Lectra, a world leader in integrated technology solutions dedicated to industries using fabrics, leather, technical textiles and composite materials, brought together more than 90 furniture manufacturers and industry experts at its annual seminar last month.

Held at Lectra’s International Advanced Technology and Conference center in Bordeaux-Cestas, France, the event was devoted to sharing insights on innovations to get ahead of the competition.

The two-day event encouraged manufacturers of upholstered furniture to think about their activities from a different perspective. In the face of growing competition and tighter manufacturing deadlines, participants delved into consumer and design trends, as well as technologies and processes, which would enable them to stand out from the crowd.

“Four major trends are having an extensive impact on the industry,” says sales director Edouard Macquin. “The Millennials' generation and their new ways of consuming, growing digitalisation in companies, the Industry 4.0 revolution, and the transformation of the Chinese market.”

Market research company CSIL unveiled the results of a global survey, carried out with Lectra, which probed the key challenges facing manufacturers of upholstered furniture. The majority of the manufacturers cited shorter delivery times as a fundamental challenge because it means reassessing the entire supply chain. Intensified competition and the urgent need to differentiate from the competition were also cited, together with mastering margins and the rarity of skilled labour.

Customer testimonials from the likes of B&B Italia and Polish manufacturer DFM illustrated advances made in digitising processes for furniture manufacturing.

“Smart factories will revolutionise how furniture is produced, thanks to a better control of costs and quality,” says Céline Choussy Bedouet, chief marketing and communications officer.