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Ging Visual Using Images Enhance Productivity Decision Making and Profits - Gerard A.

Gerard A. Ging Visual Using Images Enhance Productivity Decision Making and Profits - Wiley publishing , 2005. - 257 p.
ISBN 0-471-71025-3
Download (direct link): visualusingimagestoenha2005.pdf
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Plant identification photo
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ence to that product when you’re talking about it with vendors. The small size of the camera really made this possible, the ease of carrying it with you and popping it out and having these little disks filled with pictures that document your trip. For example, they go to the plant show, where they see all the new plant species developed for the international market. You can’t really ship these plants around for viewing because they are highly regulated. Our buyer might go to a booth and find 50 kinds of lavender. You’d have to be an expert in order to understand the difference between one kind of lavender and another. Many times in our travels we see plants that we can’t identify. With a camera, however, you get to take something back with you besides the Latin botanical name so that we can consult reference materials and experts within our team and make fully informed decisions. Having pictures humanizes the process.”
Product Resourcing and Design
Kline has found that the independent agents she works with worldwide are much more advanced than their American counterparts in their commitment to Going Visual. “I don’t think I know a single agent in Europe or Asia who doesn’t have a camera phone,” she said. “It’s clearly something that they believe is crucial to doing business. So far this year, I’ve traveled to many continents, and in every single case the agents had a digital camera in their phone. One agent travels up and down the countryside, where all the factories are outside the big cities. Because she’s in her car so much and she can’t e-mail from there, she takes the photographs, sends them from the camera phone to her office, then calls her assistant and tells her what to write about each photo in the e-mail. This allows her to send the visual information and the documentation to us while she herself is on the move spotting new opportunities rather than stuck in the office doing the low-value part of the communication process.”
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Kline described how these sharp-eyed agents are using pictures to communicate vast amounts of information that simply couldn’t effectively be put into words alone. “Our independent agents around the world are looking for product for us. They might be walking down the street in Moscow, they might be at the New York Exhibit, and they’re taking photographs. Our agent in China recently sent us numerous pictures of potential products—an amount of information that would have been almost impossible to communicate through language—to use as inspiration for products we would design.”
She continued, “Our designers are focused on creating designs for manufacturing; we don’t invest in maintaining a staff of artists to invent new ideas. Receiving large numbers of pictures that give us product ideas, like our Chinese agent sent, allows us to give our designers a visual reference point to base a design on. We can say to them, ‘This one element over here, this curlicue, is perfect. Let’s make it in wrought iron, or let’s make it in aluminum.’ We most frequently print the images and lay the pictures out side by side so that we can see them all. That’s one thing computer screens are not so good at—you’ve got a whole string of digital pictures and you can’t see them all at once, so you’ve got to click back and forth to remember what you saw. Prints work really well for us in this part of the process. We then combine the images with written documentation that tells the designer how to utilize the details, and that’s extremely useful.”
Kline has found that even designers working in very traditional ways have found simple but empowering ways to go visual. “A fascinating thing that’s happened is that designers are sending us drawings and renderings as digital pictures. We’ll decide we want to build a trellis with some design elements we’ve seen, and a designer working at home will sketch it, then shoot a picture of the sketch with his camera phone and send it to us. Suddenly, you’ve got a very
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rudimentary sort of old-world activity, sketching, which through the use of digital photography allows us to expedite the creative decisionmaking process. Here’s a dramatic example. I received an e-mail from one of our agents that said, ‘Your buyer is out of the country. Please look at these photographs of my sketches and give me input.’ I printed his pictures out and then systematically went through them and gave him input so that he could then create a few samples, which he’s going to bring with him when he’s here next week. We gave him the project no more than three weeks ago. For us to have a sample by next week is shocking.”
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Camera phone picture of a design drawing
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This blending of traditional techniques with modern visual communication is simplifying and streamlining the decision-making process and lowering the overhead at the point of communication to a negligible amount. The designer simply needs a camera phone, a piece of paper, and a pen to quickly have an idea evaluated. That makes for a big decrease in the traditional cost structure, which in terms of both time and materials has direct benefits to the bottom line.
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