In this season of hope and good cheer, The Post, inadvertently perhaps, has presented a dark and foreboding vision of the ghost of Christmas Future in Elisabeth Bumiller's brilliant peek behind the creation of Sony's Handycam {"The Handycam Handymen," Style, Dec. 19}. By telling us how Sony managed the creation, development and marketing of its latest consumer mega hit, Elisabeth Bumiller hints of a time when Americans may not be able to produce or, indeed, afford such items unless the country fundamentally changes the way it conducts its business.

"The Handycam Handymen" is more than a compelling story of creative genius, dogged determination, long hours and good luck. Rather, it is a textbook example of how Japanese corporations manage a process focused on product quality, customer service and long-range research and market development. Success like Sony's can be made in America, but only if management and labor decide that it is in their mutual interests to work together for common goals, not compete for finite resources.

Elisabeth Bumiller highlights at least three techniques used by Sony and other Japanese corporations that are repeatedly responsible for their success in the global marketplace. First, they mobilize the entire company to achieve a clearly defined objective, spend money without demanding immediate return on investment and marshal the uncynical devotion of the work force to the success of the organization. Second, top management reaches a consensus on specific goals, and this is communicated and followed throughout the organization. Third, all corporate suppliers are included in the process to ensure product quality and "to bring them in on the dream."

The Japanese do not have a corner on the quality market. Companies like the recent Baldrige Award winners and others have shown that a commitment to quality, customer service and cooperative labor-management relations can be a successful formula for productivity and competitiveness.

The problem for us is that not enough corporations are doing the hard work necessary to create and maintain high-commitment work organizations. Elisabeth Bumiller implies that more and more of the gifts of Christmas Future will be produced abroad unless we change. We can, and that might be the most hopeful message of this holiday season.

GORDON BERG Washington

The Post is to be commended for the excellent article "The Handycam Handymen." It contained an important lesson on the value of progressive corporate thinking and the use of industrial design as a corporate strategy.

While The Post has covered some U.S design success stories in the past, it is unfortunate that the rigor with which these have been reported pales by comparison to the space and detail afforded our foreign competitors. There is a lot going on in U.S. industrial design and a lot for Americans to be proud of.

For each of the past 11 years the Industrial Designers Society of America, an organization of U.S. practitioners of industrial design, has provided The Post with material related to its annual Industrial Design Excellence Awards program. In 1990 we released information about 76 winners. Each was a U.S. product-design success story of its own.

The members of IDSA hope that in the future The Post will consider providing the same kind of coverage of industrial design at home as it does for industrial design abroad.

ROBERT T. SCHWARTZ Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Industrial Designers Society of America Great Falls