Demands imposed by the consumer market and the need to remain competitive have motivated companies to develop products more technologically complex, by adding new functions and continuously seeking to improve manufacturing processes. At the same time that it is vital for a company to innovate and improve its products, the wise use of engineering resources and increasing costs associated with engineering changes, especially the poorly planned ones, have to be considered. The aim of this paper is to propose a decision-making support method for identifying opportunities for product improvement, based on data extracted from warranty records. The method uses field data, which are analyzed under six different perspectives of failure modes. A company in the auto parts industry has partnered in the present research to provide the context for an application example. The proposed method contributes for the effective planning of engineering capacity, by prioritizing engineering changes with customer-driven value and/or correcting product portfolio management based on market input. With more reliable data, the engineering change decision-making process becomes more effective. Furthermore, the method may help: set the right design requirements for delivering improved products into a particular market; plan for resource allocation on different projects; and highlight critical issues to be dealt with.
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