KI’s EMEA headquarters and showroom in Central London are supported by an established network of manufacturing facilities and distribution partners across the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
The manufacturing sector was the catalyst for enormous social transformation during the first industrial revolution. Now, as the fourth industrial revolution (4IR or ‘industry 4.0’) takes off, it seems the tables have turned. In a world that demands agility, flexibility and collaboration, manufacturers are having to reinvent themselves to stay competitive.
Traditionally, manufacturers were overhead-heavy, with fixed production processes that relied on producing high volumes of products over a long period to help reduce high capital expenditure.
Now, technology allows us to redefine the concept of mass production and ‘minimum order quantities’, making customisation realistic, affordable – and expected – at a much smaller scale.
Technology and innovation don’t just affect what we produce. They impact how, and why we produce it. Reducing environmental impact and creating circular economies can’t be side-lined anymore, by anyone along the value chain. New software enables far greater optimisation of materials and process when producing flexibly. New materials, enhanced production processes, sophisticated logistics and buyer expectations are all playing a role in reshaping manufacturing for the 21st century. The production line still exists, but it no longer resembles Charlie Chaplin in ‘Modern Times’, punching out the same widget over and over.
It has always been true that ‘one size doesn’t fit all’, but it has never been easy to deliver it. Striving towards this has long been a core tenet of KI’s manufacturing philosophy. This is reflected in our ongoing investment in design innovation rather than traditional manufacturing facilities. In Europe, KI has a distinct advantage of being supported by a large parent company, yet we maintain the agility of a local producer, with the benefits of having a diverse supply chain. Enjoying the best of both worlds, this allows us to work with multinationals as well as being relevant locally as a partner for co-creation, rather than simply a supplier of furniture.