“Design is crucial to their companies’ operations – it has helped transform them.”

A Massachusetts paradox: despite a decline in the total number of manufacturing jobs this decade, total revenue from manufacturing has increased. How? Design. Amid stiff global competition, some companies are differentiating themselves by rethinking products and processes with a deeper focus on market, location, speed and quality.

Mass Made is a unique insight into how design can increase market share and productivity across a wide range of industries. You’ll hear from leaders who have championed new R&D, communication, and production strategies, in effect changing the game with new products and services. Design is crucial to their companies’ operations – it has helped transform them, and this in turn is helping to re-invent manufacturing in the state. Good design is a win-win; design is a plan to make life better, and it makes business stronger.

The companies featured here all manufacture in Massachusetts, they’ve all experienced a transformative moment where they realized they could not grow without design, and they’ve all made a long-term decision to integrate design into their operations. Whether they’re producing a chocolate bar or a safety razor, their stories share a faith in the process of re-invention.

We asked them:

Was there a transformative period where you realized design was crucial to your growth and competitiveness? What were the circumstances? How is design used strategically at your company? Is your design work accomplished in-house or through outside designers? Why? How do you quantify the value of design in the success of your company?

Here’s how design plays a role in these companies:

Quality: value is added through design to justify higher price due to higher domestic labor costs

Speed: design helps to economize materials and parts in order to reduce assembly costs

Market: design helps to identify new opportunities untapped by other local or international suppliers, and/or to create market differentiation

Location: design helps restructure business models to establish new supply chains for shipping, lead time, and QC and even establish turnkey operation where appropriate

Appeal: design in and of itself adds perceived value or credibility to a service or product, and is used as a sales and marketing tool

Industrial, apparel, graphic, and environmental design are competitive tools; they enable products and services that benefit the end-user, whether it’s a business or a consumer. Design influences purchasing decisions. But most importantly, design creates vision, stability and growth, which means jobs and a healthy economy.

Massachusetts has a strong future, and design will play a big role in how it unfolds.

DIGMA Executive Committee

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