Five reasons why cutting room digitalization is beneficial for small series furniture production

Learn why furniture manufacturers are overcoming the challenges of small series and mass-customization by digitalizing their cutting rooms.


Five reasons why digitalization is beneficial for small series furniture production

The rise in small series production, for both fabric and leather furniture producers, is driven by increasing demand for more complex and customized products that reflect the personalized style and values of the new consumer.

Greatly influenced by the impact of COVID-19, consumer behavior is trending upwards in a more socially conscious direction. They want to make the world and their home a better place. At the same time, they want all of the conveniences of online shopping such as price transparency; the freedom to purchase whenever and wherever; and most importantly the gratification of near-instant delivery times.

To remain competitive, furniture manufacturers are seeking new ways to maximize process efficiency, minimize waste, and increase productivity. Forward-thinking companies are investing in digital technology and automation solutions to accelerate assembly time; lower production costs; and produce small series and customized furniture with a wider array of colors, designs and patterned fabrics.

Peter Bjerregaard, President of Ekornes, commenting on why the company is expanding production capacity, says, “Reducing lead times to our dealer partners and consumers is key. We know consumers’ threshold for custom furniture wait time is no more than four weeks.”

In digitalizing their production workflow, furniture manufacturers are able to adapt to the new demands of today’s post-COVID-19 consumer and overcome the challenges of mass customization by striking the right balance in optimizing their production, operation and cost management initiatives. 

Discover how digitalization enables furniture manufacturers to adapt to small series production.

1. Boost production efficiency

Digitalization empowers executives to boost the efficiency of their cutting machines, fabrics and hides, and the performance of their employees. Sensors, optics and automation capabilities make the resource optimization process easier: facilitate predictive maintenance; enable real-time monitoring of material usage, and re-directs employees to more valuable tasks.

2. Reduce operational costs

With digitalization, executives are able to plan production based on incoming orders and respond to unpredictable, urgent and last minute order requests without issue. The benefit of using digital technology to manage demand fluctuation is a reduction in staffing, power consumption, transportation and storage costs and a marked increase in production capacity flexibility.

3. Accelerate delivery time

Digitalization accelerates product delivery by optimizing the cutting process to cut multiple patterns, sizes, and patterned fabrics with precision. The latest advances in automation and digital technology is enabling furniture executives to complete the cutting process faster to boost production capacity, fulfil last minute orders, and prevent delays in delivery time without increasing labor costs.

4. Maintain quality performance

Quality during production and distribution is dependent on end-to-end transparency throughout the supply chain and real-time communication between cutting equipment, software, employees and third party partners. The digital cutting room organizes operational processes to work better together to achieve product quality and consistency throughout the entire production process. The reward is retaining existing contracts, winning new contracts and growing market share.

5. Streamline the production process

Quickly adjust to changing requirements by automating the nesting and marking making process to produce smaller lot sizes with less equipment downtime. Digitizing the production process enables furniture manufacturers to shorten production cycles by gaining the operational flexibility to handle just-in-time production fluctuations, unplanned orders and short- and mass-production runs with ease.

Achieving and maintaining success as a furniture manufacturer means embracing market changes and investing early in new technology to stay ahead of the curve. For furniture manufacturers, mass-customization enables the reduction of inventory and overhead costs while gaining accurate predictions for demand.  The companies that move first to simplify and connect their design-to-production processes to communicate and collaborate efficiently will be successful in facing the challenges of small series production and any future transformations in the industry.



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