Time to make a choice of appliances? Here's some advice from decision experts that you might be able to apply to your upcoming decison.
- Define the problem. Perhaps you're remodeling your kitchen and replacing the tired old appliances. So you need to purchase new. Maybe, you've got a 12 year old washing machine that's failing and you don't want to pay another repair bill. Your decison may be a compound decision. “Should I purchase just a new washer, or should I go ahead and purchase a washer/dryer pair.”
- Specify the decision criteria, i.e. objectives. Are these straightforward replacements, eg. refrigerator, range, dishwasher, or will you be adding new product categories, such as cooktop, wall oven, built-in coffee maker, microwave drawer, etc. There's a lot go consider. Think hard about what you want the best outcome to look like. Your decision criteria should answer the question, “Will this get me where I want to be?”
- Gather Alternatives. This is the creative phase where you'll look broadly at all possibilities, even unconventional ideas. For example, maybe you want to consider point of use refrigerators rather than one massive unit. It's important to look at a wide range of alternatives because you're likely to find good alternatives that you hadn't previously considered. At some point you'll need to switch gears from expanding possibilites, and to begin to narrow the field. Knowing just when to stop looking may not be self-evident. Set a timeline. For example: “By next Friday I will quit looking at appliances, and begin comparing from the existing list.” Ask your designer or advisor to let you know when they think you need to move on.
- Evaluate the choices. After removing the alternatives that just don't meet the decision criteria and arriving at a manageable list, you need to begin a more structured evalaution process. Here's where you apply the specific decision criteria against each alternative. It's a process of making tradeoffs and rating or scoring each alternative on each criteria.
- Select the best alternative, and make the decision. You've made the tradeoffs and done the scoring, tested the logic, considered roadblocks, and confirmed your best choice. The decision may have been difficult, but has now been reached.
- Implement the decision. Nothing could be more frustrating than going through this entire process, only to stumble on the implementation. It's time to move forward with your action plan. This means notifying others of your decision, placing orders, making deposits, etc. Sometimes, people are hesitant to execute on a good plan. Then prices change, items are sold out. Once a decision is made, don't hesitate.
- Evaluate the result. Afterwords, it's always a good idea to look back. What went well? What didn't? What can we learn to apply to the next decision? Even the best decisions will have unexpected turns and twists.
During this process, it helps to have a good appliance advisor. Keep him or her in the loop as you move through the steps. If you expect good advice, It's important to let your appliance advisor know the details of the process, especially with respect to your timeline and budget.
Consult the experts at Universal Appliance and Kitchen Center soon and best wishes with your new appliances: