Despite the global downturn, office furniture sales remain strong for furniture suppliers across the globe. Despite recent market fluctuations, office furniture manufacturers say that despite the global downturn they are still optimistic. Neither a major turn towards short-term mass production, nor a large-scale move towards short run customization, nor the impact of domestic political instability on international trade can affect the competitiveness of the office furniture supplier’s operations. The real economic factors that dictate office furniture sales come from the factors that determine customer choice and demand. Office furniture buyers need to understand these factors if they are to make an informed decision about the furniture they will buy.
There has been much discussion in the office furniture industry over the past few years about the impact of data management on the office furniture industry. The fact that data management is becoming an increasingly important management tool for manufacturers of office furniture supplies highlights the importance of understanding how the process of data management impacts the supply chain. While data management processes are best designed by an office furniture manufacturer (who must be able to communicate with their suppliers effectively), the effect it will have on the supply chain is relatively minor, on the margin. It does mean that some of the earlier decisions made about furniture design and production will need to be revisited to ensure that there is an adequate balance between meeting customer requirements and incorporating new data requirements. For most office furniture manufacturers, this will be relatively modest.
The second impact of data management on the office furniture manufacturer is its indirect impact on the furniture supplier. If a data management system can integrate with an office furniture manufacturer’s existing production process then that system may allow for some of the earlier decisions not to be affected by the changes that come about as a result of the system. This may allow the furniture supplier to continue to supply items to a market that is otherwise saturated with that type of furniture. At the same time, if a supplier continues to provide items which are difficult to use or to make use of a particular piece of office furniture it may attract a number of different clients, thereby reducing the profitability and the employment. It is no surprise that many office furniture manufacturers are already seeking to partner with suppliers who have an experience and expertise in the field of information technology and computer science.
Perhaps the third major impact of DMAIC is on the sector in general. The office furniture supplier that develops an integrated system with a large office furniture manufacturer could become the target of a number of start-up companies. Starting such a business could provide a number of attractive revenue streams, but it would require significant amounts of start-up capital in addition to the normal office furniture supplier fees.
What is often overlooked in the strategic management of an office furniture order is the company culture that develops within the supply chain. DMAIC is designed to increase efficiency and company morale by encouraging innovation and making it easier for a company to share information more easily and quickly. The supply chain developed by an office furniture manufacturer becomes more robust and resistant when a number of different elements are brought into play. When the company has multiple offices in different geographical areas, it makes sense to have staff members stationed at each office that specializes in different aspects of the company’s office-furniture operations. This allows for a flexible and personalized service strategy. As a result of this flexibility a strong bond develops between various staff members and their ability to serve the customer better, therefore increasing company satisfaction.
Office work chairs manufacturers who have already developed a strong brand reputation tend to have greater financial leverage than those companies who are still developing a name for themselves. A major challenge for office furniture supplier companies is how to maintain customer loyalty and maintain good pricing relationships once customers have developed a taste for a particular brand of office furniture. DMAIC can help provide lasting value to customers by removing certain barriers which can be related to pricing and service, leading to increased profitability over the long term. DMAIC also encourages greater cross-sell opportunities for customers, which can result in increased revenues for both parties.