Stuart Pugh, a well-known inventor in the field of product development and design, management and engineering created a methodical technique that helped identify the most probable solution among all alternatives. This systematic method is called the Pugh Matrix.
The method was given several other names such as Pugh Method, Decision-Matrix Method, Pugh Concept, and Criteria Based Matrix. The model uses a scoring template to grade multidimensional alternatives in an option set. Alternatives are allotted with scores which are relative to the criteria. The most probable alternative will be chosen based on the combined scores.
As part of the Six Sigma tools the Pugh Matrix is generally done after the Voice of the Customer analysis and after conducting Quality Function Development for product planning. On the onset of the technique it was mostly used in the field of engineering for formulating design judgment. Nowadays it’s also used to aid investment analysis, product and service analysis, vendor alternatives, and other set of multi-aspect units.
The fundamental Pugh Matrix includes the establishment of a set of principles to which the possible alternatives can be recreated, graded, and added up to achieve an overall score which will be ranked. Created principles are not graded to allow fast assortment process. For a more credible and reliable outcome, allotted scores should be based on fact and accumulated data. For instance, if the purpose of the analysis is to imitate or to replicate a current product, the study should include elevated project planning in order to institute a time table and first round cost-benefit evaluation. This should be properly carried out to sustain the project.
Because the method is systematic and quantitative in nature, it brings several advantages. Every time a decision has to be made, subjective outlook about one option against another option can be viewed as objective. One more benefit is that this technique can handle sensitive analysis. A classic example is to distinguish how much an outlook can be changed in order for a less favored alternative to outscore a contended alternative.
The Pugh Matrix technique is used to smooth the progress of a controlled, team-based procedure for generating concept and selection. Numerous concepts are assessed according to their strong points and limitations versus an allusion concept which is also the standard concept (also called the datum).
Datum is considered the paramount model on every iteration of the medium. The Pugh Concept promotes comparison of a number of different models against the standard model, generating stronger models and getting rid of the weaker models.
Aside from comparing different models or concepts, the Pugh Matrix allows the creation of viable option concepts from the existing less feasible concepts. Since the technique does not involve large amount of quantitative information it has the flexibility to get a most favorable concept that can be hybrid or variation of favorable concepts.
The Pugh Matrix is best used when it follows a series of steps. Every study starts with the creation of an evaluation team. The team will create a matrix that will compare the evaluation of criteria and the alternative models. Unlike other systematic matrix wherein scale is used for scoring, Pugh Matrix uses symbols in grading the alternatives. Scoring is done using positive, neutral, and negative symbols. After scoring all possible alternatives, scores will be added up to identify the numerical result of each concept.
Here is the step-by-step process of the Pugh Matrix:
- Construct a Pugh Matrix – using excel as a tool create a Pugh template. The usual template puts the criteria on the first column, the current process on the second column, Alternative 1 on the third column, Alternative 2 on the fourth column, and Alternative 3 on the fifth column. List as many alternatives as you want as this will all be measured along the way.
- Create criteria to assess probable enhancement solutions – list relevant criteria that are essential for both the organization and the customer. Example criteria are feasibility, cost, long term benefit, maintainability, availability of resources, and any similar general idea that you would like to consider in choosing the best alternative.
- Using comparative significance, allot scores for every criteria – similar to the Cause and Effect Matrix, assign score for every criteria. Identify which among the criteria is most significant. Score will be assigned according to the importance of the criteria to both organization and customer.
- Determine all possible concept solution – after identifying the criteria that should be considered and assigning scores to these criteria, it is now time to identify all possible solutions. This is best done during brainstorming activity. More participants give more concepts, more designs, more alternatives. There is no limit in creating solutions, list as many for this will be evaluated as the process proceeds.
- Weigh up how sound the potential solutions carry out on every criterion and mark scores – With criteria and alternatives listed, time now to evaluate each alternative according to the given criteria. The question should always be “How (criteria) can (Alternative 1) be compared to other alternatives?” Example: “How feasible can (Concept A) be compared to other design solutions? Mark the alternatives according to its comparison against the other alternatives using the same criteria. This method will identify which among the alternatives gives the best value on specific criteria.
- Combine scores of each alternative – using the positive, negative, and neutral scoring sum up all scores of each alternative.
- Choose the best alternative with the most combined score – the product of all positives and negatives will identify the most probable solution.
The Pugh Matrix is designed to assess multi-criterion project. The creation of criteria and alternatives will depend on the project members. It is also necessary that team members have enough knowledge about the problem, if possible have team member/s that belongs from the affected department. What the customer could benefit from the project should always be the priority when assigning scores to each criterion. After all, this method is best used once voice of customer data has been gathered. The ultimate goal is to create a process that will promote the organization and increase customer count.