Getting to know… Dampere: A French Innovation Story!

February 20th, 2024 by ShapeDiver

Olivia Theilliere, discusses her role in enhancing Dampere's digital strategy over four years, focusing on the company's specialization in perforated metal sheets and the transformative impact of Grasshopper and ShapeDiver on their design, production, and customer engagement processes.

Check out their configurators!

In this interview, we'll hear from Olivia Theilliere, who has been with Dampere for four years, steering the company's digital strategy. Her role involves enhancing Dampere's online visibility, facilitating customer purchases through digital channels, and improving internal communications and workflows with modern digital tools. Olivia's insights will provide a unique window into how digital strategies are conceived and executed at this company.

Dampere, a company with a decade-long specialization in perforated metal sheets, has made a name for itself in the architectural materials sector. It operates out of Paris and Lille and serves a broad European market, offering custom-made metal sheets for various building applications.

During our conversation, Olivia explains the pivotal role that Grasshopper and ShapeDiver have played in transforming Dampere's design and production processes. She will discuss the initial challenges of adapting to these tools, the journey towards integrating them into Dampere's workflow, and how they've enabled the company to offer customizable online configurators to their clients. Olivia's perspective will highlight the significant efficiencies and customer engagement improvements these digital tools have brought to Dampere, illustrating the evolving landscape of digital technology in the architectural materials industry. Let’s dive in!

1. Please start by telling us about yourself and your role at Dampere.

My name is Olivia Theilliere, and I have been working with Dampere for 4 years. As the head of Digital Strategy, I assist customers in finding Dampere online and facilitate their purchase through various digital platforms, such as our websites, webshops, and social networks. I also help our team effectively communicate, organize their work, and ensure the use of best practices, workflows, and digital tools.

2. What is Dampere, and which core products or services do you offer?

For the last 10 years, Dampere has specialized in perforated metal sheets. Although we are a small team, we are young and brimming with modern ideas, always ready to take on new challenges! Our passion is to create beautiful patterns, and we sell metal sheets for various building applications, such as facades, railings, fences, and more. We initiate production exclusively upon receiving a new order, which means we can cater to specific requests for each customer.

Our offices are in Paris and Lille, and we primarily deliver to customers in France and Belgium. However, we also serve customers in Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, and other countries. The only limitation we have is the shipping cost for pallets.


3. How did your journey with ShapeDiver begin, and what were your initial expectations?

Initially, every order required manual drawing using AutoCAD, and each hole in the sheet had to be adjusted on every DXF file delivered to the machine. As an IT professional, I found this approach outdated and impractical. Therefore, I started looking on the internet for a solution. For about six months, I tried several solutions, from cropping SVG online to working with a Swedish team that could develop our patterns. After extensive research, I finally came across a ShapeDiver and Grasshopper solution, which I found promising. However, I had no idea about the journey ahead of us.

4. What led Dampere to choose Grasshopper as a tool for your designs? Were there specific features or capabilities that stood out?

The magic of Grasshopper was the ability to read, transform, and produce DXF files. 


5. How do ShapeDiver and Grasshopper work together in your workflow?

We use ShapeDiver for 98% of our work in Grasshopper. This lets us quickly show the results to our customers, who can order their specific metal sheet online. The remaining 2% of the work is carried out in Grasshopper only when the response time is too long, or the drawing is too heavy to be done online.


6. Could you describe the online configurators you've developed using ShapeDiver? What makes them unique or innovative?

We created several webshops using PHP that are fully connected to ShapeDiver via APIs. Each webshop is dedicated to one product type and connected to a specific ShapeDiver model. By utilizing the front-end API, we are able to connect our models to a custom user interface and dynamically change all parameters. This way we can display results in just one minute. Once the customer is satisfied with the result, they can conveniently pay online and proceed with their order. Additionally, the backend API allows us to generate all necessary factory documents.


7. How have your clients responded to the online configurators? Do you have any memorable feedback or stories?

We noticed two types of customers when it comes to providing feedback. 

Some customers find it challenging to adapt to our modern and innovative solutions as they are used to requesting a quote via email, engaging in prolonged discussions with our team, and eventually placing an order weeks later. This is particularly true for construction workers.

On the other hand, some customers are convinced by our solution within a matter of minutes. Most of these customers can place their orders independently, even outside regular business hours, and we often don't even know who they are.

We have also found that our online chat feature has helped to improve the customer experience for both types of customers.


8. In what ways have the configurators impacted your sales and manufacturing processes?

It has changed everything. We are convinced this online shop and overall eCommerce are the future. So, we are adapting Dampere’s strategy to this new way of selling.


9. What challenges did you face while creating your Grasshopper files for ShapeDiver, and how did you overcome them?

We have been facing issues with long computation times while processing some of our drawings, which contain numerous tiny holes. This often pushed us to the limit of the response time allowed by our ShapeDiver plan. To resolve this, we upgraded to a 30-second computation time plan a few months ago, which allowed us to expand our library. However, we still have some projects that require more time; we use Grasshopper offline for those. We may consider upgrading to a higher ShapeDiver plan in the future to enable these files to be processed online, but presently, we are satisfied with our current settings.


10. How can offering highly customizable products affect your market positioning and customer satisfaction?

We provided personalized products even before ShapeDiver, but now we can display the outcome to the customer and allow them to modify each parameter as much as they desire. 

Additionally, our established online store enables us to indicate the production constraints. In other words, if a particular set of parameters is not feasible, the customer is instantly notified when attempting to make the change.

11. What insights or advice would you give to other companies considering ShapeDiver for their configurable products?

Be ready to learn and discover some magic! Be ready to spend a lot of time playing with it.

12. Looking ahead, how do you plan to evolve or expand your use of ShapeDiver and Grasshopper inside Dampere?

After successfully launching 5 webshops, we are working on improving their functionalities and exploring ways to merge their capabilities.

13. How do you see the role of tools like ShapeDiver and Grasshopper evolving with industry trends?

Why draw yourself when an online tool can do it faster and better?

14. What advice would you give companies in your industry about embracing digital transformation and tools like ShapeDiver and Grasshopper?

Good luck!

- Thank you, Olivia, for your time today!

Thank you as well for sharing our story.

That's it for this new edition of Getting to know... Don't forget to visit Dampere's website and LinkedIn page.

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