An Abstract for ASEE EED 2016
ENGINEERING ECONOMY AT THE SYSTEM LEVEL
From its modest beginnings a half-century ago, systems engineering is emerging as an effective technologically-based interdisciplinary process for bringing systems and their products into being. While the primary focus is nominally on the entities themselves, systems engineering is inherently oriented to considering “the end the before the beginning” and concentrates on what the entities are intended to do before determining what the entities are, with form following function.
System design is the prime mover behind systems engineering, with system design evaluation being its compass. System design requires integration and iteration, invoking a process that embraces and coordinates synthesis, analysis, and evaluation over the system life cycle. Systems analysis alone is not sufficient for the evaluation of synthesized system designs. It is the unique analysis capability of Engineering Economy enabled at the system level that is needed to support an effective systems engineering process.
The commitment to technology, configuration, performance, and life-cycle cost is particularly acute during the early stages of system design. A large gap exists between commitment and system-specific knowledge during conceptual and preliminary design. That gap may be reduced by indirect experimentation employing Engineering Economy (EE), Operations Research (OR), and Management Science (MS) at the system level. At stake is the future condition of the human-modified world to serve humanity.
A system Design Evaluation Function (DEF), linked to a multi-criteria Design Evaluation Display (DED), and embedded within a ten-block System Design Morphology (SDM) is offered for bringing engineering economic analysis to the system level. Design-Dependent Parameters (DDP’s) such as reliability, maintainability, producibility, supportability, sustainability, and others constitute the design space for mutually exclusive system design alternatives, with functionality included as part of the design evaluation display.
The mathematics behind the DEF is traceable to Churchman, Ackoff, and Arnoff (Introduction to OR, 1957), Fabrycky (Multisource Doctoral Dissertation, 1962), Fabrycky, Ghare, and Torgersen (Applied ORMS, 1984), and Blanchard and Fabrycky (Systems Engineering and Analysis, 2011). It is mapping of the DEF that partitions the system life-cycle into Design and Operations, making possible the employment of models from EE and ORMS from the very beginning of the system life-cycle. Money flow modeling and optimization together are shown to be essential for evaluation of each system design alternative, based on an expanded concept of equivalence.
This paper suggests that Engineering Economy should serve in a leadership position at the system level by providing systems analysis and evaluation as the system design progresses. A unique design evaluation function embracing a design-dependent parameter paradigm, a ten-block system design morphology, and a design decision display are advances offered toward that end.
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