In today’s competitive global furniture market the starter pistol is cocked:
the consumer is ready and waiting; the technology has been developed; the data is available. To satisfy the increasingly speedy delivery expectations of the industry’s ultra-connected customer base, furniture companies need to bring their product to market quicker than ever before, and offer more variations and customization within these same reduced timeframes.
Is this a tall order? No, it’s a timely one. Industry 4.0 technologies enable companies to revisit traditionally time- consuming processes at every step to evolve towards a new kind of connected, collaborative and automated process. In fact, recent studies show 29% of Eastern European and 21% of Western European furniture companies cite process optimization tasks—such as streamlining production processes, reducing production errors and waste, and increasing visibility over manufacturing processes—as essential to achieving company goals.
Manufacturing more efficiently is not only faster, it cuts costs and improves end-quality and work environments by streamlining processes and bypassing time- consuming rework, while reducing— and in some cases downright eliminating— production disruptions and downtime. Traditionally a linear and time-intensive product development process, furniture manufacturing is more collaborative and agile with industry 4.0 technology and processes.
To explain how, this e-guide guide follows a minimalist two-seater sofa with a caramel leather back and base, completed with oatmeal linen-upholstered seat cushions, as it makes its way through the manufacturing process of a hypothetical furniture manufacturing company—The Way Forward—from conception to off-loading.
The Way Forward uses data, cloud connectivity and system integration to link and accelerate each step of production. The end-to-end flow of data is an integral and crucial element of digital manufacturing. This digital thread of information—that connects each stage of the process, from design to production— eliminates the silos that often generate inefficiencies in the production process.