The importance of storage trolley production to the furniture industry

Furniture manufacturers such as Chesterfield, The English Sofa Company and mattress manufacturers Glencraft continue to make furniture and bedding in British factories. They rely on storage trolleys to store and move furniture and components around their warehouses.

Furniture and bedding is one of the few remaining manufacturing sectors in the UK. According to the British Furniture Confederation, the furniture industry generates over £8bn a year in revenue and employs around 320,000 people. Furniture manufacturers supply home furnishing, office furniture and furniture for commercial premises.

Many types of trolleys

Many warehouses use either flatbed trolleys or trolleys with sides on to store goods. These are useful for furniture manufactures, but the issue with furniture is that it comes in many shapes and sizes. For example, a trolley suitable for storing mattresses is not the best for storing sofas. Some furniture comes in large boxes so requires box trolleys. Storage trolley production needs to be versatile to produce a wide range of trolleys.

Strength

Some furniture, such as large chairs, sofas and mattresses, is large and heavy. This means that these items require storage trolleys that can support their weight. The best material to use for these storage trolleys is tubular steel, which is both strong and lightweight. Tubular powder-coated steel lengths welded together support heavy loads and last a long time.

Premium quality swivel castors mean that storage trolleys are easy to pull, push and steer to safely move heavy furniture around the workplace.

Bespoke storage trolleys

Furniture manufacturers prefer using British made storage trolleys. One of the main advantages of this is that trolleys can easily be made in custom sizes, and there are no lengthy waits for items to be delivered.

Manufacturers have a wide range of storage trolleys suitable for most furniture items but sometimes a furniture manufacturer has a new line of furniture whose shape or size does not fit on a standard storage trolley. The solution is to have a bespoke storage trolley designed by a designer who will analyse the storage requirements and create a prototype storage trolley that can be tested and modified before committing to a full bespoke storage trolley production run.

Ideally, the trolley manufacturer will carry out all the manufacturing processes in house without outsourcing, as this will mean that the time from the design discussion to delivery of the finished trolleys is short.

Most manufacturers work closely with the furniture trade to develop new storage trolley designs. They discuss with business owners, managers and the staff who use trolleys daily to come up with ways to improve storage trolley designs.

Online furniture sales

The traditional way to buy furniture is to visit a retail shop and, for large items, wait several weeks after ordering for the furniture to be manufactured and delivered. Many people now do the bulk of their shopping online and some furniture manufacturers have set up websites to sell their goods directly to consumers online. In stock orders can be delivered in a matter of days, but sofas and other larger pieces may take a little longer. Several manufacturers feature made to order furniture that offers several colour, pattern and style options to make the furniture more individual.

To adapt to an online ordering system usually requires reorganising the manufacturing area and the storage space. A storage trolley manufacturer that also makes shelving systems can help by designing an efficient system for storing and picking furniture or components. They can also assist with the design and equipment of packing and dispatch stations. Software is also needed to process orders efficiently.

The future of the furniture industry

The British furniture industry has benefited from high consumer demand for its products but also faces stiff competition from imported furniture, particularly from China. Despite competition most furniture manufacturers remain profitable. British manufacturers export over £1bn worth of furniture every year mainly to Europe and the USA. Forecasters are therefore understandably optimistic about the future of the UK furniture industry.

Sofas and suites are a major purchase by households, with many wanting to invest in premium quality made in Britain brands. Many manufacturers make furniture mainly by hand, and the items are built to last a long time and look stylish.

There are many micro and small size furniture manufacturers in the UK who do not need large order volumes to keep in business. Some of them offer a custom design service to produce unique one-off pieces that will likely become high-priced antiques in the future.

No matter how small or large a manufacturer is, it needs efficient ways to store furniture and the components from which they are made. Storage trolley production will remain high to meet the demands of the furniture industry.

Many manufacturers in other industries are automating their production lines and storage facilities with robots and other systems that replace humans. There is some mechanism in the furniture industry, but there remains a high demand for largely manmade furniture. Most furniture manufacturers are not large enough to justify the expense of automated storage facilities, so they rely on human staff with storage trolleys to move and store furniture. They may use warehouse management software to process orders quickly and without error, but a factory and sales operation entirely run by robots remains some way off. Manufacturers of storage trolleys, shelves and other warehouse equipment will continue to supply equipment for use by humans for the foreseeable future.

Storage trolleys may be simple technology, but furniture manufacturers rely on them. If the trolleys are made well, there is little to go wrong with them and they should provide many years of continuous service. Furniture firms have a long term relationship with their manual handling equipment suppliers and as their business expands, they can expect that new equipment will be made to order and delivered on time.

British storage trolley manufactures provide excellent customer service and take pride in producing premium quality equipment that is designed to work well and last a long time. At Steely Products, we’re no exception. If you have any enquiries, why not fill in the form below?

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Posted by Katrina
31st July 2019
Furniture

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