Increasing competitiveness. The production of upholstered furniture is forecast to be worth $65 billion in 2015, 40% of which will come from China. There are huge differences in what is a very regionalized market. Already automated, the US industrial base is aging and needs to be modernized. In Europe, production has moved from the west to the east. In the West, a recovering market requires manufacturers, often in excess capacity, to transform in order to ensure their sustainability and maintain their market share. In the East, a skilled labor shortage poses a threat. And in China, automation is the only way to take advantage of the strong market growth. Developing creativity. Imperatives such as adapting to shorter series, enticing local consumers, satisfying a customer base seeking personalization, and setting themselves apart with original styles and a choice of materials, all require furniture manufacturers to combine creativity and flexibility. These factors have all become prevalent in Europe and are gaining popularity in the United States where the furniture offer is now starting to distinguish itself with individual designs, while in China the majority of furniture companies have yet to acquire creative know-how. Optimizing production. In their quest to be productive and competitive, more and more manufacturers are starting to understand the advantages of auto-
mated fabric and leather cutting. Leather accounts for more than 40% of furniture products, and its rise in price is putting huge pressure on costs. Modernizing industrial processes enables companies to safeguard margins without compromising on quality, and allows them to alternate between mass production, small orders and made-to-measure.
1 — Ekornes is constantly seeking to improve its performance and reduce its costs in Norway where a skilled workforce is costly and hard to find. Its Sykkylven factory uses more than 2,200 hides a day to produce 2,000 seats, including 1,200 famous Stressless seats. 2-3 — VersalisFurniture treats the most complex natural hides and optimizes the use of leather while preserving the material’s quality. 4 — DesignConcept helps designers create more styles in a short space of time and taking into account all the manufacturing alternatives. 5 — Duvivier Productions received the “Company of Living Heritage” label, rewarding excellence and savoir-faire. With Lectra, the contemporary furniture manufacturer has doubled its production capacity in France while preserving its craftmanship and the quality of its furniture.