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Using the Analytic Hierarchy Process in New Product Screening

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Document pages: 12 pages

Abstract: The initial screening of a new product idea is critically important. Risky projects (i.e., those with high probabilities of failure) need to be eliminated early before significant investments are made and opportunity costs incurred. Unfortunately, previous research suggests that it is often difficult for managers to kill new product development projects once they have begun. Furthermore, recent studies (including some centering on PDMA members) suggest there is much room for improving new product screening, because this decision often is taken informally or unsystematically. Whereas tools such as Cooper s NewProd software are available to aid in the screening decision, management science decision support models for screening are not used frequently. In the present study, the authors illustrate the use of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) as a decision support model to aid managers in selecting new product ideas to pursue. The need for flexible models that are highly customized to each firm s challenges (such as AHP) to support the screening decision and to generate knowledge that will be used as input for a firm s expert support system is emphasized. The authors then present an in-depth example of an actual application of AHP in new product screening and discuss the usefulness of this process in gathering and processing knowledge for making new product screening decisions. Finally, the authors explain how a customized AHP process can be incorporated into a sophisticated information system or used as standalone support.

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