Expert engineering, precision design and effective project management combine to help you relax in theatre, conference and lecture halls. How can seating designers keep the route to comfort simple?
Working with CD Invest, FIBROCIT is utilizing the flexibility, reliability and openness of IBM i to build applications that help it manage the design and installation of fixed seating across multiple projects.
Supportscost-effective project delivery with efficient project tracking and accounting
Unleashesgrowth and innovation with a dynamic, scalable system architecture
Paves the wayto greater precision in quality control processes
Business challenge story
As you sit comfortably watching your favorite movie, ballet, or opera, you may not have thought about the expert engineering required to produce your sense of calm and relaxation. But for European fixed-seating provider FIBROCIT, making every seat the best seat in the house is a top priority. How do seating providers manage the intricacies of making bespoke seating solutions for multiple clients at the same time?
“For almost a century, we have designed and fitted fixed seating across Europe, including installations in world-renowned centers of culture and learning,” explains Benedict Geers, Owner at FIBROCIT. “We have cultivated expert craftsmanship through decades of experience, but we don’t rest on our laurels. When our previous manual processes risked preventing us from becoming more efficient, we decided it was time to modernize.”
Eager to live up to its reputation as an industry leader, FIBROCIT identified project management, design and quality control as three key areas for improvement.
Benedict Geers continues: “Digging out the earlier paper designs for current and historical projects from our physical archives creates a significant amount of time-consuming and expensive manual effort. This approach to archiving also greatly increases the risk of losing intellectual property. If we could digitally archive historical data and store design information for current projects, we knew we would simplify and strengthen our project management capabilities.”
On top of streamlining project management procedures, FIBROCIT identified ways it could utilize the power of technology to advance the design and quality control of its products.
“When a theatre asks us to design and fit a thousand seats for their auditorium, we don’t simply produce a thousand identical chairs," notes Benedict Geers. "We design an intricate interlocking system composed of different designs that respond to the specific shape, size, capacity and acoustics of a room. Because of this, we must custom-build each chair to meet the precise requirements of any given space.
“If our client would like to adapt the design of the seating, or increase the capacity of their venue mid-way through a project, our designers need to re-draw the designs from scratch. What if we could build a digital design system capable of adapting designs in real time? When it comes to production, we must manually check the finished product against the dimensions of the original design—what if we could automate this process?”
Supporting swift, stylish craftsmanship
Teaming up with CD Invest, FIBROCIT began developing a set of business-enhancing applications to run on IBM i on the cloud, hosted on an IBM Power® S814 server—empowering the company to modernize its core operations.
Benedict Geers elaborates: “Having developed an excellent working relationship with CD Invest over many years, we had no doubt they could help us improve the efficiency of our business. They offered excellent expertise throughout the project. Going forward, CD Invest will continue to host and support our core applications on IBM i for years to come.”
CD Invest is working with FIBROCIT to develop a project management and integrated accountancy system as well as other innovative applications. These applications will also run on the CD Invest IBM i cloud, which provides highly secure services to 20 businesses in total.
“Throughout my career, I have witnessed first-hand the reliability, stability and flexibility of IBM i. So, when we were working with CD Invest to choose which system to build and run our new mission-critical applications on, IBM i was a clear choice,” continues Benedict Geers. “Furthermore, the fact that the platform supports open source solutions means that we can leverage the very best technology and benefit from the support and development of the open source community while avoiding inhibitive licensing costs.
“As well as upgrading our project management capabilities with a proprietary solution from CD Invest, we are also working with our partners on a variety of other projects to help us run every aspect of our business more effectively. For example, working with CD Invest, we have just completed an archiving application that has enabled us to capture and store digital versions of the projects we worked on over the last century. By doing this, we ensure that we always have fast, easy access to older versions of designs, and reduce the risk of losing this data.”
To aid the design process, CD Invest is helping FIBROCIT build a 3D configurator, which will enable its teams to build and adapt designs on three-dimensional photographs of the spaces they are working on. Once developed, the company aims to use this application to give clients an impression of how the finished product will look using augmented reality. But FIBROCIT won’t stop there—the company is also building a visual-recognition application with the aim of automating its quality-control processes.
Building the best seats in the house
With a suite of new applications running on IBM i in the cloud keeping projects running smoothly, FIBROCIT can complete fixed-seating projects much more cost-effectively, while establishing a platform for innovation.
“By moving from cumbersome, paper-based project management processes to running everything from an integrated project management system in the cloud, we have dramatically improved company efficiency,” says Benedict Geers. “Moreover, because we can track every project action and calculate how each action impacts the overall project revenue, we are much better placed to ensure that all operations are profitable.
“The CD Invest IBM i cloud also enables us to keep our total cost of ownership low—we only have to pay for what we use. If we need to increase the capacity of our systems in the future, the inherent scalability of IBM i on IBM Power Systems means we can scale up our operations seamlessly, while minimizing disruptions to our daily operations.”
With FIBROCIT’s 3D configurator soon to go live, the company sees even more benefits on the road ahead.
“We have just finished working with CD Invest to develop our project-archiving application," comments Benedict Geers. "Now this is live, we no longer need to spend large amounts of time trawling through paper records when we are asked to revisit a project we took on over half a century ago. And we’ll lose no more sleep worrying about the risk of this historical data being lost or damaged.
“As a team we also expect to achieve greater accuracy and efficiency in the design process once we start using our 3D configurator, by automating the room measurement and accelerating the time taken to create new designs. Similarly, after we have worked with CD Invest to integrate visual recognition features with the 3D configurator application and our content management system, we will have gained the capability to automate a large proportion of the quality-control process—further enhancing the overall efficiency of our business.”
He concludes: “With the innovative potential of IBM i and the expertise of CD Invest, we have modernized our business while retaining our legacy of excellence. By driving innovation and operational efficiency today, we can ensure that we will be keeping audiences comfortable in the decades ahead.”
FIBROCIT has been the market leader in the Benelux region for the production and installation of fixed seating solutions for more than 90 years. The company offers a complete service—from study, design, production and installation of the seats—and its technical team provide customers with expert advice on sight lines, positioning, and legal standards. FIBROCIT’s seating solutions can be found in organizations operating in the culture, education, business, hospitality and sport sectors.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM i on IBM Power Systems, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/it-infrastructure/power/os/ibm-i
CD Invest delivers ICT and business consultancy services to help maximize its clients’ business potential. For more information, visit cdinvest.be/