Abstract

We introduce a method to help protect against and mitigate possible consequences of major regional and global events that can disrupt a system design and manufacturing process. The method is intended to be used during the conceptual phase of system design when functional models have been developed and component solutions are being chosen. Disruptive events such as plane crashes killing many engineers from one company traveling together, disease outbreaks killing or temporarily disabling many people associated with one industrial sector who travel to the same conference regularly, geopolitical events that impose tariffs or complete cessation of trade with a country that supplies a critical component, and many other similar physical and virtual events can significantly delay or disrupt a system design process. By comparing alternative embodiment, component, and low-level functional solutions, solutions can be identified that better pass the bus factor where no one disruptive event will cause a major delay or disruption to a system design and manufacturing process. We present a simplified case study of a renewable energy generation and storage system intended for residential use to demonstrate the method. While some challenges to immediate adoption by practitioners exist, we believe the method has the potential to significantly improve system design processes so that systems are designed, manufactured, and delivered on schedule and on budget from the perspective of significant disruptive events to design and manufacturing.

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