“The ERP system is the heartbeat of our company”
LS Bedding continues its role as pioneer in the Belgian bedroom furniture market
Day in, day out, with a fixed delivery time (6 days for mattresses), producing a product pallet of more than 50,000 SKUs for 3 consumer brands and delivering them to the customer: this is not something many companies can do, but at LS Bedding they think it’s the most normal thing in the world. The manufacturer of high-quality branded products in sleep comfort succeeds in this by linking excellent customer service to a fully tailored software and ERP package from Initeam, the new name of Soft Naert. “Thanks to the intensive support of Initeam, we succeed in keeping our rather complex production system running smoothly and flexibly,” says operations manager Koen Maenhout.
LS Bedding enjoys an excellent reputation within the Western European market for sleep comfort. At first, the company that was founded in 1946 by the Saelens family focused on polyether cutting. Later, it developed into one of the first Belgian producers of slatted frames. “The acquisition of Anker Bedding was crucial to our further growth,” explains Koen Maenhout. “As a manufacturer of upholstery products, they provided a great synergy with our activities and we were able to increase our customer portfolio significantly by offering total solutions in sleep comfort.
Peter De Meyer, who was already a manager in the business, took over LS Bedding in 1999 together with Frank Verschuere. The entry of Koen Maenhout and a private equity player in 2011 allowed the company to continue to support the organic growth.
Today LS Bedding has a strong position in the market with three robust brands. “Ergosleep is a premium brand that you can find in specialised, ergonomic sleep comfort stores. With Magnitude, we have an exclusive, modular box spring bed range, with countless possibilities in terms of upholstery and decoration. Nox represents our mainstream offering with which we reach the traditional premium furniture store.”
Since the mid-1980s, under the impetus of Peter De Meyer, LS Bedding has devoted a great deal of attention to a more streamlined organisation of its administration. “It was at that moment that Initeam first came into the picture. They ensured that orders and invoicing could be organised electronically for the first time. For us, that meant the start of systematic investments in IT, as a driver for our business processes.”
One of these investments was the gradual integration, from 1990 onwards, of an ERP system for an integrated data flow from order management through production and logistics to the purchase of raw materials, developed in close collaboration with specialists from LS Bedding. “That program made it possible for us to obtain a clear view of the limitless choices that we offer in terms of the length and width of our products, which greatly simplified the work for everyone in our organisation. The acquisition of Anker Bedding in 2004 meant a new challenge with regard to IT. That company had invested in a software program itself a year before, but fairly soon after the acquisition we asked Initeam to implement their high-performance systems there.”
In 2006, LS Bedding’s innovativeness led to the development of an e-business catalogue, with which the company achieved a new breakthrough in the sleep comfort market. “This catalogue functions as a product configurator, allowing the end customer to create an error-free order in a jiffy from within our very extensive range. The order arrives in our production unit via the digital highway, after which we can guarantee that the order will be delivered to the bedroom furniture store barely six days later. Some customers even set their clocks to it, reports Koen Maenhout with a wink.
LS Bedding and Initeam continued to work closely together after that, with excellent results. “In the meantime, we have also invested in the automation of the after-sales service. In this way, we can deal with any complaints smoothly without manual interventions. That module further highlights our customer focus.”
It should be clear: the onward march of LS Bedding goes hand in hand with the partnership with Initeam, and vice versa. “Over the years, a close bond of trust has grown between our organisations. This is partly due to the very intense collaboration, in which daily consultation moments are the rule rather than the exception. In any case, it is certain that there will be new IT projects, in which we will involve Initeam closely. We share with them a passion for responding to urgent questions extremely quickly. When our production had to be temporarily halted during the first lockdown, they made crucial adjustments within 24 hours so that the restart could take place without any problems. It is at moments like that that you really appreciate the added value of a dynamic partner such as Initeam.”
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