Some days I come to work believing that not much has changed in our industry over the past 25 years. Manufacturers sell products that look a bit like they always have. Retailers buy stock, advertise price, sell and deliver. Personal relationships endure. Furniture Shows arrive with endless repetition... and, I'm still sitting at the same desk!
Other mornings, like this one, the world seems full of possibilities. As I proof read the articles in this issue, digest their content (for the fifth time), I see that most all of this edition's editorial content points to the fact that the furniture business sits at or near a tipping point.
It's hard to deny that we are on the cusp of generational change that is fundamentally altering the nature of our industry's workforce and customers. Supply chain automation is poised to take a quantum leap forward, moving products faster, smarter and more efficiently. Business intelligence and artificial intelligence advances promise to send intuitive financial, marketing and operations decision making the way of the passenger pigeon. And, we may see companies like Apple and Google force evolutionary change on this slow moving industry, introducing 'smart' furniture into the retail mix.
Depending on your age, talents and degree of positivity, it's enough to instill wonder or anxiety. As always, I encourage you to share your thoughts.
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.