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Assessing materials from an environmental perspective: Designing a material selection tool for the product development process of an organisation: How to adapt the tool to a company's conditions and needs?

Jakubaschk, Caren (2005)
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
The overall environmental impact of a product is influenced by decisions made during product development, e.g. on alternative materials. Different tools exist on how to select materials. However they are seldom adapted to a company's needs. The research question of this thesis is dedicated to this issue: Designing a material selection tool for the product development process of an organisation: How to adapt the tool to a company's conditions and needs?

During the study, the author developed a tool with the aim to enable a company to rank materials from an environmental perspective. The study included 1) a review of currently used tools at other companies and organisations, 2) a needs assessment at the case company, 3) the development of... (More)
The overall environmental impact of a product is influenced by decisions made during product development, e.g. on alternative materials. Different tools exist on how to select materials. However they are seldom adapted to a company's needs. The research question of this thesis is dedicated to this issue: Designing a material selection tool for the product development process of an organisation: How to adapt the tool to a company's conditions and needs?

During the study, the author developed a tool with the aim to enable a company to rank materials from an environmental perspective. The study included 1) a review of currently used tools at other companies and organisations, 2) a needs assessment at the case company, 3) the development of the tool and 4) the testing of the tool on two metal finishing processes. The case company is IKEA of Sweden (IoS).

According to the study, main aspects to adapt a tool to a company's needs and conditions are 1) a clear purpose defining what the tool delivers to the company, 2) the integration of the tool in the company structure, 3) the accuracy of the results which depend on available input data and the expertise of the assessment group and 4) the simplicity of result delivery to the target group. The main limitation of the tool is the time needed for collection of data and assessment of materials. Main benefits of the tool are employees with better material expertise, the delivery of a framework to structure information and the input of the assessment results to the management group at the case company.

The study gives recommendations 1) to the case company, 2) to companies interested in developing a similar tool and 3) for further research.

The tool is considered to be a proactive approach for companies interested in a holistic approach to assess materials from an environmental and health perspective. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Jakubaschk, Caren
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
product development, material selection tool, environmental assessment, Environmental studies, Miljöstudier
language
English
id
1327696
date added to LUP
2006-08-31 00:00:00
date last changed
2006-08-31 00:00:00
@misc{1327696,
  abstract     = {The overall environmental impact of a product is influenced by decisions made during product development, e.g. on alternative materials. Different tools exist on how to select materials. However they are seldom adapted to a company's needs. The research question of this thesis is dedicated to this issue: Designing a material selection tool for the product development process of an organisation: How to adapt the tool to a company's conditions and needs?

During the study, the author developed a tool with the aim to enable a company to rank materials from an environmental perspective. The study included 1) a review of currently used tools at other companies and organisations, 2) a needs assessment at the case company, 3) the development of the tool and 4) the testing of the tool on two metal finishing processes. The case company is IKEA of Sweden (IoS).

According to the study, main aspects to adapt a tool to a company's needs and conditions are 1) a clear purpose defining what the tool delivers to the company, 2) the integration of the tool in the company structure, 3) the accuracy of the results which depend on available input data and the expertise of the assessment group and 4) the simplicity of result delivery to the target group. The main limitation of the tool is the time needed for collection of data and assessment of materials. Main benefits of the tool are employees with better material expertise, the delivery of a framework to structure information and the input of the assessment results to the management group at the case company.

The study gives recommendations 1) to the case company, 2) to companies interested in developing a similar tool and 3) for further research.

The tool is considered to be a proactive approach for companies interested in a holistic approach to assess materials from an environmental and health perspective.},
  author       = {Jakubaschk, Caren},
  keyword      = {product development,material selection tool,environmental assessment,Environmental studies,Miljöstudier},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Assessing materials from an environmental perspective: Designing a material selection tool for the product development process of an organisation: How to adapt the tool to a company's conditions and needs?},
  year         = {2005},
}