Back to the future for furniture manufacturing
As the demand for personalized furniture increases, so too does the complexity of manufacturing. This increasing demand for customization is straining the efficiency and profitability of current manufacturing models. However, companies that are unable to offer the increasingly high levels of customization that consumers demand risk losing revenue and customer loyalty.
The benefits of an Industry 4.0 approach for custom furniture manufacturing will extend to multiple areas. McKinsey & Company estimates that using Industry 4.0 levers will allow manufacturers to:
- Reduce time to market by 20 – 50%
- Reduce maintenance costs by 10 – 40%
- Increase productivity by 3 – 5%
- And reduce total machine downtime by 30 – 50%
In the Industry 4.0 era, dynamic, easily reconfigurable production lines will replace today’s static, one-way processes. This will be a boon for upholstered furniture manufacturers producing personalized furniture, providing them with the means to efficiently and profitably manufacture smaller batch sizes—even as small as batch-size 1— at a price and lead time comparable to mass-produced furnishings.
A networked, data-rich production system also offers the potential to understand in minute detail the entire production process and what changes are necessary to unlock production efficiencies and savings. The potential gains from advanced analytics range from cost savings due to predictive maintenance operations to smaller work-in-progress inventory through to a more flexible and better-informed business strategy. According to McKinsey Digital, a shift to a big data/advanced analytics approach to manufacturing can lead to a 25% increase in productivity and a 45% reduction in downtime.