Options-based multi-objective evaluation of product platforms

Javier P. Gonzalez-Zugasti*, Kevin N. Otto, Clifford A. Whitcomb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


A platform is the set of elements and interfaces that are common to a family of products. Design teams must choose among feasible platform concepts upon which a product family could be based, often involving new technologies. Multiple performance objectives need to be considered. A standard approach is to convert the performance outcomes into financial figures, which can then be weighed against the required investments. However, it is not always possible to transform performance outcomes (benefits) into monetary terms, such as in defense or highly technical projects. A multi-objective form of real-options-based platform selection is developed. Systems are compared based on multiple technical and economic goals, incorporating uncertainty by representing the unknown factors during the subsequent development process with probability distributions. The range of uncertain outcomes is integrated into single expected measures of effectiveness, which can then be applied to select the most appropriate platform and set of support product variants. An application to the design of platform-based families of naval high-speed ships is shown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-106
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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