A state-of-the-art company
Research, innovation and quality are the founding values of B & B Italia. When Piero Ambrogio Busnelli founded the company in 1966, he intended to go beyond the traditional methods of production of upholstered furniture. He had in mind a company that could combine a technology-oriented industrial approach with attention to design and experimentation. Currently, B & B Italia distributes its products in 80 countries, through seven retail stores, 45 monobrand shops and a network of 800 specialized outlets. Its dedication to the use of technology, serving the creativity of design and product quality, is the driving force behind the company’s 50 years of success and its ability to create exclusive products – both for the industry residential for both contract -, anticipating trends and interpreting contemporary culture.
A better way
The push to innovation also involves the company’s production processes. The desire of B & B Italia to find the best way to achieve modern and high quality products is the reason for its relationship with Lectra. The two companies have been cooperating since 1987. B & B Italia wanted to renew not only the skin cutting system, but also the production process, in order to increase overall productivity, improve efficiency and standardize quality. However, these changes had to merge with those elements of the process that the company intended to retain. “A team of Lectra, made up of people of great experience, helped us analyze every step of the process, from selecting to skinning and identifying value-added activities. The team has fallen into our reality to understand our needs and propose a solution conforming to B & B Italia’s mission, which is to provide customers with impeccable quality products, “explains Marco Piantoni, Industrial Director.
Advantages of the offline process
Following this analysis, Lectra has proposed the Versalis offline solution. In the offline process, operators perform placement, skinning, and cut jobs in parallel, on separate workstations. Each phase is optimized to achieve the best results in terms of flow, efficiency and quality. “The separation of the defect identification phase from the cutting phase has allowed us to carefully choose skins conforming to our quality standards without affecting cutting times. As a result, we have gained significant gains in productivity and quality, “adds Marco Piantoni. The introduction of Versalis offline has marked a clear detachment from the previous B & B Italia process. In order not to upset the productive activities, Lectra experts have helped the company to complete all the necessary preparations for the arrival of new solutions. The installation of the digitalisation station has been accompanied by a series of operator training activities, assignment of skin quality areas, data collection and best practice sharing. On the arrival of the Versalis system, the only thing left to do was start it and start working.
Preserve brand DNA
With the new offline process, B & B Italia has gained the flexibility to introduce process changes during cutting and reduce delivery times as well as having a reliable data source to measure performance. “Thanks to the offline process, in just five months we have increased productivity by 30% and reduced material consumption by 3%,” explains Marco. The benefits are also qualitative. “The offline process responds perfectly to the mission of B & B Italia, which is to provide customers with impeccable quality products.” We can digitize the skins right after receiving them, record the readings and give an immediate feedback on the quality of the skins to the supplier, “says Marco. This information is also used to improve the placement process. Instead of placing the pieces one skin after another, the software tests different combinations of skins to find the “winning combination”.
“Lectra and B & B Italia share the same commitment to innovation, both in products and processes. Let’s consider Lectra as a fundamental partner that helps us understand and improve cutting processes,” says Marco. “Once again we are the first in Italy to use state-of-the-art technologies to improve product quality,” says Giorgio Busnelli, CEO.