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Sustainable design performance evaluation with applications in the automobile industry: Focusing on inefficiency by undesirable factors


  • Hwang, Shiuh-Nan
  • Chen, Chialin
  • Chen, Yao
  • Lee, Hsuan-Shih
  • Shen, Pei-Di


Design for the environment (DfE) has been recognized as one of the most important practices for achieving sustainability. One major challenge in DfE implementation is how to effectively deal with the mix of the both the desirable outputs (to maintain or improve traditional product attributes) and the undesirable outputs (to reduce environmental impacts) in the design process. In this paper, we develop a new Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) model for DfE performance evaluation where the simultaneous increase of desirable outputs and decrease of undesirable outputs are considered with a focus on identifying inefficiency as a result of higher levels of undesirable performance. We show that our proposed method is capable of establishing a benchmark with lower undesirable outputs for an inefficient decision making unit (DMU) than other models in the existing literature. We also use empirical data to demonstrate the applications of our DEA model in evaluating the sustainable design performances of different vehicle designs for the automobile industry. By treating the undesirable factors as the dominating factors in evaluating a DMU's sustainable design performance, our model can help identify the most eco-efficient way to improve the performance attributes of a product while minimizing its various negative impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and solid wastes, on the natural environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Hwang, Shiuh-Nan & Chen, Chialin & Chen, Yao & Lee, Hsuan-Shih & Shen, Pei-Di, 2013. "Sustainable design performance evaluation with applications in the automobile industry: Focusing on inefficiency by undesirable factors," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 553-558.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:41:y:2013:i:3:p:553-558 DOI: 10.1016/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chen, Chialin & Zhu, Joe & Yu, Jiun-Yu & Noori, Hamid, 2012. "A new methodology for evaluating sustainable product design performance with two-stage network data envelopment analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 221(2), pages 348-359.
    2. W. Liu & W. Meng & X. Li & D. Zhang, 2010. "DEA models with undesirable inputs and outputs," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 173(1), pages 177-194, January.
    3. Crandall, Robert W & Graham, John D, 1989. "The Effect of Fuel Economy Standards on Automobile Safety," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 97-118, April.
    4. Fare, Rolf, et al, 1989. "Multilateral Productivity Comparisons When Some Outputs Are Undesirable: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 90-98, February.
    5. Seiford, Lawrence M. & Zhu, Joe, 2002. "Modeling undesirable factors in efficiency evaluation," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 16-20, October.
    6. Zhou, P. & Ang, B.W. & Poh, K.L., 2006. "Slacks-based efficiency measures for modeling environmental performance," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 111-118, November.
    7. Seiford, Lawrence M. & Zhu, Joe, 2005. "A response to comments on modeling undesirable factors in efficiency evaluation," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 579-581, March.
    8. Cook, Wade D. & Liang, Liang & Zhu, Joe, 2010. "Measuring performance of two-stage network structures by DEA: A review and future perspective," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 423-430, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:6:p:952-:d:100532 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kao, Chiang & Liu, Shiang-Tai, 2014. "Multi-period efficiency measurement in data envelopment analysis: The case of Taiwanese commercial banks," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 90-98.
    3. repec:gam:jeners:v:10:y:2017:i:9:p:1418-:d:112143 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ghulam, Yaseen & Jaffry, Shabbar, 2015. "Efficiency and productivity of the cement industry: Pakistani experience of deregulation and privatisation," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 101-115.
    5. González, Eduardo & Cárcaba, Ana & Ventura, Juan, 2015. "How car dealers adjust prices to reach the product efficiency frontier in the Spanish automobile market," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 38-48.
    6. Halkos, George & Tzeremes, Nickolaos, 2013. "An additive two-stage DEA approach creating sustainability efficiency indexes," MPRA Paper 44231, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Färe, Rolf & Grosskopf, Shawna & Pasurka, Carl, 2016. "Technical change and pollution abatement costs," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(2), pages 715-724.


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