1970’s - 1990
"Necessity is the mother of invention," the saying goes. Sune Rydqvist had dealt with calculation problems throughout his career in the interior fittings and construction industries. In the mid-1980s, AutoCAD entered the market. But the software and related modules didn’t work well as calculation tools – they could only sum up the number of symbols placed in the drawing area. AutoCAD tools also proved too costly and complicated for sales functions.
Sune sought the technology counsel of his son, Göran Rydqvist, and friend Johan Lyreborn, both of whom had graduated with Master of Engineering degrees in Computer Technology from the Linköping Institute of Technology. During their postgraduate studies, their research produced a new programming language and software applications – a language that could help to solve the problem of selling configurable products. The result was the first PGC prototype: an intuitive program using point-and-click to draw panel layouts and in the background would calculate the changes to ensure accuracy.
Sune, Johan and Göran formed Configura Sverige AB and began to build the new software application – a space-planning tool for component-based products. The software was the basis for Parametric Graphical Configuration (PGC). PGC is a technology (software based on a custom programming language) and a business strategy that makes selling configurable and parametric system products simpler and more efficient. In 1990, S-Line Office AB became the first Configura® software customer.
In May 1991, Lundqvist Inredningar AB became the second client to sign on with Configura. Maker of Lundqvisthyllan, Lundqvist Inredningar remains to this day one of our long-term customers.
The big breakthrough for Configura came with Matti T. Martela – the chairman of the Finnish office furniture company Martela OY. Martela was struggling with many returns due to specification errors, delivery and missing parts and realized that the intelligent Configura software was the solution. The cooperation started in 1994 and has now lasted over 20 years – a cooperation that has fundamentally changed Martela’s entire business process.
Configura entered a new industry when signing Troax, a world leading supplier of industrial panel and partition systems based in Sweden.
Another breakthrough came when Swedish office furniture giant Kinnarps, together with Glimåkra and Elfa, decided to invest in Configura. Kinnarps is Sweden’s largest manufacturer of office furniture.
In 1998, Configura signed its biggest contract to date with Stockholm-based DeLaval, the world’s largest manufacturer of dairy equiptment; DeLaval decided to use Configura for all of its global activities and is still doing so to this day.
An office in London was opened to strengthen the sales in the U.K. market. At this point, more than 2,500 people worldwide used the Configura software to solve their space planning and configuration problems.
Configura started moving into the U.S. market in 2001 by signing U.S.-based Spacesaver, Burroughs and Ridge-U-Rack. More than 3,000 people wordwide was now using the Configura software.
The new software Instant Planner, a generic configurator for material handling, was launched with great success at ProMat in Chicago.
The new platform, CET Designer, was launched for its first customer: Swedish kitchen-giant Marbodal. Due to the recession, the U.K. office closed.
Recruitment for the new office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA started.
Haworth, a global supplier of office furniture products based in the U.S., launched its CET Designer Canvas Extension and became the company’s first office furniture customer on the CET Designer platform.
Configura began its partnership with ProjectMatrix and lunched the new ProjectSymbols Extension for CET Designer. Through this Extension, more than 60 different manufacturer’s products were made available to CET Designer users. Total number of licenses increased to more than 7,000.
Steelcase, the world’s largest manufacturer of office furniture, launched its CET Designer SmartTools Extension. The same year, Configura received Best of NeoCon Gold Award for CET Designer 2.0 and held the first annual CET Designer User Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
New Extensions for Revit and Google SketchUp were launched at NeoCon in 2009. Configura signed its first shop-fitting customer, Itab Shop Products, and its first South American customer, Mepal.
Configura celebrated its 20th anniversary. The first Manufacturer Roundtable Meeting was held, an event that has become a twice-annual occurrence. Configura now had more than 8,000 users around the world.
Configura launched its user based cloud system: MyConfigura – an online portal where all users can manage their licenses, and partners can administer their Extensions. Also, the powerful tool Photo Lab was released, enabling CET Designer users to create extreme photorealism renderings in a single design-and-specification solution. The same year, Configura’s CET Designer courses were awarded Continuing Education Unit (CEU) accreditation. The Aurora Storage and Extension and KI Extension were launched.
Configura expanded operations to the Asian market by opening an office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in order to provide better products, services and support to global customers. Bisley of the United Kingdom, a major manufacturer of steel storage products for the global office furniture industry, became the first European office furniture customer on the CET Designer platform.
The sixth annual CET Designer User Conference was held for the first time in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The change of venue turned out to be a hit and attracted more than twice the number of attendees than the previous year’s conference. Configura entered the laboratory industry by signing Wisconsin, U.S.-based Hamilton Scientific, and the healthcare industry by signing Ohio, U.S.-based Midmark Corporations.
Configura released its new Catalogue System – a faster way to get products into CET Designer. The new database system was developed as a substitute for regular PGC implementation to efficiently enter simple products.
Configura releases CET Developer, a complete development environment for creating Extensions to CET Designer.
Where we are today
With almost 10,000 users worldwide, Configura keeps growing. CET Designer is our growing platform where new customers can create their own customized Extensions and Catalogues to enter products into CET Designer. These Extensions and Catalogues can be combined which enables us to provide unmatched opportunities for our users.
Today, Configura supplies cutting-edge calculations and business solutions to some of the leading manufacturers around the world. Our markets include Commercial Furniture, Kitchen & Bath, Material Handling, Industrial Machinery, Shop-fitting, Laboratory and Healthcare.