IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Outsourcing of Industrial Design Services by Large US Manufacturing Companies

Listed author(s):
  • Alan MacPherson

    (State University of New York at Buffalo, Canada-U.S. Trade Center, Buffalo, New York,

  • Vida Vanchan

    (Department of Geography and Planning, Buffalo State College, Buffalo, New York,

Registered author(s):

    This article examines the extent to which US producers of durable goods outsource design and development work to external organizations. Evidence from a sample of sixty-eight large manufacturing companies suggests that independent design consultancies and other design service vendors contribute significantly to the product development efforts of major corporations. External organizations are increasingly expected to deliver innovative design solutions with respect to materials selection, aesthetics, ergonomics, product performance, and ease of manufacture. These vendors vary from single-person establishments to firms that employ over 500 people. We find that the outsourcing of industrial design has been driven primarily by the ability of external companies to offer innovative services that complement the core competencies of client firms. Our data also point to the rising importance of design service imports, notably from the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. Such imports currently account for about 35 percent of externalized design expenditures, compared to less than 15 percent ten years ago.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by in its journal International Regional Science Review.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 3-30

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:sae:inrsre:v:33:y:2010:i:1:p:3-30
    Contact details of provider:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:inrsre:v:33:y:2010:i:1:p:3-30. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.