In times of pandemic, a new concept, that of 'digital transformation', has made its way in, a concept that had probably already been considered by several companies, but which has now certainly seen its exploitation. In just a few months, companies in the furniture sector, including the entire supply chain, have made a digital leap that would normally have taken several years.
Digitisation in furniture production
Digitalisation has now become part of our daily lives: just think of how much social networks, smartphones, computers and satellite navigation systems have become part of our lives, not to mention smart working, DAD and e-commerce which, with the passage of the coronavirus pandemic, were used by many for the first time and have now become the norm.
Digitisation, we said, is also having a profound impact on the furniture industry and the entire supply chain. In an interesting interview, Andrea Silvestri, Manufacturing & Solutions Specialists Team Leader at Lectra, a company that designs and develops software and cutting systems to facilitate the digitization of companies in the fashion, automotive, and furniture industries, explains how digitization can be applied to a company in this sector.
By automating production lines and communication between design and production, Silvestri says, we gain access to data that wasn't tracked before, but is extremely important because it highlights positive processes and those that can be optimized. The ultimate goal is integration not only between departments and functions, but also with customers and suppliers.
What tools and collaboration strategies to adopt
Andrea Silvestri indicates which tools and collaboration strategies manufacturers will have to adopt to adapt to the change: integrating in particular order management and production, automating and sharing the great added value of data. It will be necessary to take advantage of technological innovations, but also to acquire the tools to bridge the skills gap between operators and to better manage talent pools. By automating processes for greater control at every stage of the production workflow, it will be possible to move from a labour-intensive to a capital-intensive model.
The benefits of digitisation for small series furniture production
Digitisation can be an opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises, especially for small series furniture production. The increase of small series production, both for fabric and leather upholstery manufacturers, is due to the growing demand for customised products. In fact, customisation has become and will increasingly be a key factor to be competitive in the furniture market, especially in the upholstered furniture industry. To be competitive, furniture manufacturers are looking for new ways to maximise process efficiency, minimise waste and increase productivity. Forward-thinking companies are investing in digital technologies and automation solutions to speed up assembly times, reduce production costs and produce customised and small batch furniture in a wide range of colours, designs and patterned fabrics.
Achieving and consolidating success in furniture production means adapting to market changes and investing early in new technologies, and digitisation will certainly play an increasing role.