5 ways to stand out from the pack
In today's competitive marketplace, consumers are running the show. They demand visible quality and shorter delivery times, but are not willing to pay high prices for something they are likely to replace in 5 to 7 years. In order to expand their market share, furniture manufacturers must stand out from the competition with habits that start with quality, as well as faster and better service. This means that constant production process optimization is simply a must for achieving cost-effectiveness and profitability.
1. Think Quality
Furniture manufacturing can be complex – from design through pre-production, costing and production itself, data constantly moves back and forth, and with each manipulation, errors have the opportunity to creep in. Fortunately, technology can make a difference in ensuring process error-proofing and consistent finished product quality. This can mean the difference between a delighted consumer whose expectations are exceeded and one who demands that the furniture be returned. It’s simple -- better quality means repeat customers. Not only that, truly delighted customers become brand advocates likely to use social media to take “word of mouth” to a whole new level. When customers love a product, they are more than happy to convince others to love it too. That free advertising can help grow your business. With the customer experience being that important, why risk it by not doing everything you can to ensure superior quality?
2. Avoid production missteps
One of the biggest barriers to producing quality furniture is customization. Today’s consumers often see furniture as a way to express their own unique style. They want more visible comfort, multifunctional, technology-driven furniture and a wider range of choice. These new trends in furniture consumption mean that you have to maintain or even improve quality levels, while taking as many models, variants and options to market as quickly as possible. Quality is a key differentiator and, as such, it simply has to be taken into account throughout the entire production process, from design to a finished upholstery product. While quality and customization are appreciated by the end-consumer, achieving them can wreak havoc on an unoptimized production process and increase the likelihood of costly errors caused by unclear communication and corrupted manufacturing data.
3. Build It Well
Quality can make or break your brand. Build it well and customers will come. Build it poorly, and the result could range from a single dissatisfied customer to a firestorm of complaints. Protect your brand by building quality into every step of your business operations. Zero error rate is the ultimate goal.
The number of possible combinations of model, material, variant and functionality is almost infinite, and the mass of manufacturing data to be managed, shared and updated has increased exponentially, and with it, the risk of error. With that in mind, it becomes important to automate data generation and transfer wherever possible. There are three key elements which can help integrate quality and really make a difference in your operations:
- Standardizing procedures
- Error-proofing processes
- Ensuring repeatability
4. Error-proof through standardization
By building and abiding by standard processes and procedures, you ensure that furniture is created in the same way, every time. That’s the basis of running a lean operation with quality built into every step of the process. With an optimized, flexible and efficient process, you can avoid missteps and save the time you waste correcting them, so that you can reduce product development time and be first to market. When combined with automation, standardization helps ensure consistent quality, and can be applied to products, procedures and even manufacturing processes.
Doing things the same way every time is one of the most important safeguards to sustained quality and effective cost management. As a manufacturer, you have to deliver the right product quality and sell it at a price which enables you to achieve your margin. To do this, you have to find the optimum balance between design, production constraints and cost targets. Reducing costs without compromising on quality is a key operational requirement. So, how can your production processes and tools be more efficient to remove errors, ensure repeatability and increase productivity? Here are four ways of maintaining quality and reducing costs:
- Look at your product:
Think finished quality from the design stage onwards – mistakes caught early cost less to correct, and helps prevent others before they happen.
Look at your process: Ditch a linear, sequential and time-consuming product development process in favor of one which is flexible, optimized, concurrent and collaborative.
- Look at your production tools:
Think availability – ensure you constantly achieve optimum performance and cost efficiency by using up-to-date software and the latest hardware, with intelligent and well-maintained fabric spreading, leather and fabric cutting systems.
- Look at your teams:
Have they been correctly trained? Training is an investment which quickly pays dividends. A well-trained team produces quality results more efficiently, and in less time.
To learn more about making quality a habit by integrating it into your operations with the help of a trusted partner, download our “Make it the Right Quality” white paper.