Sustainability generates cost savings for the furniture industry

Sustainability is helping furniture executives achieve growth and cost savings without compromising their ability to meet the needs for future stakeholders.


Sustainability is proving to be a perfect decision-making framework for furniture manufacturers seeking growth and cost savings in today’s challenging economic environment. The recent uptick in corporate sustainability investments and the growing commitment by furniture manufacturers such as Ikea aiming to end waste by investing in the circular economy is proving that the trend for sustainability is more than marketing buzz.

Jan Christian Vestre, CEO of Vestre, one of Scandinavia's leading manufacturers of sustainable furniture, said, in a recent article on the sustainability mission of its new factory, that “The manufacturing industry can be a part of the solution, not the problem. We can create new profitable jobs and still save the climate and protect nature and biodiversity.”

Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc, the world’s largest furniture manufacturer, is also enhancing their manufacturing facilities for sustainability. The company’s aim to reduce their energy footprint, “Is a long-term investment, not only for Ashley, but for our environment,” said Ron Wanek, Founder and Chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. 

With the new investment in sustainability, Ashley Furniture expects to offset its electrical energy needs by 35%. Their efforts will generate significant value for their business, their customers, and the environment.

The success of forward thinking companies, such as Vestre—tripling its turnover since 2012— and Ashley Furniture Industries—$5 million anticipated cost saving—is proving that sustainability is not only good for the planet, but also a positive influence on an organization’s financial performance.

Make smarter resource management decisions

Resource management is an important aspect of any organizations success, more so when competing in a contracting market shaped by the global COVID-19 crisis. If companies want to grow market share, reduce costs and expand into new markets it is vital to have the necessary capital, labor and raw material resources available in the proper quantities and at the right time.

The sustainability framework improves the decision-making process around resource management by empowering executives to think about the environmental impact of their actions to gain material savings, make best use of human capital and maximize financial performance.

The benefit of sustainability is that it permits furniture executives to meet the needs of their stakeholders without compromising their ability to meet the needs for future stakeholders. In short, executives are able to ensure their company’s longevity by making smarter decisions to manage resources more efficiently.

Build a strong partnership for success

When pursuing a sustainability agenda, companies will need to collaborate with a strategic technology partner to help them avoid key problems before they arise. Despite its reward for cost savings, it is no easy task to maintain competitiveness and profitability while using fewer resources.

A technology partner that is exciting to work with brings new opportunities to the table. They know how to both meet the demands of sustainability—reducing waste, using fewer resources, and saving energy—as well, as how to solve the core business needs that allow furniture companies to remain competitive in their industry: increasing operational uptime, reducing costs and improving productivity.  

Success in sustainability requires collaborating with a trusted stakeholder that is able to accurately monitor material consumption and maximize material yield to help use resources with greater efficiency; protect the safety of operators to maximize human capital ROI; and reduce associated operational costs by providing an integrated equipment, software and service offer to optimize workflow processes for shorter production cycles.

In essence, a partner that provides the tools and support needed to identify and solve emergent and complex problems related to resource management and cost savings. The key challenge when implementing a sustainability initiative is to overcome design and product development complexity so that executives can make smarter resource planning and cost estimating decisions.

Enhance business performance

Achieving sustainability in collaboration with a trusted technology partner goes beyond simply being compliant with local environmental and labor laws or conforming to the expectations of international organizations; it puts furniture industry leaders back in the driver’s seat, giving them the power to direct and control their operations in a way that suits the trending challenges of their industry.

Furniture executives framing their management and strategic decisions around the environmental, economic, and social pillars of sustainability are improving the overall performance of their organizations; cultivating a more positive brand image and a reputation for trust; and ensuring future viability for their company and our planet.

It is super important to optimize for success by preparing for the future. Smarter resource management not only reduces waste and improves productivity, giving companies a short-term boost in profitability; it also strengthens long-term resiliency and the ability for future generations to meet their needs.

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