Product Design and Development: A Canadian Manufacturing Perspective

    TORONTO, March 18 /CNW/ - For the first time, Canadian companies are able
to compare their product design and development (PD&D) performance to local
and international competitors. Karl Ulrich and Steven Eppinger define the
activity of PD&D as the design of all the goods and services that compose the
process through which a good or a service is created.
    Design Exchange, Industry Canada and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
released new research that benchmarks Canada's PD&D activities across sectors
against American competitors, and compares the use of design between Best in
Class (BIC) enterprises and laggards. Key performance indicators, such as
percentage of revenue from new and improved products, and time to market also
show how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) compare to larger firms.
Sectors include computer and electronics, aerospace, automotive, clothing,
textiles, retail and furniture.
    While findings indicate a steady increase in outsourced PD&D activity for
all manufacturers, PD&D investment overall as percentage of sales is lower for
Canadian manufacturers than their American competitors. Canadian manufacturers
experience an average of 15% of total revenues from new products, with
manufacturers in the United States averaging 25%.
    Research also shows that 60% of BIC companies dedicate at least 10% of
their personnel in research and development, with laggards dedicating just
over 20%. BIC companies excel at developing customized design products,
searching for and developing new export markets, using distribution
agreements, international marketing partnerships, after-sales consumer
feedback, and make better use of intellectual property tools. One area where
BIC companies and laggards are similar is in their use of marketing personnel.
Approximately half of all manufacturers dedicate at least 10% of their
personnel to marketing.
    It appears that size of a manufacturing firm does not necessarily
increase ability to innovate. Both large firms and SME's in Canada experience
an average of 15% of total revenue from new products.
    Samantha Sannella, President and CEO of Design Exchange is pleased with
initial findings: "We now have facts and figures that show that design pays.
Whether you go with in-house or outsourced services, Canadian firms that use
design outperform those that don't".
    For the full report findings, visit

For further information:

For further information: Paola Poletto, Senior Director of Development
and Special Projects, Design Exchange,, (416) 216-2155,

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