The Belgian design house conquers today’s business challenges with IBM i in partnership with CD-Invest.
AI and data-driven decision making used to be a luxury reserved for the likes of the Fortune 500. And with the perceived barrier to entry of infrastructure and experts, few people would put forward luxury furniture manufacturing as the place to look to for pioneering examples of digital transformation.
And yet by blending traditional craftsmanship with an appetite for data and analytics, Belgian design house JORI is exactly that. Its digital toolkit, developed by CD-Invest, is as innovative and sophisticated as its ever growing range of handmade armchairs and sofas. That arsenal has helped JORI stand apart from its competitors in a year that brought unprecedented business challenges.
A Deep History With IBM i
Few manufacturers can genuinely boast that their output is timeless, but JORI’s emphasis on comfort, practicality and the very best materials means that much of its classic collection is instantly recognizable. Its reclining chair has been in production for more than 50 years, and its Shiva sofa just celebrated three decades in production.
From the outside, then, JORI’s business may appear simple. But its team of world-class designers are constantly creating new styles for every room in the home, and the company prides itself on being able to customize an order to meet a customer’s exact preferences. The result is a range of more than 100 base designs, with 151 different types and colors of leather finish and a further 160 fabrics options.
Many of the models are configurable to taste, whether it’s seating height, the type of armrest or position of the back and headrest. That means that thousands of combinations are available to choose from, and JORI produces enough furniture to seat 20,000 people a year. Throw in a dealer network of 230 stores across Europe to service and, JORI has a complex supply chain and stock levels to stay on top of.
Helping Dealers Succeed
JORI has relied on IBM for managing its resources for nearly four decades and works closely with IBM Business Partner CD Invest to get the most out of its IBM i environment. Four years ago, it introduced a 3-D configurator tool designed to simplify the ordering process and provide dealers with a visual tool for managing the many potential product combinations.
“A configurator has always existed,” says Koen Decorte, CEO of CD Invest and an IBM Champion for Power Systems™, “but at any given moment it was still very complex.”
Previously, dealers would need to complete a form with the specific requirements for each piece of furniture sold. But lots of options can lead to human error, either in terms of products that are incorrect or impossible to manufacturer. Because the new configurator uses simplified versions of the same 3-D models the firm’s design team uses, the ordering process is now largely automated. “The main goal was to help dealers,” Decorte says, “but the tool has also proved popular with customers. Often they will come into a store with a printout they have created online.”