Technology supports personal customer service

Published on 23/08/2021 in Customer Stories

Technology supports personal customer service

Dovy Keukens doesn’t just use new technology to support its design and production process. Virtual reality allows the company to enhance the customer experience.

Dovy has a long history as a manufacturer of custom-made kitchens. Since 1980 the company has developed a network of 33 showrooms across the whole country. What typifies Dovy is that the sale and production of the kitchens – approx. 5,000 units a year – is managed entirely within the company. Throughout that whole process, technology plays a key role. “The customer sits around a table with one of our consultants in the showroom”, says marketing manager Kris Aeck. “There the consultant makes the first digital design in a CAD/CAM drawing program.”

Virtual reality in the showroom

The result is a photo-realistic 3D presentation of the kitchen. In the showroom Dovy enhances the customer experience further by letting the customer look at the design through VR glasses. The customer will later be sent an e-mail with a quote, as well as a link to the 3D design, which can also be viewed on a smartphone or tablet. “During the design process, the program automatically creates a list of all the necessary production elements”, said Kris. “When the customer signs the quote, the production order immediately wings its way to our ERP system.”

Technology supports the complete, integrated process: from design and sales, through to inventory management and production.

Kris Aeck, marketing manager at Dovy Keukens

Smart factory

In the factory in Roeselare Dovy has automated a wide range of activities. For example, there are robot arms that automatically drill the right-sized holes, attach hinges, etc., in the panels for the kitchen cupboards. “Via the automated offcuts warehouse we optimize use of the materials,” said Kris. “We have software that calculates how we can saw the panels with as little loss as possible, depending on the order. The application first checks whether there is an element in the offcuts warehouse that can be used.”

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Fibre as backbone

A stable network connection is indispensable if all the technology is going to work together efficiently. That network must also have sufficient capacity to be able to work with the large data files containing the kitchen plans, among other things. In 2016, Dovy therefore already switched to fibreglass. “That sort of connection between the showrooms and the head office is extremely important to us”, said Kris. “The systems have to be able to communicate effectively with each other, so that the consultant in the showroom can close the sale without encountering problems.”

We are currently looking at the possibilities around mixed reality, for projecting the design of the kitchen onto the work site using a smartglass application.

Kris Aeck, marketing manager at Dovy Keukens

Online and personal

“Clients can book an appointment via our website”, said Kris. “And in theory, the consultation about the design can also take place largely online. But an important part of our service is the personal approach. A consultant will visit the customer at home to measure up the space. And it’s also better to choose the materials in the showroom.”

Step to mixed reality

Did the Corona crisis have a big impact? At Dovy they became aware that people were setting aside a larger budget for their house – and so too for their kitchen. And it’s precisely this trend that can be helped by technology. “The VR application that we use now is relatively simple”, said Kris, “but we’d like to go further in this area. I’m thinking in particular of mixed reality, for projecting the design of the kitchen onto the work site using a smartglass application. After all, the arrival of 5G allows of the real-time presentation of kitchen plans.”

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Kris Aeck started his career in the media sector. Since 2010 he has been marketing manager at Dovy Keukens.

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