UK industry managers told to rethink design

Management in UK manufacturing industry must rethink how it uses design, a seminar of engineers and industrial designers heard last week.

The integration of design into the management process of companies to improve the UK’s competitive strength was the main issue raised at Design Integration – People Co-operating Across the Professions.

The Design Council and the Chartered Society of Designers collaborated with the Institution of Electrical Engineers to hold the seminar, which attracted 70 engineers and industrial designers.

Speaker Dr Paul Leaney, manufacturing engineering lecturer at Loughborough University, sees design as the common factor for people in different professions. “Design cuts across all areas; management needs to be re orientated as to the way design contributes to serving the customers,” he told the audience.

Design Council chief executive Andrew Summers spoke of design as being a key management issue. According to Summers: “The integration of design into the management process is crucial to competitive success, the process of turning ideas into material things.”

John Stoddard, head of IDEO Product Development’s design studio, among others, feels there is a need for greater integration between designers and engineers in their working processes.

“Companies all want speedy product development; there’s no time anymore to redesign a product if it needs changing,” said Stoddart. “Traditionally, engineers and designers have worked separately. Now we need to work as a single team; the same goes for marketing people and even for customers.”

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