Established over 30 years ago, Stourbridge-based Avanti designs, manufactures and installs about forty kitchens each week from its network of nine showrooms throughout the West Midlands.
For Nigel Carpenter, Product Planning and System Support Manager at Avanti, one of the core reasons for choosing ArtiCAD-Pro was the product’s integration with easyquote. “We had previously bought a package which was supposed to handle the complete kitchen sales process from start to finish. Unfortunately it never did. We were determined not to make the same mistake again, and in the ArtiCAD-Pro/EQ Software solution, we do indeed have a fully integrated solution – from initial design, to detailed plans and elevations, parts lists and pricing, right through to cutting lists for our state of the art manufacturing systems.”
Avanti began their search for a replacement for their existing product in 2007. Although it had proven to be very good at handling the manufacturing side of Avanti’s business, its major drawback was the front-end, both in terms of the output for customers and its usability. Nigel Carpenter: “Despite a lot of effort, the sales people just found it too difficult to use. It is dreadful to be sitting in someone’s house trying to draw their new kitchen if it takes ages to produce and the result is really not worth the wait.”
Avanti looked at several different CAD packages for kitchen design, and put three of them through a rigorous in-house trial. ArtiCAD-Pro won on the quality of its output, ease of use and its complete integration with the pricing and business management package, easyquote. The decision was taken to order ten ArtiCAD-Pro licenses in early 2008.
ArtiCAD has created custom graphics for Avanti, enabling the company’s designers to include specific products from the portfolio in their designs, rather than simply using generic items. The company’s logo has also been incorporated which, according to Nigel Carpenter, gives the whole package they present to their customers a much more professional appearance.
Once a potential customer has visited a showroom, an Avanti designer visits them at home, discusses their requirements and produces an initial design using ArtiCAD-Pro. The integration with easyquote enables the designer to also produce a price for the proposed design. Any changes to the design are either made in the customer’s house or back at the Avanti showroom. The final designs can either be presented face to face or emailed to the customer.”
Stephanie Lee, is one of Avanti’s designers. Having used a previous system, she was understandably reluctant to make the change to something new and unknown. However, she was completely won over by ArtiCAD-Pro. “I had just one training session, and I was able to create full plans almost immediately. I was used to producing a 2D plan in pencil on planning paper with the old system. Now I don’t have to go through that time-consuming stage any more. I can create a complete kitchen in just thirty minutes. Changes are really easy to make, the designs look very professional and I am able to include accessories and lighting to make them even more realistic.”
Ray Anderson, “ArtiCAD-Pro is quick and easy to use – the speed of rendering is particularly impressive. The fact that we can include our own doors and other kitchen furniture in the designs makes them more realistic and thus it is easier for the customer to see what they will be getting, and to make a decision. The integration with easyquote has made pricing a kitchen much faster and of course easyquote then links to our manufacturing systems.”
Automatic pricing and links to the manufacturing system are some of the main attractions of the ArtiCAD-Pro solution for Ken Dearn, Avanti’s Managing Director. “Cutting out the opportunity for human error which is always a danger when information has to be manually transposed from one system to another is one of the benefits that I hope we will achieve with the new system. The more the whole process can be automated and integrated, the less room there is for error and the more efficient we will become.”
ArtiCAD-Pro & EQ Software
Using XML, the ArtiCAD-Pro and easyquote interface allow the export of all the relevant information from an ArtiCAD design into easyquote. This includes automatically matching ArtiCAD codes to easyquote internal codes to ensure exact matching to the chosen specification. In addition, ArtiCAD-Pro exports all the door information, such as size and type, for any cabinet. This even includes doors that may have been customised in ArtiCAD-Pro.