For several years, furniture production operations have been moving to developing countries - leaving only the niche producers in the markets of the West. But things are changing. A growing number of furniture manufacturers are adopting focused strategies, the latest ERP software and advances in modern manufacturing methods to reverse this trend.
A new, more streamlined approach to mass produced furniture is helping many companies to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions.
Traditional furniture production is flawed
The traditional mass produced furniture industry had several flaws. Manufacturers developed key lines, and simply increased production at specific times of the year. However, this would often result in bottlenecks in both the design and production processes. But this was often a leap of faith - reliant on sufficient orders being placed to make production cost-effective.
Many factories had been built to produce large quantities of mass produced furniture, but just could not produce small quantities cost-effectively. So, when orders tailed off, production costs for each unit produced rose exponentially. This rigid approach to the manufacture of furniture led to many companies either relocating or outsourcing their production.
The new approach to furniture production
Furniture manufacturers now embrace the benefits of being close to their major markets. This creates a far shorter route to market, which means smaller inventories are feasible. And administration costs can be kept low if production happens within the primary consumer market.
The new approach is based on meeting the needs of the customer. While major lines will still be available, customers now have a range of customisation and delivery options available to them. But most importantly, the new breed of furniture manufacturer can increase and decrease production levels without increasing the manufacturing cost of each item.
Software packages such as WinMan ERP are helping to transform the furniture production industry. They're helping manufacturers to minimise production costs whilst meeting the needs of their customers.