Avion Chemicals has approached Artemis Controls regarding the purchase of an Artemis smart valve to manage the highly volatile phenol in its production process. Although an existing valve could be used, discussions lead to the possibility of designing a new and potentially much improved valve. Time, engineering, and software constraints make the valve-redesign project a risky endeavor. The tension between delivering the old valve and developing the new valve is centered on the marketing opportunity and financial risk. The A case decision can be structured with a basic decision diagram, but the analysis cannot be completed because likelihood statements are presented as “weasel words.” In addition to the alternatives presented in the case, students might propose several risk-reducing possibilities: delivering the standard valve if the new valve is only moderately successful, delivering the standard valve if the software development is extended, reframing the price structure for the resultant new valve, and proposing a contingent contract with the software developer.
The A case is a modification of “Orion Controls (A)” (UVA-QA-0480). The probability statements of Orion have been replaced by the weasel words of Artemis. This modification allows the discussion to be less “numbers” oriented, more structural, and more strategic.