When developing products such as coatings, drugs or sunscreens, the aim is to combine the ingredients in such a way that a marketable and profitable product is created. The product should be as cost-effective as possible and adhere to specifications relevant for a target market. In a complex product development process, several properties should be achieved, for example, durable, heat-resistant and waterproof at the same time. Some of these properties may be in conflict with each other. It would be conceivable to have a product that is more durable but less waterproof. Another trade-off could be between yield and quality. In other words, there can be many conflicting goals in product development and compromises must be made.
To find a compromise between conflicting properties, companies can resort to trial-and-error through experimentation. This is usually inefficient and delays time-to-market. At the same time, a trial-and-error approach can never reliably find the optimum between different possibilities.