Formalizing a workflow-net implementation of design-structure-matrix-based process planning for new product development

Arie Karniel*, Yoram Reich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many new product development (NPD) projects fail. The NPD context, which incorporates knowledge about the product, requirements, technology, and other factors, is dynamically evolving during the process. Simulations of NPD processes using their specific contexts can provide project managers with decisions-making methods to test their planning. The design structure matrix (DSM) can be used to model the product knowledge; then, reordering algorithms are used for process planning. However, interpretation of the DSM-based plan is not unique, and its translation to a process workflow (WF) model may lead to implementation inconsistencies. WF nets, being a subclass of Petri nets, provide formal tools for verifying process properties. Well handled with Regular Iteration (WRI)-WF nets are a subclass of WF nets that are sound by construction and, therefore, enable an automated process-build approach. This paper presents a formal translation of the DSM-based plan to a process-scheme model, the DSM net, which can be executed and simulated. Using several translation stages, it is proved that the resulting DSM net is equivalent to a WRI-WF net. Therefore, the proposed translation is inherently sound and can be automated, becoming an enabler of implementing evolving product knowledge into a sound changing-process model required for NPD simulations. The presented approach bridges an identified gap between the process-planning community (DSM) and the process-implementation community (Petri net).

Original languageEnglish
Article number5682420
Pages (from-to)476-491
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Part A:Systems and Humans
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • DSM net
  • Design structure matrix (DSM)
  • Petri net
  • new product development (NPD)
  • product design
  • product development processes (PDPs)
  • workflow (WF) net


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