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Rochdale News | Business News | Manufacturers in Rochdale borough urged to use home improvement boom as catalyst for digital transformation

Release Date: 19 July 2022

Furniture and home goods manufacturers in Rochdale and Middleton are being urged to use the ongoing home improvement boom as a catalyst for digital transformation.

The sofa, bed and upholstery manufacturing sectors are facing a challenging period after the pandemic, Brexit and rising inflation.

However, huge demand for interior design, home and garden products and customization, as well as a further shift to online shopping – driven by a lockdown-induced focus on home upgrades – looks set to continue, presenting a significant opportunity to manufacturers.

The ongoing renovation boom means the UK furniture and home furnishings market, worth an estimated £14bn and the second largest in Europe, is forecast to grow by around 3% in 2022.

Five SMEs in Rochdale and Middleton are among 140 working with the Made Smarters adoption program in the North West to navigate the many challenges and capitalize on changing trends. By tapping into unbiased expert technology and skills advice and digital transformation workshops, Made Smarter is helping them take the first step.

These include: Arthur Morgan Kitchens and Bedrooms (Rochdale); Newhey Carpets (Rochdale); Performance Dorset Solutions (Rochdale) and Northern Fire Solutions (Middleton).

Meanwhile, others, including Crystal Doors (Rochdale), supported by matching funding, are investing in new digital technologies to become more efficient, build resilience, boost productivity and sustainable growth and create new high-value jobs.

Made Smarter, which has supported hundreds of businesses to add an additional £176 million in gross value, is now keen to reach more SMEs across the furniture and home goods supply chain. They have created a free guide to help them overcome digitalization and embrace technology.

The downloadable guide showcases the benefits of digital technology, how to get started, top five technology trends across the sector and business case studies supported by Made Smarter, including furniture maker Starlite Bedroom and fabric and upholstery specialist Panaj.

Donna Edwards, Program Director of the Made Smarter Adoption Program in the North West, said: “While UK manufacturing is facing a challenging period, it also presents an opportunity to innovate and transform. Businesses working with Made Smarter over the past three years have shown that investment in technology and digital skills is resilient. can create and enable them to keep pace with the fast moving industry.

“Digital tools can help manufacturers save margins, differentiate themselves from competitors in a volatile time, make products faster, cost-effectively and more efficiently.

“Working with Made Smarter we’re helping businesses incrementally introduce technology, providing the most funding and support to minimize the impact on budgets.

“To demystify digitalization and help SMEs take their first steps, we have developed some important guidelines as well as explaining why implementing digital tools in this sector is such a priority.”

Crystal Doors, a Rochdale-based manufacturer of bespoke vinyl wrapped furniture components, has invested in a data and systems integration project that will deploy a network of sensors linking their machines via the cloud to a dashboard. This will enable Crystal to gain insight into how its machines are performing and identify potential efficiencies.

Ben Horne, Digital Transformation Program Manager, said: “Our digitization plan is ambitious and will introduce technologies and concepts that are brand new to employees. Cultural change must be managed properly. We don’t want anyone to be left behind, so training and transitions need to be as easy and intuitive as possible. Developing our employees is key to its success.

Praising the impact of the programme, Jonathan Hindle, chairman of the British Furniture Confederation, a group representing the UK’s five main trade associations representing furniture manufacturers, said: “The tremendous success of the Made Smarter Adoption program in the North West, and the support it is now giving to the sector in other parts of the UK, is SMEs have demonstrated the value of targeted support to help manufacturers take the first steps on their digitization journey.

“The UK furniture manufacturing industry has a global reputation for quality and innovation, combining skilled design and craftsmanship with the latest technology. To maintain that achievement and ensure the UK remains competitive against global competition, manufacturers need to embrace current and emerging technologies, and the huge potential digitization offers. , as well as to maximize the efficiency and productivity of those who work in our sector.”

To download the free guide visit:

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