Selecting risk response strategies to minimize human errors in a design project for factories of the future (2023)

Expert Systems with Applications

Volume 225,

1 September 2023

, 120120

Author links open overlay panel, ,


Currently, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 revolution in product design and development is changing the designer collaborative relationship structure, and communication between designers is becoming easier and more frequent. Meanwhile, risk response strategy, as an important part of risk management, has a significant impact on the effective execution of design projects, and it is becoming more difficult to choose in this new design organizational structure because not only the personal risk response effects need to be considered but also the risk response effects of interdependence caused by frequent communication between designers. Therefore, this research presents a new qualitative analysis and quantitative measurement risk response strategy selection method based on an optimization model integrated by Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Matrix of Alliances and Conflicts: Tactics, Objectives and Recommendations (MACTOR) methodology to help design companies select optimal risk response strategies, minimize designer risk and allow design projects to be executed safely and effectively in the future design organizational structure. Here, the FMEA method is used to assess the risk for candidate errors depending on the (Risk Priority Number) RPN value, and consider the Severity, Detection and Occurrence property of risk. Meanwhile, the MACTOR method approaches the direct and indirect risk response effect between designers. The proposed method can provide valuable insights for design companies to improve risk management in product design and development.


Engineering design is an activity that comprehensively analyzes and demonstrates the technical, economic, resource, environmental and other conditions required for a construction project and compiles construction project design documents according to the project requirements (Zhang et al., 2020). An effective design is only possible if the designer is aware of what happens beyond the drawing board and in other departments (Tjalve, 2015).

A project is an ad hoc effort or organization that creates a unique product, service, or outcome (Jin, 2023). Project management refers to the manager of the project, under the constraints of limited resources, using planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, controlling and evaluating processes to achieve the objective of the project. (Kerzner, 2022). Meanwhile, project risk refers to an uncertain event and condition that occurs during project execution. Once it occurs, it will have a positive or negative impact on the project goal. In a sense, the essence of project management is risk management, controlling the uncertain factors that may affect the project. Whether risk management is done well has a direct impact on the advancement of the project and reflects the project manager and project team's ability to predict risks and the level of prior response from another aspect. Meanwhile, this research is mainly concerned about risk treatment. The main issue of this study is to approach and manage the failures of designers (designer errors). In design projects, there are many kinds of failures for designers that lead to an increase in accidents.

The option for modifying risk is Risk Response Strategy (RRS). Risk response involves carrying out qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis and ranking of identified risks and formulating corresponding countermeasures and overall strategies (Fan et al., 2015). In the design project, the RRS can be seen as training about design skills, course about design knowledge, education about design management, etc. The RRS can effectively control and reduce the risk of the project. (Miller and Lessard, 2001).

Hence, it is very important for the design company to select an appropriate RRS to reduce the risk (error) in the designer.

The main research objective of this paper is to propose a risk response strategy selection method for design projects for future design organizational structure and to reduce the risk of designers. First, this study analyzes the risk relationships of interdependence in the future design organizational structure. Second, in view of this risk relationship, a new risk response strategy selection method is proposed. This method not only considers the Severity, Occurrence, Detection of designer risk but also considers the interdependence of risk effects when evaluating the effectiveness of risk response strategies. Additionally, in this study, it is necessary not only to propose the optimization model of the risk strategy selection but also to propose the utility function to evaluate the optimal strategies in the optimization model. The method can help project managers select a risk response strategy depending on the risk response strategy influence effect and the applied expense of the risk response strategy.

The overall structure of the paper is shown below. The “2 Literature Review” section describes the work about the design system, risk management model and RRS selection methodology. Section “3 Risk Response Strategy Selection Method” proposes an RRS choice method for future risk existing actors. Section ‘‘4 Analysis of an example’ shows an application example. Section “5 Discussion and Conclusion” describes the overall conclusion of the research and future work.

Section snippets

Literature review

Indeed, human errors can cause very serious consequences in design systems. For instance, on April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Disaster (Hodzic, 2015) had a very bad effect on all of Europe. In this accident, one of the biggest problems was the design of a flawed graphite-tip control rod (The Chernobyl Gallery, 2011). Meanwhile, human error, such as miscommunication, can cause a higher probability of industrial accidents (Afenyo et al., 2017). Human error is a combination of a series of nodes that

Risk response strategy selection method

Before we start the whole process of risk treatment, we have to understand the risk management process of the point-to-point organization model for factories in the future (Fig. 4) (Jin et al., 2018).

In Fig. 4, first, we have to define the context of risk. Here, it is necessary to identify the needs relative to the design project, such as the goal and the purpose of the design project, which will directly affect the direction and outcome of risk management. Meanwhile, in this step, we must also

Analysis of an example

In the design world, cooperation and collaboration allow designers to unit together to tackle a variety of challenges (Richardson et al. (2019)). Meanwhile, with the development of IoT and virtual techniques, designers can collaborate and communicate more frequently than before. Additionally, the risk treatment process (selecting the RRS) is more complex to grasp (effectively decreasing the budget and increasing the RRE) because personal RRE will affect other collaborators and the independent

Discussion and conclusion

Risk response aims to keep away from risk, permit risk and decrease risk according to the analysis of risk probability, risk impact level and so on (Zhang and Fan, 2014). The selection of a risk response strategy is one of the most important issues for risk management in design projects to be completed effectively. The effective selection of risk response strategies can ensure that design projects are able to be safely and effectively executed. Therefore, the main contribution of this research

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Guangying Jin: Conceptualization, Methodology, Data curation, Supervision, Writing – review & editing. Séverine Sperandio: Conceptualization, Writing – review & editing. Philippe Girard: Supervision.

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.


This research was funded by the Liaoning Social Science Planning Fund Project, grant number L22BGL008.

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