Friday, 1 May 2015

Autodesk PLM 360 helping QFC to work smart and produce more

Mike: Morning guys, great to meet you again I'm excited to see how you guys shift 6000 sofas a week ! So tell me about QFC, what are the roots of the company, and what is your secret to success?

QFC: Hi Mike, we were founded in 1993 and have reinvented ourselves several times since then to deal with changing market conditions, most notably 10 years ago when we became the first upholstery manufacturer to offer 7 day lead times. This enabled us to continue to grow our business at a time when the UK upholstery industry was shrinking in the face of fierce competition from China and Eastern Europe. A focus on business process excellence has helped us to establish a reputation for really excellent service and great product quality and this ensured that we continued to grow through what has been the deepest recession in living memory. Of course no business stands still and right now our energy is being directed to ensuring that we focus even more on producing a relentless stream of great new products to keep our customers excited and this is where PLM360 comes in. Our intention is that we will be able to get our ideas to market more quickly, more accurately and more cheaply than ever before and the signs from early prototyping and testing are looking promising.

Mike: So that’s how it done, sounds easy ! Can you tell me about how your products are designed and how you manufacture the sofas and chairs?

QFC: Product design is all done by our awesome in house design team, they work closely with our customers, our design philosophy is all about being product leaders, using great fabrics on great shapes. We manufacture and assemble all of our sofas in-house. Below are the basic steps we follow, I'll focus on the manufacturing process after the NPD has been completed !

Step 1  - Design team creating ideas

Step 2 - Fabrics selected

Step 3 - Product modelled in DC3D

Step 4 - Fabric cut by CAD/CAM and then sewn by skilled seamstresses

Step 5 - Timber kit cut by automated machines as well as bandsaws / crosscuts.

Step 6 - The frames are then assembled by hand in cells

Step 7 - Product upholstered using all materials supplied

Step 8 - Packaged ready for dispatch

Mike: wow..I love the all hands approach, it's amazing to see how quickly your products are manufactured. So how did you find out about Autodesk and Autodesk PLM 360 ?

QFC: We spent a lot of time researching for the right solution for our needs. We have a course of process excellence in QFC, in this journey we recognised that we needed a better solution for NPD activities within the business. We looked at several PLM solutions but none quite fit the bill for our requirements like Autodesk did.

David Bramwell and Paul Middleton smiling about the prospect of the paperless NPD process !

Mike: This is what we are seeing, a big shift in customers focusing outside the CAD department and starting in other areas like NPD. Can you tell me little about how you plan implemented Autodesk PLM 360? 

QFC: We are starting with out NPI process as we really needed a stage gate process in place to track and manage all of our new sofa designs. We will be also managing the BOM and change process in PLM 360 followed by the quality management and all of this will be integrated into our ERP system.
Mike: Excellent, so how’s it going, how quickly are you getting up to speed with Autodesk PLM 360 ?

QFC: The project has progressed really well, we set out a project plan from the start and the ease of use and simplification of the software has enabled us to accelerate and exceed all of our project milestones. We have begun and focused more on building the process within PLM to match our processes within the business, whilst configuring the software we are able to use the features and tools in PLM to find ways of streamlining or automating many functions that are very manual and time consuming today.

The core team building our processes into Autodesk PLM 360

Mike: Excellent this is what I love to hear, what’s your overall impression of Autodesk PLM 360? 

QFC: The software has been a breeze to use, right from our implementation training we were able to get to building right away. We have spent the last 12 weeks working a couple of days a week and even after the first 5 days we are already at the point of going live with certain workspaces and workflows.

Mike: Thanks, really looking forward to working with you over the next few months and a special thanks to the people below and their extended teams for the vision and skills to make this happen at QFC

David Bramwell – Managing Director

Paul Middleton – Operations Director
.James Truswell – Development Manager