The Gigovi family: “We now have a cleaner work environment and we have increased quality and productivity”

April 17, 2014

Archidea OOD, which manufactures home and office furniture, provides an example of how energy efficient technologies can be implemented successfully in the production process. Like most furniture makers in Bulgaria, Archidea is a family-run business and is managed by the Gigovi family. The company is situated in Sofia and provides excellent conditions for production.

In recent years, Archidea has invested in new production technologies that have allowed it to boost production capacity, maintain the high quality of its products, and improve the working environment.

The company produces a wide range of furniture, including furniture for the home, commercial and office furniture, bank and hotel furniture, etc. In addition to the Bulgarian market, Archidea exports to the Netherlands, France, Belgium and other countries.
The Gigovi family tell us more about the new energy efficient improvements to their production process.

Tell us about the development of your company?

We started more than 15 years ago as a representative of a foreign furniture brand, which we positioned very successfully in the Bulgarian market. However, our clients - and us too - started to demand non-standard furniture designs and sizes. Our partner was not able to deliver that service, so we decided to start producing furniture ourselves. We had the necessary educational background, and by then we already had experience. And gradually we arrived at this point - now we work with many designers, but we can also create our own furniture lines.

What improvements have you made or are you about to make concerning energy savings?

Our investments are all aimed at improving the technologies we use. With loans from ProCredit Bank we have gradually replaced the old machines, which we had when we started production, with new high-efficiency German machinery. Now the old ones are used as back-ups only - and used very rarely.

We are also in the process of buying a new coating production line. The automated production line is absolutely closed-cycled, and is equipped with a multi-level water treatment system for recycling waste water from the process. The machine is unique for what it offers in terms of saving time in the manufacture of furniture components. That’s where its excellent efficiency indicators come from. We produce furniture with a very glossy varnish. This is achieved through a complex technological process which involves several stages of sanding, painting and varnishing. Currently, the whole process takes about one week. With the new machine, the same process will take 20-30 minutes. This way we will save not only time, but also energy, and our productivity will increase many times over.

We are also working on projects to change the lighting in the production hall and to insulate some of the buildings which have not been insulated yet. In this way we are trying to make working conditions much better. I think this motivates our team a lot.

Perhaps our biggest project to improve the working environment is our investment in a centralised ventilation system. This system is connected to all processing centres. It sucks out the air - including all of the dust from the processing stage - and expels it from the building, simultaneously bringing in fresh air. This significantly reduces the amount of dust in the air, which is a common problem in our business.

How does new machinery impact production?

We believe that deadlines for the delivery of orders must be observed. We cannot afford to outsource to a partner, Bulgarian or European, and risk delays in delivery. All deadlines that we have agreed on must be met. One should always be careful when making promises. We must always be aware of the current factory workload and of the time required for the production of each individual order so that we can offer the right deadline for delivery.

This is exactly where the new technologies we are investing in are most useful. They increase our productivity several times over. Our multi-functional process centres simultaneously cut, drill, and mill. Thus, one component can be loaded into the machine and all of these operations are carried out successively without having to move the component from one machine to another, which is what we did in the past. This also reduces the risk that parts become scratched when they are moved during the production process.

So far, the painting and varnishing processes have been partially manual. The new production line for coating we are about to introduce will allow us to maintain our high quality without any risk of human error.

In brief: we invest in machines that increase our productivity, improve quality, save time and, last but not least, save energy, which is very important to us and for the environment.

What is most important about your products and the clients who use them?

With regard to office furniture, what matters most are durability and ergonomics, as this type of furniture is used most intensively. Design is important, but the materials are the leading factor. With home furniture, apart from quality, style and design are the leading factors. Individual projects - whether large or small - are our strength; we have a team of designers, and this allows us to create different ideas to offer to our clients.

The most important thing for the client is that they feel secure that we will do the job well, in full and on time. We do not advertise; instead we rely on our satisfied clients to recommend us to others and return to us. That’s the best kind of advertisement.

Our greatest achievement is that we are recognised in European markets. The single fact that here we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with companies that have much more experience than we do is very important to us. It takes persistence to achieve this.