Like many industries, furniture manufacturing is a global market, with finished products and components coming from all areas of the world. If recent developments are anything to go by, a much larger percentage of those products could be coming from Pakistan in the near future.
Home and office furnishings have been extensively manufactured in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad for a long time, but this has been mainly for the local and regional market. Lack of regulation and inconsistent products have thus far impeded its attempts to reach a global market. But there are plans to turn this around, with the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company currently developing a ‘furniture city’ within Faisalabad’s industrial heartland.
Bringing Pakistani products up to international standards
The furniture city will see the transformation of the city’s production skills and resources into a cogent effort to produce and export products to an international standard. The project will see the creation of wood seasoning plants for imported wood, training centres and furniture showrooms where international clients can examine finished products and place orders.
Depending on the effectiveness of the city and others like it, such developments overseas may have significant impacts on the UK industry. For manufacturers it may result in further competition from countries where labour and material costs are lower. But for UK retailers on the other hand, it may have a positive effect, providing a wider choice of finished products.
Trade body growing
Closer to home, the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) has attracted many new members over the past year. According to trade magazine Furniture Production, 18 new members have joined over the past year, including 14 full members, an associate number and number of international members.
The non-profit organisation was created more than half a century ago and exists to provide support for all aspects of the industry. FIRA’s association director Phil Reynolds commented that, “we are delighted to welcome so many new members to the association… we have found that companies are actively seeking out the type of support and expertise that we offer.”