How outsourcing CAD drafting improves efficiency for retail furniture manufacturers
Published on April 22, 2022
The consumer-driven retail furniture manufacturing market grapples with the need to accommodate fluctuating volumes, manage scarce labor strength and cope with rising infrastructural costs. Offshoring your CAD requirements ensures flexibility, scalability and optimized costs while promising quality designs.
Challenges of mass-customization are forcing retail furniture manufacturers to rethink their design-to-manufacturing workflows to stay more flexible and optimized. And many are outsourcing CAD drafting work to scale their design team capabilities to meet market demands.
As per Deloitte, 1 in 5 consumers are willing to pay up to a 20% price premium on personalized products. And to keep up with the consumer trends, most retail furniture manufacturers are now focusing on greater variety, personalization, and lower costs.
With custom production reducing the economies of scale found in mass production of standardized items, retail furniture manufacturers are changing track to maintain profitability and growth. And outsourcing of CAD design drafting and drawings, to meet business agility and costs, has become integral to them.
Challenges of furniture manufacturers in the current scenario
Current situation of the retail furniture industry throws up challenges for manufacturers that include:
Fluctuations in market demand: Constant peaks and valleys in the demand and lack of skilled labor cripples production.
Demand for cost-effective furniture products: With 1/3rd of the US households are on lease and furniture is rented along with it. This, they need products that are cost-effective and where the damages can be recovered easily.
A specific need for every buyer: Retail furniture product consumers come from different age groups and their needs are specific. Planning a custom manufacturing for every order is challenging for manufacturer.
Visualization options in furniture designs: Seeing a physical prototype or replica of an actual product is important for customer before placing the orders. Quickly responding with a product model is difficult.
Increased production costs: Greater customization reduces economies of scale and increases production costs per unit. 49% retail furniture manufacturers face this challenge as per a recent study by Lectra.
All these challenges translate to the need for quality and cost-optimized furniture developed with flexibility and scalability of resources. Outsourcing of CAD drafting to offshore teams has proven to be a winning formula in facing these challenges.
Contact the outsourcing experts to perfect your CAD drawings for bespoke furniture manufacturing
How offshore CAD drafting can address retail furniture manufacturing challenges
Flexible working methods of offshore CAD drafting teams
Turnaround times for customized furniture are tighter than mass production. Responding to customer inquiries with sales information, getting design approvals, and delivering the product on time requires flexible infrastructure.
This is where offshore CAD drafting teams come into the picture. They can create drawings, customize the models, generate supporting documents, and manage revisions. Their services make time for your in-house team to create new designs, innovation and research, focus on sales, and enhance client communication. Offshore teams comfortably manage revisions as they are structured to accommodate any number of iterations to meet quality benchmarks.
TrueCADD teams, while working with a retail furniture manufacturer delivered detailed drawings and 3D models within 72 hours. Project engineers gained in-depth understanding of design intent from conceptual sketches and created drawings as per regional standards.
The project team was split to work in multiple shifts including night times. This helped them leverage the time zone difference between the client’s location in the Netherlands and India. At the end of the project, the furniture manufacturer realized 50% reduced cost and time because of offshore partnership.
Scalability and easy ramp-up for on-time delivery
Furniture manufacturers often run their operations based on the contracts they receive. So their workloads fluctuate often, but the team size stays the same. It either leads to delays in delivery or the manufacturing company has to let go lucrative projects.
Outsourcing CAD drafting work in part or full helps to address scalability. By collaborating with an CAD outsourcing team, furniture manufacturers can hire CAD drafting resources when needed. As the workload decreases, the extra resources can be put on the bench until new work arrives.
With easy scalability of team size furniture, companies can:
Save extra costs in the form of salary paid to benched resources
Grab any project without worrying about resource availability
Avoid mass hiring and firing
Cut down on extra administrative expenses or investments for staff and infrastructure
Reduce the need for hiring specialists and recruitment hassles
Accelerate manufacturing of complex furniture and fixtures
Controlling the expenditure on furniture CAD drafting
Furniture manufacturing firms spend heavily on acquiring technology, skilled resources, and infrastructure. For instance, manufacturers acquire dedicated CAD platforms for various projects. The firm would purchase licenses for 2020 Design for kitchen cabinet projects and SWOOD for another woodworking project. Similarly, it would hire engineers proficient in using these platforms for faster TAT. But when the projects are over, the licenses are of no use until another similar project comes up.
Alternatively, by collaborating with an offshore CAD drafting company, furniture manufacturers get access to:
High-end computers with the latest OS to work with rendered furniture models
Multiple licenses for various CAD programs specific for wood and metal
Provisions for design automation for specific furniture product-mix
Highly qualified engineers for seamless design development
These facilities offered by the CAD outsourcing firm save the manufacturing company from additional expenses. Secondly, outsourcing firms charge fees per project. Hence, the project costs are also fixed. Additionally, when offshoring a major part of design work, costs inevitably come down. This helps control the overall cost of furniture per product.
TrueCADD’s SolidWorks experts transformed hand sketches into final manufacturing drawings for a retail furniture store in the UK.
The team followed a knock-down design approach which saved transportation costs by 45%. The outsourcing model further reduced the design costs by 60%.
Teams with different specializations for quality furniture drawings
We can categorize the entire furniture market into different verticals as per usage and needs. For example, residential furniture is further segmented into living room furniture, kitchen furniture and cabinets, patio, and garden furniture and so and so forth. Again, in garden furniture, the ones used in public parks and in-home gardens, or patios, are different.
All the products follow specific standards, which again change from region to region. In the UK, the manufacturers follow BIFMA while in the USA they have ANSI or AWI for wooden furniture drawings. A designer needs to know these specifications for every industry.
A CAD outsourcing firm, like TrueCADD, has teams dedicated to your project. These teams understand the exact needs of the industry, users, and operational conditions to design the products accurately.
Some resource advantages offshore CAD drafting firms offer, include:
Specific teams with expertise in SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Inventor, etc.
The choice to build a needs-based team for your projects
Sheet metal design experts, wooden furniture experts, etc. to take care of detailed furniture shop drawings for every project
Senior engineers who check the quality of every manufacturing drawing, BOMs, other documents like DXFs, etc.
Long-standing industry experience to find errors during early stages
Keep up with upcoming industry trends to stay ahead in competitive market
Extended design teams who collaborate closely with your design engineers and shop engineers
You get access to domain experts, CAD specialists and other specialized resources to increase overall quality and reduce costs.
Stay lean by making the most out of CAD outsourcing partnership
With a customer-driven market base retail furniture manufacturers need to cut expenses, ensure quality deliverables and adhere to timelines. Outsourcing of furniture CAD drafting essentially takes care of these aspects because of their teams’ flexibility, scalability, and experience.
Outsourcing CAD drafting companies also quickly develop automation of processes, work inflow, and work assignments. It enhances robust and clear communication between the client and the outsourcing company. By maintaining a two-way communication process across the project lifecycle, outsourcing is set to help furniture manufacturers stay profitable.
Outsourcing your CAD drafting enhances efficiencies across project lifecycle
About Author:Nimesh Soni is a furniture design manager at TrueCADD – a full-range of industrial furniture design support company. Having successfully delivered a range of diversified bespoke furniture design drafting projects, Nimesh commands extensive domain expertise in commercial, industrial and residential verticals. His proficiency in SAP/PLM provides insights to enhance CAD design data management and increase project efficiencies.