How much has the world changed since the dot com boom? Arguably, that was the highest peak of the design world. Fees and work were plentiful. The only regulator we had was the number of qualified bodies and hours in the week. 

When the bust happened, we figured out how to work faster and to get the work done within the fees. We succeeded. Clients learned. We could do 13 weeks worth of design work in 8 to 10 weeks. So the pressure mounted to work faster. 

Here's the rub. In the decline, the forces that came into play are still in force. Faster. Longer hours. Shorter schedules. Tighter fees. What has that done? Blurred the boundaries. The difference between designers and manufacturers has disappeared. 

For manufacturers, you're being asked to participate by helping designers understand how to apply your product in your designs. But there's a catch. Design now happens 24/7. Manufacturers, are you ready? Can you provide product support at all hours of the day and night? Turn drawings around over night?

That's what I thought. This is what bridging the gap is all about. What does your customer need? How can you adapt your business to make the life of the designer easier? Help her design fast enough to stay on schedule? It's time to think of the pain and pressure your customer is feeling, and solve them. Design your business to help her succeed. That's what it takes. Let's get it done!