Assessing Fit and Finish Design Sensitivity by Mapping Measurements to Utility 2020-01-0600
This paper proposes a method to evaluate the sensitivity of the perceived quality of a panel interface design to variation in the measurements of fit and finish. The novelty of this approach is in the application of the concept of utility to fit and finish. The significance is in the ability to evaluate alternative designs with regard to perceived quality long before time and money are spent on their realization. In the automotive industry “fit and finish” is the term applied to the precision of the alignment of one part to another. Fit and finish gives the buyer a sense of the overall quality of the vehicle purely from an aesthetic perspective. Fit and finish is usually evaluated by the manufacturer through dimensional measurements of the gap and flushness conditions between panels. Since variation in gap and flushness increases the probability that a vehicle will result in poorly perceived fit and finish, limits are put on the variation to reduce the potential detriment to perceived quality. It is suspected that the customer’s perception of quality is highly influenced by the design of the geometrical interface between panels but there is currently inadequate means of evaluating that influence.