Selecting new office furniture presents consumers with many choices, which can make the decision-making process difficult. Thanks to QuickSketch, an AutoCAD® OEM–based software application from Intellicon, Inc., Knoll furniture dealers can review 3D drawings of their designs "on the fly" and more readily make purchasing decisions.
Intellicon, a Florida-based Autodesk® reseller and developer, has provided software solutions to the contract furniture industry—the business of mass-producing office furniture—for almost 15 years. The company offers nearly 40 AutoCAD-based software products that help improve work flow and data exchange for contract furniture manufacturers, including Knoll, Steelcase, Kimball, HON, Allsteel, Harpers, and Trendway. Using AutoCAD OEM as a software development platform, Intellicon created a custom application that helps Knoll dealers and sales associates better serve their customers.
Problems / Challenges
"There's simply too much for customers and sales associates to remember in this industry, whether they flip through brochures or walk through showrooms," comments Doug Eng, president of Intellicon. "That's why Intellicon creates automated software tools that significantly reduce steps for generating furniture specifications and layouts."
Dealers for Knoll, one of the world's leading contract furniture manufacturers, face this coordinating dilemma daily. They typically rely on showrooms and brochures to help customers choose the look and feel of their designs. Once customers choose configurations of office space, sales associates provide the specifications to in-house designers for a final layout and price quotation. This step can take up to several weeks, and sometimes errors occur in the manual data exchange, further delaying an order.
"The capabilities of AutoCAD OEM definitely help simplify the iterative processes of contract furniture design. . . . As a result, sales associates and designers work on designs with greater speed and enhanced accuracy, and deliver orders to customers more quickly." Doug Eng - President, Intellicon
Intellicon used AutoCAD OEM, a development tool based on AutoCAD, for developing QuickSketch, a software solution that helps streamline Knoll dealers' sales cycle. Intellicon engineers applied AutoCAD OEM software's object-oriented ARX (AutoCAD Runtime Extension) engine and AutoLISP® application programming interfaces to design an easy-to-use Microsoft Visual Basic interface that enables Knoll dealers and sales associates to provide 3D product visualizations electronically.
Today, by clicking on a computer screen of icons, sales associates configure customers' workstations by selecting furniture and accessories from an electronic catalog that includes systems, seating, desks, files, and finishes. Associates easily print a 3D rendering for customers to view, and also give them an estimate on pricing. In addition, designers in Knoll dealerships can use these QuickSketch-generated 2D and 3D drawings as a basis for their detail designs.
"We're very pleased with the functionality of QuickSketch and its ease of use," remarks Gregg Converse, market planning director at Knoll. "Sales associates in Knoll dealerships now have a tool to allow their customers to visualize the exact office they desire in 2D or 3D with their selected finishes. When a change to an office layout or finish is desired by the customer, QuickSketch can make these changes instantly for viewing and validation. The product visualization serves as a great validation for the customer before making the purchase."
"Because Knoll dealers and designers use AutoCAD for detail drawings, they benefit from the true DWG compatibility in QuickSketch," comments Intellicon's Eng. "We've also been able to offer reduced price points for QuickSketch customers, enabling us to provide more units.
"The capabilities of AutoCAD OEM definitely help simplify the iterative processes of contract furniture design," says Eng. "By taking fewer steps to develop a design configuration, complexity is replaced with simplicity. As a result, sales associates and designers work on designs with greater speed and enhanced accuracy, and deliver orders to customers more quickly."
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