Speed of product to the market place was always important. This has become increasingly so with the onslaught of globalisation. What is released on the High Street in the USA today will be sold on the shelves and counters of shops in other continents within days. This has placed pressure on the designer to complete his task or contract with even more alacrity than was the case, even as recently as ten years ago. The cliché “we have the Technology”, is a truism in the world of manufacturing and design, but use of the available technology is, perhaps, not as apparent as it is generally accepted to be.

In order to get the product to the market at the right price demands an ever closer liaison between the product designer and the client. More often than not, the “product” is an enhancement or improvement of one which already exists. In addition, it is not unusual for the designer to be a contractor or 3rd party not physically resident in the premises of the client. As a consequence, communication is rarely conducted face to face but via other means, ie e-mail, telephone etc. Yet, in order to prevent misunderstanding, it is essential that correct information is relayed between the relevant parties. It is also necessary for the information about changes in the product to be available to other members of the client’s company so that the necessary decisions regarding price, sales schedules, re-tooling etc. can be made. Ultimately, these changes will have to be incorporated in the company’s Business Plan.

Research at Bournemouth University suggests that use of the technology available to relay information is not as widespread as it could be. The three major areas of finance, product and design have been approached and the results of the research appear below.

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