Archived News Article
Furniture and home goods makers urged to use home improvement boom as catalyst for digital transformation
Furniture and home goods makers are being urged to use the ongoing home improvement boom as a catalyst for digital transformation.
The sectors, which produce sofas, beds and furnishings, face a challenging time following the pandemic, Brexit and rising inflation.
However, the huge demand for interior design, home and garden products and customisation, as well as a further shift to online shopping - driven by lockdown-induced focus on home upgrades in 2021 - looks set to continue, presenting a significant opportunity to manufacturers.
The ongoing renovation boom means the UK furniture and furnishings market, worth an estimated £14bn and the second largest in Europe, is estimated to grow by around 3% in 2022.
Almost 140 SMEs are working with Made Smarter’s Adoption Programme in the North West to navigate the multitude of challenges and capitalise on changing trends. By tapping into impartial expert technology and skills advice, and digital transformation workshops, Made Smarter are helping them take their first steps.
Meanwhile, many of them, supported by matched funding, are investing in new digital technology to become more efficient, build resilience, increase productivity and sustainable growth, and create new high-value jobs.
Made Smarter, which has supported hundreds of businesses to deliver an additional £176 million in gross value added, is now keen to reach more SMEs across the furniture and home goods supply chain in the North West, North East, Yorkshire & Humberside and the West Midlands. They have produced a free guide to help demystify digitalisation and drive technology adoption.
The downloadable guide showcases the benefits of digital technology, how to get started, the top five technology trends across the sector, and case studies of businesses supported.
Commending the impact of the programme, Jonathan Hindle, chairman of the British Furniture Confederation, a group which represents five of the main trade associations representing UK furniture manufacturers, said: "The tremendous success of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, and the support it is now offering to the sector in other UK regions, has demonstrated the value of targeted support for SME manufacturers to help them take those first steps on their digitalisation journeys.
"The UK furniture manufacturing industry has a global reputation for quality and innovation, combining skilled design and craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. To maintain that achievement and ensure the UK remains competitive against global competition, manufacturers need to embrace current and emerging technologies, and the huge potential digitisation offers, as well as to raise the skills and productivity of the people who work in our sector to the highest level."