A few years ago, a world-famous soft drink introduced a new range of cans and bottles – each one featuring a different name on the packaging. Unsurprisingly, the scheme was popular, and in stores all around the world, you would see people digging through the drinks on the shelf, looking for the one with their name on it.
The reason? People like having something personal. Something that’s just for them.
It’s the same with clothes, shoes, gadgets and even cars. Who wants the standard version when it can be personalized with your favorite color, interior, added extras or even a personalized license plate?
As a furniture manufacturer, your customers also want similar levels of customization. They’re buying something personal – a premium purchase that will take pride of place in their home. They want furniture which is special to them – and that represents their own style, taste and personality. What’s more, they want it tomorrow, if not today!
So, how can you offer more choice to consumers, while maintaining your margins, and keeping your efficiency high? Here are 3 suggestions:
1. Prototyping from creation to completion
Your customers expect a wide range of styles for a range of budgets. They want to be able to express their own personal tastes, and that means being able to customize anything from size to modularity, color, finish, options, materials, even stitching. In order to achieve this, you need your designers to be as creative as possible, while still respecting cost constraints. With 3D prototyping, they can instantly see the cost implications of their designs, integrate production constraints and make adjustments, without the need for costly physical prototypes. This ensures the finished product remains true to the designer’s original intention, which will make for a richer, more varied furniture collection.
2. Enhancing efficiency through data transfer
Customized furniture can cause problems for manufacturers, due to the complexity involved. It can be a real headache, as companies worry about their profit margins. And the variations in design and production could potentially lead to costly errors. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
With automatic transfer of data from 3D to 2D software, you can actually increase your operational efficiencies. Modify the 3D design and the software automatically feeds your changes through to the 2D version. This improves collaboration between departments, giving you more agility and flexibility, while also reducing the risk of errors in the pre-production phase, resulting in an accelerated process, from product development right through to production itself. In addition, create customized models by drawing on a library of standardized components, such as armrests, headrests and recliner mechanisms. No need to reinvent the wheel each time. When it comes to production, a flexible, agile process will enable you to absorb one-off and limited edition runs, without disturbing your bread-and-butter production. All of this means that you can make producing customized furniture a much more affordable, efficient proposition. And that means you can offer your customers more.
3. Software simulation minimizes missteps
Increasingly, it’s not just personalized style, size or functionality that consumers are looking for. As technological skills advance, so too do the ways in which they can be incorporated into furniture. But this can also be a headache for furniture manufacturers. For a start, you need to find a new supplier for the techniques being installed. You also need to understand how the new equipment (sensors, plugs etc.) will react to, and fit in with, your existing structures and materials. By drawing on a library of standardized parts, you are able to make changes quickly and efficiently. That’s why furniture manufacturers are increasingly using software to simulate designs. You can share information with third-party suppliers, in real time, locally or at a distance, adapting internal structures and materials to ensure that smart units fit correctly, first time. This reduces production time so you can bring new, exciting collections to market quickly – protecting your margins and giving consumers more choice.
Lectra can help you in all of these areas. Their solutions can take the cost and complexity out of producing customized furniture. And enable you to produce some truly original, exciting furniture collections that offer the individual touch your customers are looking for. You could even take a cue from ”that” famous soft drinks manufacturer and stitch your customers’ names into the fabric.