Selecting Cell Phone Service Using Hybrid Decision Making Methodology

Selecting Cell Phone Service Using Hybrid Decision Making Methodology

Kouroush Jenab (Society of Reliability Engineering-Ottawa, Toronto, ON, Canada) and Ahmad Sarfaraz (Department of Manufacturing System Engineering and Management, California State University-Northridge, Northridge, CA, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/jeis.2013010103
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In an ever expanding connected world, mobile connectivity is essential in both commercial and private use. Selecting the best option has become increasingly difficult due to the many factors surrounding the selection of the best cell phone service providing company. Quantitative factors such as monthly price, total cell phone minutes, and phone cost are easily comparable. However, other qualitative factors such as signal coverage, vendor reputation, and customer support are not as easily analyzed. The need to make the correct decision when qualitative factors need to be considered has caused multi-criteria decision methodologies such as Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) to be applied in case studies. In this paper, the authors apply Fuzzy AHP to phone survey results and compare them to the original results. The multi-criteria decision methodology TOPSIS is used to demonstrate the differences between all decision methodologies.
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1. Introduction

Technology in business and personal life has become ever increasingly entwined (Lavrakas, 2007). One such modern technology that has entrenched itself is mobile cell phones. With this ever increasing dependence on connectivity, an ever expanding list of cell phone service providers is available. With increasingly high demand, increasingly complex options are available by a myriad of cell phone companies (Sterling, 2010). When selecting a cell phone service provider, both cost and non-cost factors should be considered (Ju, 2009). Such cost factors of monthly price, plan minutes and phone price can be analyzed using straight-forward calculations. Non-cost factors to be considered are signal coverage, vendor reputation and customer support. These factors are difficult to compare and require such multi-criteria decision methodologies for the analysis.

The ever increasing visibility of selecting the best cell phone provider has caused a myriad of studies to be conducted using multi-criteria decision methodologies. One such study was conducted by Yang et al., University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada (Yang et al., 2008). They selected a mid-sized town in Canada with four cell phone provides and conducted phone surveys of its residents to determine the comparisons between them. They setup the comparison tables and applied Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) methodology to develop a software support system residents could use to select the best provider for them. Other multi-criteria decision methodologies are available to make the best decisions.

A multi-criteria decision methodology allows for a determination between different factors where the comparisons between the individual factors are known. Generally, Table 1 depicts the taxonomy of decision methodologies.

Table 1.
The taxonomy of decision methodologies
     Decision Analysis (DA)DescriptionReference(s)
     Single Objective Decision Making (SODM)o Decision Tree.(Muller & Wiederhold, 2002)
o Multiple Attribute Utility Theory (MAUT).(Chang, 2008)
o Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP): It is used for multi criteria analysis that allows the representation of the interaction of various factors in a complex situation. In this method a hierarchical structure is developed to represent the factors given in the alternative selection problem.(Saaty, 1990), (Chang, 1996) (Grimaldi & Rippa, 2011)
o Fuzzy AHP.(hang, D-Y., 1996), (Chi, et al., 2008), (Sarfaraz, Jenab, and Weinsier, 2012), Sarfaraz & Jenab, 2012), Jenab et al., 2012), (Sarfaraz, Mukerjeeb,, and Jenab, 2012)
     Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM)o The MCDM methods identify a preferred course of actions for the decision maker.(Steuer, et al., 2003)
o Multiple Attribute Decision Making (MADM).(Cebeci, U. 2009)
o - Multiple Objective Decision Making (MODM).(Hwang et al., 1993)
     Hybrid MCDMo Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory Technique (DEMATEL): It is used to make a network relationship map representing the interrelations among criteria.(Tzeng et al, 2007), (Zhu, 2010)
o Analytic Network Process (ANP): It is an extension of AHP that resolves interdependency among decision criteria.(Perçin,2010), (Saaty, 1990), (Wu et al., 2007), (Liu, 2008), (Tsenga et al., 2011)
o SAW VIKOR: It solves a multi-criteria decision making problem with non-commensurable and conflicting criteria to rank and the alternatives based on the highest score.(O-Yang et al., 2009)
     Other Multiple Attribute Decision Making (OMADM)o Conjunctive and disjunctive methods.(Gilbride et al., 2004)
o Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Situation (TOPSIS): It is a distance-based method that uses the shortest and farthest distances from positive and negative ideal solutions to find the ranking of the alternatives.Opricovic & Tzeng, 2004), (Monavvarian et al., 2011)

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