Proposal for a "definition of function" method for product improvement design

Koiclii Makino, Manabu Sawaguchi, Takahiro Ohno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Value Engineering (VE), value is expressed as (value) = (function)/(cost). Many companies use VE to develop products and improve existing products and operations; that is, to increase value. VE uses nouns and verbs as "(verb) (noun)" to express the functions of products and parts, and the functions of business processes. VE is a function-oriented method to efficiently create improvement plans by repeating divergent thinking and convergent thinking. However, it is said that skill is required to master VE, and it is difficult to define functions in particular, and it is also difficult to teach the definition of function that is easy to create an improvement plan. In this research, we propose a definition of function method using the Advanced Function and Behavior Representative Language (FBRL) method, which is a further improved definition of function method (hereinafter, "FBRL method") that uses FBRL applied in ontology engineering. During in-house VE training for product improvement, we explained the definition of function method before the FBRL method was developed (hereinafter, the "conventional method"). Next, we explained the definition of function method using the Advanced FBRL method and tested the understanding of noun selection for the definition of function. The results confirmed that, for product improvement design, the Advanced FBRL method had a statistically significant difference and a higher score than the conventional method. This demonstrated the <effectiveness of the Advanced FBRL method for understanding the noun selection to improve design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Japan Industrial Management Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Definition of function
  • Fbrl
  • Product improvement
  • Value engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Proposal for a "definition of function" method for product improvement design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this