Component Designers and the “Wheel of Responsibility” (Part 1)

We are all familiar with the wheel, right? We all understand that the wheel rotates on an axis using ball bearings. When the wheel is properly lubricated, it keeps the heat away and the parts from rubbing together. Without that lubrication, the force and resistance would cause the parts to weld together as they heated up from friction. This is pretty well understood as a basic rule of science. It takes many parts working together in unison to achieve the desired result.


In the component design world and the building industry, we have a similar phenomenon to this basic premise of science. The biggest difference is that the moving parts are the manufacturer’s personnel and product. For argument’s sake, let’s call this “force” is the customer’s satisfaction level and the “resistance” the product the customer receives.

To keep the parts from “welding together” can be avoided with a simple, yet effective lubricating tool: an open mind. This just isn’t so as it relates to lubricating the ball bearing, as the open mind has no relevance. But it is absolute fact in the component manufacturing industry as it relates to employee growth, retention, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

We’ve all been a part of a project or two where things have “heated up” due to improper lubrication, right? Things such as:

  • Something didn’t fit out on the job site
  • An area had a job site problem due to omission
  • There was a communication problem between design and build
  • Mechanicals were not considered for a commercial project

Perhaps even there was some finger pointing and blame taking going on. Sound familiar?

We have all been there at one point or another in our component manufacturing careers. So how do we overcome it? After all, we are in business to make money and we can’t do that if someone is sending us a back charge!

Many years ago, when Gould Design, Inc. (GDI) began doing on-site consultations for component manufacturers, we developed a model that we like to call “Component Designers and the Wheel of Responsibility”. What you are about to read is a company trademark that we worked long and hard to develop. The information that I’m going to be sharing with you in this article series is something that could dynamically impact and change your business model. That is if you possess that essential lubricant I referred to earlier in the form of an open mind.

GDI is a company that believes in “Paying It Forward“. Therefore, GDI is going to offer you something in this article at no cost to you that may shine some light on the dark places of closed-mindedness. If you truly understand the industry, you may know a few of these things already. If you have an open mind, this will also educate you as to what you may be unaware of and why you need to appreciate the “ball bearing” and it’s “lubrication” as it applies to your specific business and its business model.

Are you ready?

So many people in the design manufacturing industry of building components truly do not understand, nor appreciate that the component designer is the heartbeat of the company.


The designer is responsible for so much throughout the company. In fact, there is no other position in a component manufacturing company that is more directly responsible for that particular company’s profit margin.

This includes Sales, Administration and everything in between. There is no other position in a component manufacturing company that has more impact on customer satisfaction. To illustrate, we need to dig a little deeper and break it down.

The responsibility each designer has is broken down into four quadrants:


In each of these quadrants, there are three specific targets that are highlighted as the key “lubrication” for a component manufacturer’s business model. Simply put, the designer has the most responsibility directly related to the component manufacturers:

  • Reputation
  • Profitability
  • Customer satisfaction level
  • Repeat business factor

How can this be true you say? Please check your level of open-mindedness before you read on! To help you there, please consider the following quotes regarding closed-mindedness:

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”

― Isaac Asimov

“To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.”

― Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”

― Benjamin Franklin

“A closed mind stumbles over the blessings of life without recognizing them.”

― Napoleon Hill

“The danger of a closed mind is that it can also leave good things like love, compassion, and reason on its outside.”

― Lennox Lewis

Simply put, the component designer’s relationship to the manufacturer’s reputation, profitability, customer satisfaction and repeat business is undisputable fact. Ask your salesman. Or your bookkeeper. Or your General Manager. Or your ex-customer. Ask them where the “force” and “resistance” came from! Chances are it was as much management’s fault as it was the designer’s!

In Part 2 of this article, we will explore why this is and describe how to “lubricate” your perception. Stay tuned!

Naida Gould – Owner

Gould Design, Inc.