The 4 Furniture industry drivers that demand manufacturing optimization

How customization, complexity, convenience and speed impact furniture manufacturing processes – and underscore the need for maximum efficiency.

The 4 Furniture Industry Drivers That Demand Manufacturing Optimization

Today’s furniture-buying landscape is changing at rapid speed, which only underscores the importance of ensuring production processes are operating at maximum efficiency. And with the introduction of digitalization and Industry 4.0, there’s never been a better time for manufacturers to rethink how efficiently they’re able to get products to market.

The rise of customization, complexity, convenience and speed all have an impact on furniture manufacturing processes and are emphasizing the adverse effects of production inefficiencies. But by focusing on production optimization, throughput and limiting cost per piece, furniture manufacturers can streamline production processes to meet new industry demands while making a positive impact on customers and the bottom line.

Let’s dive into some of the industry’s biggest drivers to better understand their impact on the furniture manufacturing process – and the need for speed.



Millennials have been buying more furniture than any other generation since 2014  and have grown up in a time where customization and “I want it now” gratification is the norm. In their mission to embrace individuality, design of personal living space is becoming increasingly important, with research from KPMG  revealing that 40 percent of consumers want to purchase products nobody else has.

Customization is here to stay, and it comes with great opportunity. According to Deloitte consumer research , the majority of consumers are willing to pay more for a customized product or service, particularly for products in more expensive categories.

Implications for furniture manufacturers:

More customization means offering more collections and options to reflect a variety of lifestyles and unique personalities. This inevitability creates complexity for furniture manufacturing processes that can easily drain productivity, efficiency and profitability.



Because customers expect technology to be infused into every aspect of their lives, it’s creating waves in furniture manufacturing. With an increased demand for smart furniture, including USB ports, light-up cupholders, power recliners, and even furniture that is able to monitor and record health-related data, furniture manufacturing has literally gone high-tech.

The addition of technology has only increased the complexity of manufacturing, but modular pieces, complex materials, managing one-off pieces and small collections are all adding to the assortment of highly complex options.

Implications for furniture manufacturers:

While furniture manufacturing is already intricate enough, new complexities and possibilities mean manufacturers are managing new suppliers, complex components, and testing brand-new designs and configurations. These emerging market demands are adding a level of complexity that can wreak havoc on traditional furniture production processes that were created for simpler times.



According to the Furniture Ecommerce Report , 80 percent of consumers research furniture choices online before making a purchase, emphasizing the opportunities in global business growth via e-commerce. But despite the ease of online shopping, many furniture shoppers have been slower to embrace buying furniture online because of the significant investment and the desire to see and feel it before purchasing.

Nowadays, however, the mentality is shifting. According to Statista’s Digital Market Outlook , worldwide online furniture sales are expected to grow annually at a rate of 11.9 percent between 2018 and 2022.

Implications for furniture manufacturers:

Although furniture is expensive to ship because of its size and logistical complexity, there’s enormous potential in e-commerce for furniture manufacturers. To maximize the potential, companies will need to strike the right balance of creating quickly, limiting production interruptions and keeping costs low so they can focus on making it convenient for customers to buy.



The era of Amazon has fundamentally changed expectations on delivery speed. With millennials leading the way, consumers have become accustomed to purchasing online and having products arrive in 48 hours or less.

However, operators know they can’t reduce logistics times. In fact, delivery times in the past four years have decreased, on average, by 40 percent , intensifying the importance of saving time between order and delivery.

Implications for furniture manufacturers:

High expectations for quick delivery have made their way to the furniture industry – compelling manufacturers to create increasingly complex and highly customized products that are available at the right time, often with fast and free delivery. The more furniture manufacturers can strike the right balance of selection, quality and speed – and limit the time between initial order and final delivery – the better they’ll be able to capitalize on these opportunities.


Are You Equipped to Adapt to Market Shifts?

The fast-paced and shifting market presents an opportunity for furniture manufacturers to rethink how they create and deliver to customers. At the core of this shift is ensuring product development efficiency and intuitive processes – streamlining from design and prototyping, to production and delivery.

Being able to quickly react and adapt to market shifts is crucial to success, so it should be no surprise that boosting efficiency is a top priority among nearly a quarter of furniture manufacturers, according to a recent CSIL and Lectra survey.  Many manufacturers are focusing their efforts on how to streamline production processes, so they can achieve other pressing priorities, such as reducing time to market and increasing margins.

To learn more about how to increase efficiency, limit interruptions and optimize your production processes, access our guide , “An Industry (Un)Interrupted: Four Ways to Prevent Production Interruption with Industry 4.0 Technologies.”