Is today’s consumer the enemy of manufacturers everywhere?

Traditional manufacturing is at its most efficient when volumes are high and variation is small, writes The Furnishing Report editor Richard de Melim.

Chuck a load of plastic into one end of a machine and when 10,000 identical iPhone covers pop out of the other side you have an exemplar for manufacturing efficiency at its best.

This doesn’t work in the furniture industry because the consumer wants an ever increasing array of options.

But as choice increases, volumes and batch sizes go down, and so too does manufacturing efficiency. And yet, Britain’s furniture manufacturing sector remains strong and resilient.

We published a fine example this week with news of bedroom furniture producer One Call’s £2.5m investment in production, right in the heart of London (see related).

But we should salute each and every UK furniture manufacturer for working harder, being smarter, and investing bigger, to remain just as efficient while dealing with increasing complexity.

The manufacturers we have left in this country are the elite. Who would have thought even a decade ago, that the UK bed maker, sofa maker and — yes, even the cabinet maker — could have a thriving future?

Related Story
Bedroom firm One Call makes £2.5m plant investment

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