Research Papers: Design for Manufacture and the Life Cycle

Taxation and Transparency: How Policy Decisions Impact Product Quality and Sustainability

[+] Author and Article Information
Steven Hoffenson

Department of Product and
Production Development,
Chalmers University of Technology,
Gothenburg 412 96, Sweden
e-mail: stevenh@chalmers.se

Rikard Söderberg

Department of Product and
Production Development,
Chalmers University of Technology,
Gothenburg 412 96, Sweden
e-mail: rikard.soderberg@chalmers.se

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design for Manufacturing Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received February 1, 2015; final manuscript received July 13, 2015; published online August 10, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Harrison M. Kim.

J. Mech. Des 137(10), 101702 (Aug 10, 2015) (8 pages) Paper No: MD-15-1057; doi: 10.1115/1.4031121 History: Received February 01, 2015

Product markets can be modeled as complex systems that account for a diverse set of stakeholders and interactions. Decisions by all of the stakeholders in these systems can affect the design of new products, not only from design teams but also from consumers, producers, and policymakers. Studies of market systems have shown how producers can make profit-optimal decisions on product design and pricing, and how those decisions influence a number of different factors including the quality, environmental impact, production costs, and ultimately consumer demand for the product. This study presents and demonstrates the use of a framework for modeling the ways that policies and consumer demand influence optimal product design and, in particular, product quality and environmental sustainability. Employing this model for the tolerance and material design decisions for a mobile phone case shows how different environmental impact scales, taxation levels, and information available to consumers will influence producer profits and overall environmental impacts. This demonstrates how different policies can be evaluated for their impacts on economic success for producers and reduced environmental impacts for society, and a “win–win” scenario is found for the mobile phone case.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
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Fig. 1

Main interactions modeled in this study, from the perspective of the policymaker seeking to address environmental impacts

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Fig. 2

The effects of producer and policymaker decisions on environmental impacts and profits

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Fig. 3

Mobile phone case assembled (left) and inside of back part (right)

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Fig. 4

Mobile phone case with a parallel (left) and nonparallel (right) split line

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Fig. 5

Effect of tolerances on costs and environmental impacts, for a PE phone case

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Fig. 6

Part-worth utilities for three key phone attributes



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