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 £14 billion and the second largest in Europe, is estimated to grow by around three percent 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. It has 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 by Made Smarter, including part of furniture maker with bedrooms and fabrics and upholstery expert.
Donna Edwards, Programme Director for Made Smarter’s Adoption Programme in the North West, said: “While UK manufacturing is facing a challenging time, it also presents an opportunity to innovate and transform. Businesses working with Made Smarter over the last three years have shown that investing in technology and digital skills can build resilience and enable them to keep up with the fast moving industry.
“Digital tools can help manufacturers make marginal savings, set themselves apart from competitors in a volatile time, make products quicker, affordable and more efficiently.
“Working with Made Smarter, we are helping businesses introduce technologies incrementally, making the most of funding and support to minimise the impact on budgets.
“To help demystify digitalisation and help SMEs to their first step, we have produced some vital guidance as well as explain why implementing digital tools is such a priority in this sector.”