Configura’s 6th Annual Conference
IntentPR handled public relations for the event.
The sold-out conference in Grand Rapids drew almost twice the number of attendees than the previous year’s conference. More than 225 people – office furniture manufacturers, dealers and interior designers – attended the two-day event at DeVos Place Convention Center. Some came from as far away as Hawaii, Mexico and Canada.
“Grand Rapids is the right place to be,” Configura CEO Johan Lyreborn said. “We were thinking of ‘floating’ the conference to a different city next year, but everyone said they want it again in Grand Rapids, and we plan to do that.”
The previous five years, the conference had been held in Las Vegas. Sweden-based Configura opened its North American office in Grand Rapids in 2006 and held its first user conference in the United States in 2008.
“We were thrilled with the response to our conference,” Configura Training and Support Manager Tracy Lanning said. “This was our first year holding the conference in Grand Rapids, and the turnout was the best yet. Plus, major office furniture manufacturers such as Steelcase and Haworth are right here in West Michigan.”
Both manufacturers held special designer-dealer sessions at their respective headquarters in the days leading up to Configura’s conference.
“The conference was a home run from our point of view,” Steelcase’s Steve Eriksson said.
At the conference, Configura unveiled Catalogues, a brand-new solution that will enable manufacturers to get started with CET Designer faster than ever before.
Conference attendees got a first look at the new solution for entering a manufacturer’s products into CET Designer through industry standard code.
“The new solution will make the process faster than ever and will also make manufacturers’ products available to thousands of CET Designer users around the world,” Grand Rapids-based Vice President of Business Development Peter Brandinger said.
Catalogues officially releases on Nov. 18.
Nationally known “simplicity” expert presented
New York City-based simplicity expert Irene Etzkorn keynoted the conference.
“Simplicity is about shortening the distance between the company and the customer … and it’s about the company taking on the burden of complexity so the customer doesn’t have to,” Etzkorn said to a packed room that included not only user conference attendees but also West Michigan business community leaders who were invited to attend.
Etzkorn, along with SiegelVision colleague Alan Siegel, co-authored the book Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity.
“Usually we work with companies to simplify something that has become complicated, so it is a pleasure to find a company that was founded on the ethos of simplicity and has continued to maintain it. As the keynote speaker at Configura’s CET Designer User Conference, it was delightful to be surrounded by people who have benefited from the principles of simplicity and to meet a CEO who believes that simplicity is the key to his company’s success,” Etzkorn wrote in a recent blog.
Spring Lake, Mich.-based izzy+ CEO Chuck Saylor gave a “State of the Furniture and Design Industry.” Saylor is also the current president of the Business Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association. He has made his entire professional career in the furniture and design industry.
“A decade from now, the most important people on the planet in our industry are going to be people like you,” he said to the interior designers in the audience.
Longtime CET Designer users Jason Lund and Kari Anderson with Target Commercial Interiors also talked about the future and what it means for designers.
“Customers want to be part of the design experience – they want to be entertained and impressed,” Lund said.
Lund and Anderson began their presentation by having everyone don 3D glasses to view how a rendering, created in CET Designer, could “pop” into space.
Sheryl Miller, director of design for General Office Products in Minneapolis, said the conference was a “fantastic use of time for getting ideas to help streamline the design and sales process.” She added: “Keeping up to date with technology like CET Designer is critical.”