New product development (NPD) is highly risky because of fierce competition, as well as rapid technological and market changes, which results in high rates of NPD project failure. A lot of research has found that the high mortality rate is, to some extent, accountable to the selection of wrong NPD projects. NPD project screening is thus a critical activity adopted in early product development stages to enhance the success rate of NPD projects. The manufacturing companies thus demand more intelligent and advanced tools that can advance their NPD screening decisions. During the NPD process, companies need to develop their new products with better and safer performance, higher quality and reliability, better environmental-friendliness and in shorter time. Such multiple criteria have to be considered and assessed at early product project screening stages, which involves a group of cross-functional experts. Due to a large number of quantitative and qualitative criteria and lack of sufficient and concrete data, it is often the case that group members have to make decisions in uncertain situations. It is therefore a big challenge for product managers and experts to move from experience-based decision making to scientific NPD project screening decision making. This paper proposes a novel methodology by integrating the evidential reasoning (ER) approach and analytic hierarchy process (AHP), which can help manufacturers in handling uncertainties and group-based decisions in the early NPD project screening stage. An ER-AHP based decision support system is then developed. A case study with an electronic consumer product manufacturer is conducted to demonstrate how the developed ER-AHP methodology and decision support system be used to support NPD project screening decisions. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Analytical hierarchical process (AHP)
- Decision with uncertainties
- Evidential reasoning (ER)
- Group-based decision
- Product project screening