The design management


The purpose of this report is to discuss and look into the design management of the design company, Philips. Philips Electronics Company was first set up in 1951in Singapore. Based in Singapore, the regional headquarters and competence centers of Philips' three sectors which are Lighting, Consumer Lifestyle and Healthcare provide marketing and technical support to Asia Pacific.

The leadership of Philips includes three main groups of Board of Management, Group Management Committee, and Supervisory Board. These groups of people share the responsibility, business issue and practices, and supervise the policies of the executive management (the Board of Management) and the general course of affairs of the Company and its affiliates and advise the executive management thereon.

The framework that used to compare with the company, Philips is "How top management steers fast cycle teams to success" which is written by V.K. Narayanan, Frank L. Douglas, Brock Guernsey and John Charnes. The other frameworks that used in this report are.....(still looking into others: pestle...) Comparisons and findings are done in this report to see how Philips' management is fits into or different from the thought of the frameworks.

In this report, it will also discuss on how the management structure help Philips to earn a profit and stand a market share from other competitors.



Royal Philips Electronics was founded in 1891 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. In 1951, Philips Electronics Singapore was set up. With a current workforce of 3,000, Philips is one of the pioneer investors in Singapore and has been in the country for 58 years.

Philips Electronics Singapore comprises four main activity groups:

  • Philips Innovation Campus
  • Regional Headquarters and Competence Centers
  • Sales Organization
  • Industrial Operations and Support

The regional headquarters and competence centers of Philips' three sectors which are Lighting, Consumer Lifestyle and Healthcare provide marketing and technical support to Asia Pacific.

History of company

Philips begun manufacturing carbon-filament lamps and by the turn of the century, had become one of the largest producers in Europe. By 1910, with 2,000 employees, Philips was the largest single employer in The Netherlands.

Stimulated by the industrial revolution in Europe, Philips' first research laboratory was established in 1914 and the company started introducing its first innovations in the x-ray and radio technology. Over the years, the list of inventions has only been growing to include many breakthroughs that have continued to enrich people's everyday lives.

Objectives & Mission Statement

Philips' objective is to fulfil people's needs and desires and enable Design influence and affect the world in very significant ways - politically, socially and culturally. They do this by focusing on value creation, for people and businesses; this is the result of the High Design Process, as created by current CEO and Chief Creative Director, Stefano Marzano. Philips aims to improve the quality of people's lives through timely introduction of meaningful innovations.

"Business and Design need to find a common objective that lies beyond the present, beyond the temporary - a goal that goes beyond a single transaction or a specific product. Together they need to take responsibility for leading us away from mediocrity and to connect not just at a commercial level, but at a higher level, as well." - Stefano Marzano, CEO, Philips Design

Vision, value & services

Philips believe that they will lead in bringing sense and simplicity to people in a world where complexity increasingly touches every aspect of their daily lives by delighting customers, delivering great results, develop people and depend on each other.

Through the Vision 2010 strategy, Philips aim to fuel growth by making Philips the leading brand in Health and Well-being. Vision 2010 further positions Philips as a market-driven, people-centric company with a strategy and a structure that fully reflect the needs of its customer base, while also increasing shareholder value. This is implemented through sharpened strategies in the three core sectors: Healthcare, Lighting and Consumer Lifestyle.

"With Vision 2010, we are putting people right at the center of things, with Health and Well-being as our overarching theme. We are thereby putting into practice our mission: improving the quality of life through the introduction of meaningful innovations."

Gerard Kleisterlee, President and CEO of Royal Philips Electronics

Products and design

At Philips Design, Philips know they can only fulfill people's needs and desires when they truly understand what the target audiences are. So Philips always begin with getting to know as much as they possibly can about their target audiences' priorities, values, inspirations, likes and dislikes. With this insight, their international, multi-disciplinary and diverse design team is able to deliver truly relevant solutions that anticipate people's needs, exceed their expectations and enhance Philips customers' business success.

The design team

The Philips Innovation Campus brings together more than 800 development engineers and industrial designers, with almost all of the company's development and design activities conducted under one roof at its Toa Payoh complex. It also provides a conducive environment for the cross-fertilization of ideas and sharing of technology, development capabilities, expertise, infrastructure and equipment. The units within the Philips Innovation Campus are its Audio Video Multimedia Applications, Television Center of Competence, Category Peripherals and Control, Innohub and Design.

Industrial Specialisation

Competitive Advantage & Strategy in Local Context

Literature Review

Framework- "How top management steers fast cycle teams to success"

by V.K. Narayanan, Frank L. Douglas, Brock Guernsey and John Charnes.

The role played by the senior management is a crucial success factor for fast cycle teams. Fast cycle teams are an appropriate response to recent acceleration of industry clock speeds and typically introduced to accelerate product development.. Organizational leaders must work to instil a culture that fosters the capability to identify the most important projects and bring them to closure quickly. The teams may be multifunctional, often multinational in scope. They have more power than regular teams and they give companies a chance to be the first to cross the goal line.

``The behavior of top management is a primary determinant of the success of the teams.''

Senior managers perform two major functions that are critical to the successful execution of fast cycle teams:

  1. Creating the strategic imperative;
  2. Managing the organizational context.

Since fast cycle teams imply a different strategic stance, the fast cycle designation should be guided by strategic priorities, both scientific and commercial. It is important to make project-related decisions.

Senior management performs four major roles in setting the strategic context:

  1. Teaching while learning.
  2. Enforcing strategic consistency.
  3. Oversight of the process.
  4. Focus on key questions.

Consultants may be necessary for facilitation as well as for providing expert help, when needed; but involving the functional managers in crafting the strategic priorities is a critical activity in this phase.

The senior management undertook three major activities to shift power from functions to projects.

  1. they created a sponsor for the fast cycle projects, a member of the senior management team, which gave the teams direct access to senior management.
  2. the project teams were given budget authority, which provided them financial muscle in their negotiations with functional heads.
  3. the senior management clearly redefined the role of functional organization as one of nurturing the functional capability, thus reducing the potential conflict in the matrix.

Senior management has five important roles to play during the implementation of the fast cycle team concept:

  1. choice of project leaders;
  2. team empowerment;
  3. balancing empowerment and monitoring;
  4. providing protection to the teams; and
  5. managing the expectations of the rest of the organization.

Senior management conducted all the steps in the selection process: determination of the criteria for selection; nomination of individuals from across the organization, irrespective of their functional affiliation; evaluating the individuals against the criteria; and negotiations with potential candidates.


Company Management and Belief- philips

Philips embraces design in order to produce innovative products by high design methodology which researches on the interaction of end users and the product. They develop personas to help translate creative values. This also ensures that all solutions are people-centric and maximise the value for the end-user. Philips thinks that interaction design is increasing important in the market.

In order to bridge the gap between current product approaches and the means for delivering superior product benefit and performance, Philips has visual trend analyst who is responsible in scanning trends upfront and help Design Managers to set directions as well as inspiring designers on the projects. The analyst's role also helps to complete a visual story in communicating our design rationale to our clients.

There is also a colour, material, and finishing specialist who helps to find and technology to assist innovations in the projects. The specialist may also be involved upfront with engineers to develop new technologies not found in the current market.

Together they work closely with the design team to deliver products that are superior in all aspect where possible.

The company thinks that there are always compromises in balancing the methods used for insight generation against the task requirements of the project. However, if the insights generated through personas are correct, the ideas generated through these insights should be relevant and accurate. During brainstorm session, all ideas created should fulfil one or more insights; otherwise they will be filtered out.

To ensure that resources of a firm are utilized in a timely and appropriate way, for each project, Philips has a project manager who alliance with engineering department's project managers as well as product manager to align on delivery and timing. This also helps to deal with (expected and unexpected) changes along the project and making all consequences known to all parties.

Nonetheless, they try to make it transparent as possible and maintain constant communication with their partnering teams to make processes more efficient and effective.

Structures inside a company

Philips describe its company structure in a simple sense that there is a Client Relationship Manager who looks after their business partners (Internal Philips business Units) by getting the design briefs, portfolio and account in order. A Design Manager, who has a team of designers of various experiences reporting to him/her, drives the directions. There is a Project manager who is responsible for the budget, resources and deliverables are on time. These three managers work closely together to make sure deliverables are of high quality, on time and the client is happy with the result.

Amongst the designers, there are different seniorities. But more importantly, all the designers have different skills and strengthen. Some designers are better at conceptualising, other are better at realisation and some are good at both. Hence, depending on the project, Project Managers need to make sure projects are assigned to appropriate members.

As mentioned above, there are also visual trend analysts; and colour, material and finishing specialist.

New project requests goes through project manages. For their fast cycle team, they have operational manager and project manager who identify the resources needed and find support for last minute projects coming in. If local in-house resources are insufficient, they will source for global in-house resources (other Philips Design branches globally). Otherwise, project managers may off-load current work from designers and outsource to our trusted suppliers. It all depends on the degree of expertise, complexity and hours needed per project basis.

The way of collaboration is the same as previous where there is still a Client Relationship Manager, Design Manager, Project Managers, Project Leader (designer) and other supporting designers.

In some cases, fast cycle team may need to visit factories and supplier to execute designs working alongside with engineers on the spot.

Philips's senior management is not the one to choose the right project for fast cycling. Their business partners (marketing managers) are the one who choose projects they need to deliver. Our Client Relationship Managers and Design Manager can help to evaluate the needs of the clients.

Unlike V.K. Narayanan's mind set of power shift, Philips's reporting line is usually very clear. Design Managers has the final say on the design. Design reasoning should be always objective to avoid criticism.

The project leaders of Philips are responsible for all deliverables of the project from the beginning till the end. Tasks may be delegated; however, project leaders along with project manager and design manager must ensure timely deliverables, maintaining quality and use of effective resources.

Summary & Conclusion

Adding value to Singapore's knowledge-based economy

Philips' enhanced development focus, via the PIC, complements Singapore's efforts to become a knowledge-based economy and further strengthens the mutually beneficial, long-term partnership between the nation and the organization.

It is also Singapore's economic goal to develop into a vibrant and robust global hub of knowledge-driven industries by establishing world-class capabilities, top talents and a strong knowledge base. These assets, together with the government's active support of R&D and comprehensive technology infrastructure, have enabled the PIC to thrive.

The Campus, in turn, enhances the skills of Singapore's talent pool through knowledge transfer, international exposure and collaborations with local research institutions and universities. Development work at the Campus also gives birth to new design ideas and innovations that generate economic spin-offs and add value to Singapore's knowledge-based economy.

Our Ways of Working:

  1. We are a people-centric company that organizes around customers and markets
  2. We invest in a strong brand and consistently deliver on our brand promise of "sense and simplicity", in our actions, products and services
  3. We deliver innovation by investing in world class strengths in end-user insights, technology, design and superior supplier networks
  4. We develop our people's leadership, talent and engagement and align ourselves with high performance benchmarks
  5. We invest in high growth and profitable businesses and emerging geographies to achieve market leadership positions
  6. We are committed to sustainability and focus on making the difference in efficient energy use
  7. We drive operational excellence and quality to best in class levels, allowing us the above mentioned strategic investments in our businesses

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