American Society of Civil Engineers

Better Decisions, Better Processes: Using Customer integrated Decision Making

by Raj Shaida, (Dir. of Quality, Spectra Precision, Dayton, OH), Jon Jackson, (Product Mgr., Spectra Precision, Dayton, OH), Mark Barrett, (Sr. Quality Engr., Spectra Precision, Dayton, OH), and Steve Nelson, P.E., (Sr. Assoc., Barnard-Norman Associates, Castro Valley, CA)

Journal of Management in Engineering, Vol. 15, No. 6, November/December 1999, pp. 32-35, (doi:

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Document type: Feature Article
Abstract: As Spectra Precision, Inc., in Dayton, Ohio, embarked on a new Total Quality Management approach, it recognized a need to improve its product development process by getting more customer focused and integrated within all internal functions. By choosing the Customer Integrated Decision Making/Matrix analysis (CIDM/MA) process, they brought a rigorous, cross-discipline team-based, transferable decision process into the company. The first project chosen was in one of the traditional market areas that was experiencing significant competitive pressure and internal debate on how to respond. With a team of representatives from engineering, quality, manufacturing, marketing, and sales, the project took three and half months to complete solution planning, in-context interviews, two choice-based market surveys, and internal discussion. Along the way, many key product, market, and competitive decisions were reached and presented to management for acceptance. For the first time, management had hard, factual data available for making decisions about corrective actions on subsequent design efforts. Also, using CIDM/MA allowed management to have an integrated decision process that helped in deciding which customer segments were important to focus on, understanding these customers’ needs and current perceptions, and focus on the response alternatives. As a result of this first success, a second project was started primarily utilizing an internal facilitator and other divisions of the company were starting to use the process as well.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Client relationships
Decision making
Quality control