Frank Tyneski wants to get personal. More precisely, he wants to help empower you so that you can customize a vast range of products from your iPod or laptop to your washing machine or insulin pump.
Tyneski is vice president of design strategy and new product development for San Diego-based SkinIt Inc., an operation he describes as not so much a manufacturer as a a personalization/customization agency.
SkinIt offers an online model that allows users to select or upload colors, images or graphics. The company then prints the selection on a variety of flexible substrates such as vinyl, polycarbonate and ABS film.
SkinIt usually ships user-generated online orders within five days. The firm also molds shells for business customers such as a retailer or original design manufacturer, and sometimes keeps such shells in inventory.
SkinIt carries a very limited inventory of, for example, clear, black or white films, yet manages products that require 20 million different SKUs (the retail term for stock keeping units).
Tyneski, who in April resigned after serving 18 months as executive director of the Industrial Designers Society of America trade association, discussed his latest role in a video interview at IDSA's international conference, held in September in Miami.
He said the company helps consumer product companies offer an almost endless array of customized products. He sees the model extending well beyond electronic devices potentially even to such things as automobiles.
It's going much larger. If you look at things that are typically painted now, there's an opportunity to carry one SKU and to skin a product.
Imagine a future where everything is made with a non-corrosive coating, and everything is skinned. There's a lot of sense in doing this. One is the skin technology 3M's a leader and they're a partner with SkinIt. The materials are becoming very good, and the simulations are becoming great.
For example, he noted, the simulated stainless-steel skin looks realistic, plus it is non-corrosive and flexible.
While not offering specific sales numbers, Tyneski claims: We have presses going day and night, and we're scaling like crazy. It's a business that's growing dynamically.
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