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US Furniture Manufacturers Must Act Quickly and Boldly for Survival

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According to a report issued by Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos & Company (ABTV), a turnaround management firm and ALTMA Group, LLC company, U.S. furniture manufacturers have permanently lost the ability to compete globally based on price and quality and to survive must act quickly and boldly using the competitive advantages that still remain. The research, conducted from a wide variety of sources including recent interim management and consulting engagements by the firm, point to bold strategies that will free manufacturers from the crucial mistakes that have plagued them for more than a decade. "Focused strategies, combined with substantial improvements in brand management, represent the best hope of increased market share," said Mark Gillis, Executive Vice President of ABTV. His firm's recommendations include: - Effective Brand Management -- Manufacturers must determine how to position each brand for the intended target market. What product consumers think when they hear a brand is not as important as which brand they think of when they have a specific need. Awareness is not the problem -- image is. -Design Innovation -- Manufacturers need to invest in marketing research to best understand consumer trends. What is needed is an understanding of why consumers make selections. -Manufacturing Innovation -- While imports currently threaten low to medium price points, eventually they will be aimed at higher-priced products. Manufacturers must transform themselves into innovative research and design centers. It will take revolutionary new products, not incremental improvements, to win the battle of increased market share. -Smart Distribution Channels -- Selling direct to the consumer is risky at best. Manufacturers have enough problems in their own sector without trying to be retailers as well. A better strategy is to partner with experienced retailers and stay focused on the core business. "In short, furniture manufacturers need to be proactive, not reactive," said Gillis. "Depending on protective tariffs is a losing strategy. Household furniture imports rose again in 2004 at an expected 12 percent and they'll rise again in 2005. It's time for manufacturers to stop being defensive and go on the offense with bold marketing strategies before it's too late." The report on the furniture industry was conducted as part of Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos IndustryWatch (TM) series. For a full copy of this report, call the number at the top of this release. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, ABTV is an ALTMA Group, LLC company which has offices in Charlotte, Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, Connecticut, San Francisco and Newport Beach. SOURCE Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos & Company http://www.abtv.com/