The furniture sector is an internationally oriented and very traditional sector. The focus of the actors in this sector is product orientated. The companies are relatively small and therefore they have a lack of staff in their organisations. New technology developments are not easily adapted in the furniture sector.
A strong point of the sector is the high degree of organisation. Both retailers and manufactures have regional sectorial organisations which are members of interregional platforms.
The furniture sector has two main problems:
1. the ordering process is very inefficient and error prone;
2. the distribution of article data (electronic product catalogues) for product identification is a problem.
This is a prerequisite for the dissemination of EDI in the sector.
Multimedia technology offers possibilities to solve these problems for the sector and it will strengthen the position of small and medium enterprises (SME's) in the sector.
Within the framework of this project, customised solutions will be developed for the sector that can easily be translated to other sectors.
The user needs are the starting point of the project. Confronting potential users in the sector with the possibilities of existing multimedia technologies will create awareness in the sector.
Having specified the user needs, the developed pilot applications can be adjusted in the required way.
In one of the work packages the improvement of the ordering process by using video phone technology will be defined. This relatively cheap and easily operable equipment is a logical first step for participants in the sector.
In another work package the distribution of article data will be solved. In a standard database for product catalogues, article identification will be combined with pictures of the products.
In the furniture sector most products are produced based on customers specifications, so one product model can have a variety of appearances. By connecting the identification and picture data elements, the ordering process will be improved.
Another benefit is that trade partners will use the same data during the different phases of the ordering process. Because of the visual checking possibilities for both business partners, the error rate in the process will decline. After finishing the database the data will be ready to use in customer applications. These in-store applications must be very user friendly, because the retailer must be able to define and use the data for the application and the customer must be able to retrieve the data in order to get the required information.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
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2100 AC Heemstede
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