design problem into several smaller subproblems. This paper discusses the results of a study designed to understand how design teams decompose a factory redesign problem into sets of related subproblems and compare the subproblems obtained for each design team. This exploratory study analyzed the design activities of eight teams of professionals and used clustering to group the variables that the design teams considered. We found that the design teams used different decomposition strategies and different subproblems, but they more often considered subproblems with design variables of the same type, and some teams followed a top-down design process.

Keywords: Human behaviour in design, Collaborative design, Design process, Decomposition

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