WASHINGTON - SPI's Structural Plastics Division has drafted a master plan for growth - and it hinges on increased involvement of product designers in its organization. To that end, the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. unit recently formed an alliance with the long-established Industrial Designers Society of America of Great Falls, Va., and is planning a separate session on industrial design at the Structural Plastics Division's annual conference April 2-5 in Boston.
``We are trying to bring all members of the supplier chain into the [original equipment manufacturers'] product development cycle. We felt a little lean in the design stage,'' said GE Plastics' Jack Avery, division chairman.
David Kusuma, an IDSA official who also is a Structural Plastics Division member, said, ``The potential is huge. We hope we can foster this relationship, because it holds great promise.''
Kusuma, a senior design engineer in Miles Inc.'s Engineering Services Group in Pittsburgh, also is chairman of IDSA's new Materials and Process Section, which will serve as the liaison between the 2,500-plus-member design society and the SPI unit.
Avery and Kusuma agree that the greatest benefit of increased cross-association activity probably will be enhanced networking.
The annual Structural Plastics Division conference typically attracts about 450 attendees, according to division staff director Jack Murphy. The division is hoping for 500-525 attendees at this spring's Boston meeting, ``and we'd love to see 50-60 IDSA members there,'' Murphy said.
As the first tangible result of the new alliance, Kusuma will chair a six-paper industrial design session April 4.
Both groups are exploring how the Structural Plastics Division might involve itself in IDSA's annual meeting, due to be held in September in Santa Fe, Calif.
There also is potential synergy in that both groups sponsor new-product design competitions. The contest is the centerpiece of each Structural Plastics Division conference, and IDSA's Industrial Design Excellence Awards attract international attention through Business Week magazine, a contest partner.