Our Top Tips On Design Management In Manufacturing

The nature of our business is making ideas a reality.

The journey begins with the initial concept, which is usually a collaborative effort between a designer and the end user. From here, an idea can pass through many hands on the way to manufacture, depending on the nature of the project. Large scale projects can involve a number of contractors and procurement teams, project managers, quantity surveyors and stakeholders, all with the possibility to influence and distort the final outcome. 

It’s a tough process. How can a designer be confident their vision will be fulfilled by their contractors? Here are a few tips from us….

Be as Visual as Possible

This makes life so much easier. Please forgive the cheese but this really is relevant, a picture speaks a thousand words. And it’s true, it doesn’t matter how many phone conversations or emails you exchange, a fairly decent depiction of what you want is always the best reference.

Build Relationships

Trust is key. This may require a bit of trial and error until you find a supplier that meets your particular needs. This may be short lead times, large orders for roll out, bespoke products, locality, quality, cost, customer service, knowledge, skills; the list goes on. It’s like finding a partner; it can get pretty complicated at times…

Understand the Technical Stuff

As much as we hate to put a cap on creativity, there needs to be some understanding that there are real world limitations. Understand the context, the space, the materials and the manufacturing processes you’re designing with. A good supplier will help with the techy stuff, so get their advice early on in the project to save amendments later on in the process. 

Have One Port of Call

Where possible, only speak with one person. Let them go away and do what needs to be done in order to execute the production process effectively. If you speak to multiple people about crucial design elements, you’re running the risk of some crossed wires. Really this depends on the efficiency of the company you’re dealing with and links back to our very first point. 

Be Realistic About Cost

If you’re looking for a cost saving solution then that’s fine, yet don’t expect a £1000 chair for £100. Set realistic targets when budgeting a project and set expectations that meet the cost.

Ask Questions

Whoever you’re working with, ask questions and tap into the suppliers’ knowledge. Overtime you will build a huge general understanding of technical know-how and apply it back into your design work.