What happens to high level design when the economy tanks? Some may say has to tank along with it -- designers and manufacturers will scramble to make a sale here and there to keep going until the economy picks back up. However, that doesn't have to be the case, especially when designers can scale down production to match the market demand.
Brian Moore, a furniture designer, gives an interesting interview with Make Magazine. He notes that as sales slow, he needs to match production to the reality of what consumers can afford in this kind of market -- but by producing only what is needed when it is needed, he has better odds of staying in business. His interview underscores the idea that scaling up isn't the holy grail of manufacturing, as many companies believe, but rather the flexibility of scaling up and down with the market is a more intelligent, and sustainable goal.
Moore is trying to build a business model where customers are more connected to the process of design and manufacturing -- less commodification and more customization. This concept produces goods that last a long time, that people will be attached to for a long time, and that can be made one at a time and still allow the business to be profitable.
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