Learning from Lighting

Even if you do not make lighting products, any building product manufacturer can learn something from these excerpts from this article:
Lighting industry business leaders reflect on
market evolutions and product innovation.

In 1986, lighting designers and specifiers working on a job reached over their drawing boards and pulled a manufacturer's 4-inch binder off the shelf, filled with a thousand cut sheets of product details. If the date on the page was more than a year old, the designer would have to call their local rep to verify the technical data. The rep would then call the factory to check the information. It could be days before the lighting designer received the information that they were looking for, a process that could be repated multiple times until the job was complete.

...there was often little time available to explore different design options and alternative product selections. Today, the situation is somewhat reversed and while the design/buid process is faster and more integrated, which provides more access to product information, there is still a lot of pressure to make timely product selections that maintain the projects integrity.

I am struck by the fact that many younger lighting designers have never laid a hand on a pencil or a piece of paper in their design work. Their world is on of electronic design and calculation tools.

It used to take lighting manufacturers three to four years to develop new products. It wasn't urgent to speed to market because products were around for 20 to 30 ears. Today, if you took the same amount of time, you would miss the entire product life cycle.

Since light sources can now last upwards of 50,000 to 60,000 hours... there is an extreme amount of pressure on winning bids because it could very well be four times as long until a building owner considers lighting renovations.

...few borders remain. Solid-state technology is the primary force behind a new cycle of global industry consolidation, and this is opening up world markets to small and large companies alike. Voltage differences, country to country, are no longer an issue.

New lighting companies are being formed, and grown, often with the intent of being primed for acquisition to a larger conglomerate.  ...As companies consolidate around the world, it will actually result in innovation and new lighting technologies reaching [the] market even faster.

You must have an international perspective on product development and the supply chain to be competitive.

Douglass Baillie
Architectural Lighting MagazinePublication date: December 1, 2011