A Pugh matrix is a quantitative type tool that uses a multidimensional environment to choose the best of a series of options.
Therefore, we are facing a very useful technique for decision making. Also, as we will see in the final example, it is very easy to handle. In fact, what it does is take a series of numerical scores that will allow you to see which path is better.
For example, let’s imagine a complex production chain in which there are a series of designs to be made and criteria that must be analyzed. With both questions we will assemble our matrix and assigning values we will arrive at the optimal situation.
History of the Pugh Matrix
Stuart Pugh (1929-1993), English design engineer, was the creator of the matrix that bears his name. In fact, the reason was the need for a simple system that could analyze two variables, and matrices are very useful tools in these cases.
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This technique comes from a much broader concept, “Total Design”, redefined by this author in his academic career. What was sought was to relate the needs of the client (market) with the resources of the company.
How the Pugh matrix works
Its operation is relatively easy, following certain steps. In the example we will see a practical application.
- In the first place, the alternatives and the criteria that will be used to choose them must be precisely defined.
- A second step consists of proposing the weighting that will be done on the global data, taking into account the importance for the company of each alternative.
- On the other hand, you have to choose a standard value with which each criterion will be compared.
- Then you have to build the matrix. We will score 1 if the criterion is better than the standard value, 0 if it is the same or -1 if it is worse.
- Finally, the scores are added up, weighted, and those results are ranked with a number in order of priority.
Let’s see some of the most relevant characteristics of the Pugh matrix:
- As a first feature, it is simple, intuitive and easy to use. In addition, it can be carried out with a spreadsheet and simple formulas such as sum or hierarchies.
- Contrary to what we could intuitively deduce, the more complex the matrix, the better solutions it offers.
- It allows management techniques such as “brainstorming”, since all members can view the options classified by their priority.
- However, one drawback is that it is largely arbitrary and involves a high dose of subjectivity.
Plugh matrix example
We are going to put an example. Imagine a company, Economipedia, that offers a series of services that you want to study (alternatives). In addition, they will take into account a series of criteria to decide which one they will dedicate more time to next year. The example is fictitious.
We can see that the matrix with the weights appears in the table on the left, and the description of criteria and conditions appears on the right. In this way, if we take the technological cost, -1 means that it is greater than the standard, 0 would be the same and 1 that it is less. So with the rest.
We see that the options to which more time should be devoted, 0.35 weighting, would be the training courses and the one with the least, the dictionary, since it has been published for a long time. In the middle would be the YouTube channel and the current affairs section.
By weighting data according to importance to the business, the values have a hierarchy. First, the courses, secondly, the current affairs section and the YouTube channel, and then the dictionary. As we can see, the Pugh matrix will help us make the best decision.