Hospitality presents a demanding design challenge as hotels, motels, time-shares, and similar businesses constantly update their rooms. They use furniture design as a critical brand differentiator, whether introducing comfort into the commercial setting or moving toward the contemporary with glass, chrome, and metal.
Since embracing SolidWorks software, Flexsteel, of Dubuque, Iowa, has increased design speed while simultaneously improving accuracy and quality. “We’re on track to double production in 2008 of designs for chairs, tables, sofas, and other furnishings,” said Don Meurer, Flexsteel’s manager of product sourcing and development. “SolidWorks’ 3D capabilities give us and our customers a tremendous advantage in speed, accuracy, quality, and flexibility. It used to take us three weeks to go from concept to finished design. With SolidWorks, it takes half that time or less.”
“We have to be fast, we have to be creative, and we have to be accurate,” said Jessica Coleson, Flexsteel’s head hospitality designer. “SolidWorks software has helped us tremendously on all counts. Its 3D capabilities make it easy to reuse existing designs and quickly modify them for new customers, or to transform customer concepts into manufacturable designs. We have a distinct advantage over competitors, including the many still using AutoCAD® software and working in 2D.”
SolidWorks’ efficiencies, for example, have helped give Flexsteel additional time to develop a product line of highly innovative prototypes for the HD 2008 Expo in Las Vegas and the HD Boutique show in Miami.
Deeper customer involvement
Flexsteel creates new designs for every customer, some from scratch and others from sketches, shop drawings, and specification charts. Flexsteel has tightened collaboration with these customers through the use of SolidWorks’ eDrawings® email-enhanced collaboration program. Engineers can take clients’ materials and dimensions, design a piece, and send them an eDrawings file with a lightweight 3D digital model. The customer can review, rotate, pan, zoom, and mark up the new design. The customer need only install a simple software plug-in, the free downloadable eDrawings Viewer, not a full CAD application. “Collaborating with SolidWorks eDrawings takes a lot of the guesswork out of a design review, enabling revisions to be precise and saving everyone time and money in prototyping and manufacturing,” Coleson said.
Flexsteel seeks SolidWorks experience in new hires, many of whom come from Mississippi State University, whose Starkville, Miss., campus is located near Flexsteel’s Starkville plant and whose engineering students increasingly use SolidWorks software. Several engineering interns from the University came to Flexsteel with SolidWorks experience, which enabled them to hit the ground running in their positions, according to Meurer.
“Furniture can make or break a hotel brand,” said DS SolidWorks Corp. Director of Marketing Alliances Efrat Ravid. “That’s why Flexsteel is harnessing all of the capabilities of advanced solid modeling tools to design better products and ultimately deliver a better hospitality experience.”
Flexsteel relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller Tridaq, Inc. for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.
Flexsteel Industries, Inc., is headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, and was incorporated in 1929. Flexsteel is a designer, manufacturer, importer and marketer of quality upholstered and wood furniture for residential, recreational vehicle, office, hospitality and healthcare markets. All products are distributed nationally. For more information, visit www.flexsteel.com.
About Tridaq, Inc.
Tridaq, Inc., headquartered in Omaha, NE, provides the Midwest with four full-service facilities, supporting Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, and Western Illinois. Tridaq was founded in 1997 to help companies get their products to market faster by providing innovative 3D mechanical design solutions, professional training, expert technical support, and outstanding customer service. Its mission is to provide trusted engineering technology solutions with bottom-line results. By partnering with its clients and taking the time to listen to their issues, it offers customized solutions that reduce cycle times and increase profits. For more information, visit http://www.tridaq.com.
About Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.
Dassault Syst è mes SolidWorks Corp., a
Dassault Syst è mes S.A. (Nasdaq: DASTY,
Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) brand, develops and markets software for
design, analysis, and product data management. It is the leading
supplier of 3D CAD technology, giving teams intuitive, high-performing
software that helps them design better products. For the latest news,
information, or an online demonstration, visit the company ’ s
Web site (
www.solidworks.com ) or
call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).