Ron Hollis realizes that most decision makers understand the importance of rapid product development.
The problem, he said, is they don't know enough to make decisions about how they can actually speed development.
``Customers think they know about stereolithography, and they might be familiar with it, but they don't know how to apply it in a real business setting,'' he said.
So Hollis, the president and chief executive officer of rapid prototyping specialist Quickparts Inc., based in Atlanta, set about trying to provide companies with that information in a language the typical executive can understand. His book Better Be Running! lays out the pros and cons of different techniques, he said.
``The whole concept is to get the information to those people who are leading companies so that they can make better decisions,'' Hollis said in a Sept. 10 telephone interview.
Published earlier this year, his book is being marketed to designers, product developers, entrepreneurs and executives who need more information on the available technologies but are not comfortable picking up a typical engineering book.
There is a disconnect between those decision makers - who know what they want - and engineers who know how to make those parts, Hollis said.
His book intentionally omits charts and engineering data in favor of case studies to lay out information about SLA systems and other competitive rapid prototype techniques such as selective laser sintering and fused deposition modeling, as well as ``low-tech'' processes including cast urethane and computer numerically controlled machining.
He lays out the potential applications within low-volume injection molding and also discusses the benefits and difficulties of hooking up with the right manufacturer whether in North America or China.
``It's about speaking to the people at the invention level about how they convert their idea to the marketplace,'' Hollis said.
Even high-profile executives at major companies may not know everything that is available, and without that information they may miss out on opportunities.
``Even they don't know how the pieces all come together,'' Hollis said.