__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

www.euroforceltd.com feature euroforce

Tel: 01204 393 000

SUPPLYING THE DEMAND Supplying the demand FEATURE EUROFORCE Following nearly two decades of manufacturers moving production to european countries to slash operation costs, an increasing number of manufacturers have upped production in the uK in recent years to capitalise on the monetary benefits

WORKING WONDERS

WORKING WONDERS

Simon Hayton

feature euroforce

eurofor

Support SHOWING SUPPORT

Simon Hayton Euroforce headquarters

The team responsible for sourcing skilled workers

arly signs are pointing to an incredibly busy

WORKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE


feature euroforce

Supplying the demand Following nearly two decades of manufacturers moving production to European countries to slash operation costs, an increasing number of manufacturers have upped production in the UK in recent years to capitalise on the monetary benefits For many companies wishing to supply furniture to the UK the choice of whether to manufacture in Britain or somewhere in Europe was simple – 15 years ago. From a macroeconomic point of view, the cost to produce in China or European countries such as Poland was much cheaper, due to the cost of the labour, raw materials and general manufacturing costs in

Britain. At the time this was deemed good business sense, but with shipping costs from both Europe and China increasing over the past couple of years, more suppliers have moved production back to the UK. However, while manufacturing in the UK is great for the economy and UK retailers – due to reduced lead times – the catch 22 is that as

16 | www.cabinet-maker.co.uk | 10 June 2011

production has moved abroad the number of workers in Britain with the skills to traditionally manufacture upholstery products has diminished. This is where Euroforce comes in. “Euroforce is a specialist recruiter to the furniture and textiles industry with an emphasis on sourcing high calibre workers from Europe, in particular Poland,” says Simon

Hayton at Euroforce. Simon’s crack resourcing team at Euroforce search and select workers from the UK and Europe to work on temporary to permanent contracts – something which Simon and his clients say is crucial, as a manufacturer doesn’t know how long they’ll necessarily need workers for. “One of the key points that our service allows is flexibility, as


feature euroforce

A

t any one time we have a pool of candidates that we’ve already sourced that are ready to come to the UK the roof, it’s becoming much more of a viable option to manufacture in the UK again.”

Quick and reliable service

Liam McBride and Simon Hayton of Euroforce

we provide these workers on a temporary basis, initially. So, if a manufacturer wins a massive new account with a retailer they don’t know whether that work will continue for six weeks, six months or six years. “Therefore if they offer upholsterers full time jobs and sales forecasts don’t pan out they’ve got a problem. With our solution they can employ temporary workers and flex their workforce as production demands require.” British manufacturer Buoyant Upholstery has been using Euroforce’s services since 2009, and during that time it has tested over 220 skilled candidates, with over 150 of those starting jobs with Buoyant. Since then more than half of those workers have been offered full time permanent contracts with the firm – something which both businesses are incredibly proud of. Sally Blackburn, HR Manager at Buoyant Upholstery, said: “As a competitive business we are always looking to find top quality, skilled manufacturing workers, such as upholsterers, sewing machinists and frame assemblers, so the opportunity to partner with a recruitment firm who understood this sector was highly attractive. “The key to the recruitment

solution offered by Euroforce was the fact that they supplied these candidates to us on a temporary basis. This meant that we could add to the workforce without undue fear of overburdening ourselves as we entered a period of fast paced growth. If for any reason production numbers slowed, which they haven’t, we always knew that we could adjust the manufacturing team accordingly – this has given us complete flexibility with our labour planning and for the first time, complete control over how we forward plan our manufacturing capacity to better supply our valued customers. Although Simon agrees that transportation costs and exchange rates are a big cause for manufacturers moving production back to the UK, he believes that it isn’t just a cost issue, but also a consequence of large sofa retailers needing to be on-trend. Simon says: “If you’re a retailer and you’ve got thousands of suites that currently aren’t selling well coming in containers from China you’ve got a problem. “The ability to modify models, to react to quality issues or consumer trends is key and as the cost of freight from China and Europe is going through

18 | www.cabinet-maker.co.uk | 10 June 2011

Having supplied workers for a vast number of companies in the furniture trade, Simon says that the recruitment process – from first speaking to an individual in Poland to them starting work – is around two to three weeks. Sally Blackburn confirms that the quality of candidate from Euroforce is high. “We test every candidate that Euroforce supplies, ahead of them starting work in our business, so we know the quality that we are getting every time, and to date the pass rate is over 70%, which we are very pleased with’” says Sally. “Not only is the quality there, but there have been times when we have needed very high volumes of new workers in often tight timescales, and they have always been able to deliver for us.” Simon says: “At any one time we have a pool of candidates that we’ve already sourced that are ready to come to the UK. We bring the workers to the UK and arrange everything from Buoyant Upholstery is one of Euroforce’s clients

organising a national insurance number and bank account to sorting accommodation and of course taking them to test with their new employer. It’s a full service and it’s free to the candidate.” At a time when manufacturers margins are being eroded due to increased prices of raw materials, shipping costs and other operational costs, Euroforce’s service seems to offer a solution to keeping labour costs at a manageable rate. However, what impact this will have on the sustained growth of Britain’s own craftsmen remains uncertain. Sally Blackburn said: “As we continue to move forward with Euroforce, we are always fine tuning the way we work, but it has clearly become a two way partnership, with Buoyant setting out its requirements and expectations, and Euroforce offering consultative advice as to the best way to achieve these goals. The relationship is built on trust and mutual understanding and we look forward to continuing this important work with Euroforce alongside us, as we continually strive to take our business forward in this tough and challenging market.”

For more information visit

www.euroforceltd.com


FEATURE EUROFORCE

WORKING WONDERS Simon Hayton

Cabinet Maker talks to Simon Hayton of Euroforce People Solutions about sponsoring the 1st Branded Furniture Show and the search for highly skilled workers

It doesn’t matter what industry or professional environment you work in, the phrase; ‘you just can’t get the staff these days’ seems to have become something of a motto in the UK. Now while it is often used in jest, the fact is that in many cases it is an uncomfortable and undeniable truth. This of course seems drastically at odds with a country, which currently has 2.61 million people out of work, including record levels of youth unemployment. But while a generation of young people are struggling to find work having graduated from college and university with qualifications in ‘much needed’ areas such as Interpretive Dance, Advanced Pet Grooming and Equine Psychology, the manufacturing industry is positively crying out for highly skilled workers. So how should people in manufacturing and the furniture industry seek to fill these vital positions when home-grown talent is in such desperately short supply? To find out just that, Cabinet Maker spoke to Simon Hayton, director at Euroforce People Solutions. Euroforce is an international recruitment consultancy based in Bolton that specialises in sourcing highly skilled workers from across Europe to fill skilled jobs in niche sectors, including the furniture industry. Discussing the business and its role in providing skilled candidates to

meet the demand of the UK furniture industry, Simon tells us: “We started focusing on the furniture industry around six years ago. At that time a lot of manufacturing firms were toying with the idea of increasing production in the UK, but there was a critical shortage of the required skilled staff – upholsterers, sewing machinists, cutters, frame assemblers and cabinet makers. This made it impossible to increase production without the necessary staff. Over the last few years we have gone a long way to plugging that gap.” As previously discussed, high levels of unemployment continue to cast a shadow over much of the UK. So what exactly does Simon see as the main cause for the absence of skilled UK workers? “I think many traditional manufacturing industries in the UK have dwindled over the last 30 or 40 years. A lack of capital investment in tired, rundown factories, coupled with the ability to outsource volume production to the Far East and Eastern Europe, and the availability of cheaper labour abroad has meant that for many years we have just not been a competitive place to manufacture. “As a result this skill base has gradually been redeployed into other sectors as UK manufacturers sent their order book abroad. Sadly, once the skill is lost it is very hard to replace, because the cost of retraining

34 | www.cabinet-maker.co.uk | 13 July 2012

is huge, and attracting younger people into what is viewed as a relatively unglamorous factory environment is not easy.” While it is certainly disappointing to hear of the reluctance for young people to pursue a career in manufacturing and the resultant loss of valued skills it has created, there are still positives for UK manufacturing. Euroforce is seeing an increasing demand for workers in the furniture sector. Despite the ongoing lack of confidence in the nation’s economy, it seems that areas of the furniture industry are still trying their best to expand. Discussing the factors behind this, Simon explains:“In recent years there has been a real u-turn. Furniture has become so trend-led that many firms

are struggling with the lead times when producing abroad. There are also quality issues that need to be overcome, and many of the factories in the Far East are not so interested in working with European partners anymore – their domestic market is providing ample demand for their cheaper products. “Meanwhile, in Europe, rising standards of living has meant that labour is no longer as cheap as it used to be, plus the cost of shipping the finished goods into the UK has increased massively of late. It is clear to us that the UK is looking to massively increase its ability to start making quality furniture again in this country, and our clients tell us that the service we provide is facilitating that growth.” In addition to sourcing the hard-to-find employees required for some of the industry’s most in-demand roles, Euroforce is offering further support to the industry by sponsoring the upcoming Branded Furniture Show. Talking about Euroforce’s decision to sponsor the event, Simon says: “We have had a strong relationship with a number of the key stakeholders for some time, so we were really keen to get involved. When we were asked to come onboard we were absolutely delighted because we feel that the industry needs to keep innovating and shows like this keep the product fresh and the market active. “As the number one supplier of skilled staff to the sector we want to ensure we remain at the forefront of the furniture industry and we’re hoping


FEATURE EUROFORCE

our sponsorship will help us consolidate existing relationships while building a few new ones.” While Euroforce is more than capable of supplying the skilled European workers currently necessary to keep UK manufacturing functioning, what, if anything can be done to inspire a new generation to learn a trade and usher in a new era of skilled UK craftspeople for the future? “For a number of years, the UK has been moving towards more service sectors such as IT, Banking and Finance, leaving the traditional manufacturing base to fall into a period of stagnation. Poland by comparison has had inward investment into its manufacturing capacity for decades to facilitate the orders coming in from the UK and other countries, so learning a trade like upholstery was, and is, seen as worthwhile. They have Technical Schools that train many key trades and these courses are still seen as prestigious and soughtafter routes into a ‘job for life’ profession. “It is my view that there needs to be a concerted effort to promote the industry to the UK’s future workforce. We were recently with a key client of ours, Boss Design, a large scale prestigious contract manufacturer and they told us how they are now holding careers events with all their local schools, showing school leavers how a career in furniture is actually not what they might expect. It is this kind of lateral thinking and fresh approach to recruiting the industry’s future talent that I believe is needed. Euroforce would certainly love

to get involved in some way, as I believe we could help generate a new influx of home-grown talent who would add value to the sector for years,” says Simon. Of course one possible solution to facilitate this area would be for more businesses to introduce apprenticeship schemes. But are training initiatives of this nature really a viable option in the furniture industry, or could they create as many problems as they solve in the present economic climate? “As I’ve previously said, as much as we are satisfying an immediate demand with the workers we supply, it would be fantastic to see the emergence of a new wave of British workers trained here in this country from scratch. We have even looked into the whole viability of apprenticeships in the UK furniture industry and whether we could get involved in some way. I think the main problem is that upholstery and cabinetry in particular takes time to learn properly and many firms just haven’t got the time to make that investment.” The effect the ongoing downturn is having on businesses’ abilities to expand and recruit, let alone completely train new staff, is abundantly clear. However, Simon does believe that in the current environment, investing in the effective recruitment of the best possible candidates by those businesses that are able to do so is more important than ever. “Investing in effective recruitment in the current market is, in a word, vital. The interesting thing with the furniture sector is that there is no formula to

36 | www.cabinet-maker.co.uk | 13 July 2012

success it would seem. Clearly if a firm is using Euroforce then they must be recruiting new staff, which in itself says that they must be doing relatively well, but there are no hard and fast rules in today’s tough business climate. There are, however, a number of common denominators that most of our clients seemed to have followed over the last three or four years. “Firstly, all of them have had to look at their products and innovate through better design and keener pricing, while keeping an eye on quality and driving down lead times. Secondly, there seems to have been some consolidation of suppliers in the marketplace, which has meant that the more commercial operators have been able to mop up market share. This of course bodes well for them when the economy returns to some form of growth. “Finally, I feel that the businesses that are riding out the downturn and are indeed thriving, are those that have looked at how best to maximise the potential and output of their key asset, their people. We have worked with some amazingly dynamic firms over the last few years, helping them add numbers to their team, change shift patterns, add split shift working in some instances, and in the case of one of our clients – Buoyant Upholstery – add a whole night shift operation to allow them to drive production at key times of the year.” Euroforce’s recruitment expertise and professional insight is clearly in great demand, and not just from the furniture industry. As a large

consultancy that is active in a number of different sectors, they are providing invaluable recruitment advice to a diverse range of businesses across the UK. But how is the furniture industry job market performing in comparison to other business sectors? “I think the job market as a whole in furniture is one of feast and famine, with those firms that have ridden the downturn looking for staff and the ones that are struggling obviously looking to shed them. The issue, traditionally, has been that because there hasn’t been any ‘new blood’ in the industry for so long, often the same people would move around from firm to firm, whether they were the answer to a company’s problems or not. “I hope that what we have done in the industry for the last six years has given many businesses an alternative, and often a new lease of life as they can start manufacturing again,” Simon evaluates, continuing: “In relation to other sectors that we operate in like Textiles, Retail and Engineering, I think it is generally tough out there with many of the same characteristics: the firms that are adapting and reinventing themselves are finding new ways to make their margin, while others less fortunate are really feeling the squeeze and many will struggle to last the year.” Euroforce’s ability to gauge prevailing business conditions across multiple sectors via the analysis of labour market requirements, and the successful initiatives implemented by its many clients also add another invaluable facet to the company’s expertise. Explaining this further and highlighting Euroforce’s aims for the future, Simon concludes: “We are now often used as Business Consultants capable of advising on best practice, developing implementation strategies and helping firms take their business forward – I hope that we can continue adding this kind of long term value, because this is what I believe is remembered long after we have simply ‘supplied staff’. ■ FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT

www.euroforceltd.com


feature euroforce

Support

First Branded Show sponsor Euroforce discusses the evolution of its success and its vision for the future Simon Hayton

When the First Branded Furniture Show opened its doors on 30 September, Simon Hayton – director of Euroforce People Solutions, which was sponsoring the event – was one of the most enthusiastic people in attendance. The specialist recruitment agency has been a staunch supporter of UK manufacturing for several years and the show marked a significant moment for the company’s ongoing efforts to aid the furniture industry. To find out how Euroforce has established itself as a champion for UK manufacturing, Cabinet Maker spoke to Simon about the company’s origins, its evolution and its plans for future development. “As a business we were initially focused on the construction and engineering sectors, but following an enquiry by a very large upholstery manufacturer, we realised the potential that existed in the furniture sector. What became clear was that there was nobody of any scale delivering in this marketplace, so we felt the time was right to exploit this niche. We have had a very steep learning curve because the industry has so many subtle nuances, one size certainly doesn’t fit all, but I feel comfortable to say that there is very little that fazes us anymore,” says Simon. “From the outset we were a business capable of supplying throughout the UK, but initially we concentrated on building our reputation with nine or 10 clients. We built a resourcing team that was capable of handling large volume clients – we have 50 to 60 workers at some of our larger sites – and then refined our services to

Euroforce headquarters

The team responsible for sourcing skilled workers

E

arly signs are pointing to an incredibly busy close to the year

make sure we could handle the workload we expected to follow. We have grown our client base to over 75 of the UK’s top furniture manufacturers, and are incredibly proud to be the number one supplier to the industry.” Since the company’s inception there has obviously been a great deal of upheaval in industry and manufacturing. But has Simon seen a noticeable change in the demand for the company’s services from the furniture industry? “Issues like logistical expense, exchange rates, lead times and quality control has meant that

18 | www.cabinet-maker.co.uk | 05 October 2012

‘cheaper’ outsourcing is not as attractive as it once was. So the need for skilled workers has grown dramatically. The tougher commercial outlook has also driven firms to expect more ‘bang for their buck’ and so the calibre of workers we supply has had to increase to satisfy very discerning clients. “The other factor which has come into play has been the urgency with which firms need staff – we need to be able to react to very short timescales as manufacturers are trying to cut lead times to remain competitive.” In order to meet the furniture

sector’s growing demands, the company has had to rapidly develop its knowledge of what was, to begin with, an unknown area to them. Simon remembers: “Back when we were first asked to supply skilled sewing machinists, we had links with Europen workers through our previous work and utilised this. Admittedly, it was a steep learning curve but we delivered, and subsequently were asked to source other roles. The timing for us was key, as this was just prior to the recession taking hold and provided us time to research and understand where the potential demand


euroforce feature could lie. “Initially we supplied three key skilled roles to the industry; Upholstery, Sewing and Frame Making – looking back, while we understood the basic roles themselves, we didn’t have the depth of knowledge we now do in respect of the individual specialisms across furniture production. We’ve now reached the stage where we offer a consultancy service to all clients in the furniture industry, advising on not only the selection of skilled workers, but shift implementation, pay rates, incentive schemes and team structures.” As the company’s close involvement with the industry has increased so has its dedication to supporting it. And indeed, it was the desire to support the industry that led to its sponsorship of the First Branded Furniture Show. “The event showcased some of the UK’s best known furniture brands and we felt that it was really important to be involved from the beginning. Some of our biggest clients exhibited at the show and we wanted to get behind the event as much as possible to show support to the sector.” Attending events like the First Branded Show is an ideal way for Euroforce to stay abreast of industry trends and requirements. This information is then used in conjunction with other modes of market analysis to identify future areas of demand. So what are Simon’s long term predictions for the industry? “We have seen a general contraction of the industry, which in my opinion has been happening even prior to the general economic downturn. I would argue that this downward manufacturing spiral was created in part by the UK’s obsession with sending production abroad, particularly the Far East. However, I firmly believe that there is a groundswell building for Britishmade product. We have seen it in the automotive industry, where British marques like Rolls Royce, Range Rover, Aston Martin and Jaguar are still some of the most sought after brands in the world,” Simon says confidently. “I think the same goodwill is

there for British-made furniture, and those firms that have started to bring production back to the UK are finding that there is huge demand for their product. I have recently been speaking with a very large brand that are receiving significant interest from the Chinese market for their product, so we may soon see British furniture exported on a large scale back to the Far East, which really brings the story full circle.” Reinforcing this theory is the current demand the company is experiencing from the industry. Simon reveals: “In the past there has always been a pattern of peak from August to March/ April and a quieter summer. This year, however, we did not really witness the normal summer slowdown. We are speaking to firms all the time who used to manufacture abroad, but who are now finding it far more profitable to base production in the UK again. The biggest barrier to doing that however is the lack of skilled staff – which is where we come in. “Since August, with many of our clients, we have seen a big increase in, not only the demand, but also the ability to better-forecast production growth going forward. And the early signs are pointing to an incredibly busy close to the year.” The company’s unique vision in indentifying potential changes in the marketplace typifies its forwarding thinking approach. So with his long term predictions for the furniture industry so optimistic, what are Simon’s plans for the future of Euroforce? “Over the last few years we have been increasingly asked for in-depth advice on some quite specific business challenges in a consultancy capacity. It’s particularly rewarding to be asked to advise on some very significant developments. The other area of growth we have experienced recently has been the recruitment of more senior management for some of our key clients. This is something, as a headhunter, I am keen to develop further over the next 12 months.”

“This proves advertising does work if it’s done properly.” “The original sales target was smashed - we took about 65% of current annual turnover during the 17 day sales event. Your event manager was fantastic he fitted in well and got on so well with everyone. I believe it worked so well because Greenwood were behind it, guiding us through the whole event.” Trissie Beard. M. D. BROOK LEISURE. Surrey.

Generate instant sales & profit for your business... Greenwood plan and organise more sales events for quality independent retailers in the UK and Ireland than any other sales company. Why not find out more about holding a Greenwood sales event in your store or group. You can expect to generate from 25% to 100% of your annual sales in a 3 week event, at good margin. A more accurate sales projection can be estimated after a brief free consultation – either on site or over the telephone. Call us now to request our Information Pack, or to discuss how one of our Sales Events could work for you.

01625 521010

Or go online and visit our website at:

www.greenwoodretail.com

GREENWOOD RETAIL LTD

Britain’s Leading Experts in Retail Sales Promotion 1 Wilmslow House, Grove Way, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AG sales@greenwoodretail.com www.greenwoodretail.com

For more information visit

www.euroforceltd.com

05 October 2012 | www.cabinet-maker.co.uk | 19


BRANDED FURNITURE SHOW

BRANDED FURNITURE SHOW

Working Towards The Future Simon Hayton, managing director of employment specialists and Branded Furniture Show sponsors Euroforce, provides a unique insight into modern UK manufacturing

Simon Hayton In recent weeks many businesses in the UK have been experiencing a strange and unfamiliar sensation. But fear not, this isn’t the premature onset of the annual norovirus panic we experience each winter, but instead a feeling that is rather more welcome, that of optimism. Following a few uncharacteristically positive business stories being highlighted in the national media recently, some of the dark clouds that have hung over British manufacturing and retail for the past four and a half years have begun to dissipate and are now giving way to – dare we say it – confidence. And one area that has been selected for particular praise has been manufacturing, which, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), has seen some of its strongest growth in years. But before we all break out the party hats and streamers and put a down payment on that yacht, Cabinet Maker decided

to investigate the validity of the claims a little further. After all, it’s not as though it’s unheard of for announcements by governmental departments ending up being a false dawn. So to get the lowdown on where UK furniture manufacturing is really at, we spoke with Simon Hayton, a man who, as managing director of one of the UK’s leading provider of skilled workers to businesses across the entire manufacturing spectrum, is better placed to comment on any increase in manufacturing than almost anyone. So has Simon seen evidence to suggest that UK manufacturing is indeed enjoying a resurgence? “Euroforce has had another incredibly busy year, with demand for our services up over 60% like for like on last year. We work across many areas of the furniture and textile

18 | www.cabinet-maker.co.uk | 27 September 2013

industry from upholstery to beds and cabinetry, right the way through to the automotive and aerospace sector. The UK furniture industry is still very fragmented in its fortunes, however, with many manufacturers struggling in what is still a tough market place, while others are coming out of the downturn in great shape and building market share each quarter. The common denominator in all the firms we supply is their ability to adapt to these challenges and come out the other side a stronger business.” A 60% increase in demand for skilled manufacturing workers is certainly an encouraging indicator to support the announcements that UK manufacturing is once again on the rise. So what does the future landscape look

like for the furniture industry in particular, and which sectors have seen the strongest signs of recovery? “Without a doubt, the upholstery sector has been the most resilient. There has been a definite consolidation in that sector, with some major players falling by the wayside, leading to a number of firms experiencing rapid growth as they grab market share from the poorer performers,” Simon reveals, continuing: ”Some of our major corporate clients in this sector like Buoyant, Westbridge, Lebus, Quality Furniture Company and White Meadow are really pushing on this year, which is fantastic for our partnerships. Equally, a lot of the smaller, more niche firms are really starting to turn corners and we are finding that they are now feeling more confident than they have for a number of years, which is great to see.” While the status of the upholstery sector is perhaps unsurprising and consistent with what the market has seen throughout the past few years, there are also positive signs for other sectors as well. Discussing the areas in which Euroforce has been distributing labour across the industry, Simon tells us: “As you would expect, we dominate the upholstery sector, so the supply of all the traditional skills from upholsterers to frame assemblers and cutters to

sewing machinists is where we supply volume numbers, but this past year has seen us growing our business in other areas from beds to cabinets to soft furnishings.” The wealth of new jobs created from the increasing demand for British made product is of course a positive step forward for the nation’s economy. And as Simon explains, the new roles being created are at every level of the businesses recruiting. “We supply a very healthy number of UK staff to our clients, because wherever possible, we will exhaust all local avenues first to ensure that the traditional British labour market has been offered these opportunities. However, there is a definite need to be able to ‘tap into’ available skilled staff at very short notice – we are often required to supply key workers within seven days for example. This simply would not be possible if there was the need to train individuals from scratch, so Euroforce has to react to that demand by scouring Europe for the best available talent. That being said, while there is an influx of skilled workers arriving from Europe to satisfy production demands, this clearly creates a knock on effect with job creation across other areas of production, which are easier to train and develop UK-based workers in. “This year has also seen a definite increase in the number of permanent placements we have been asked to deliver. We have a team that specialises in filling assignments for more specialist roles within design & development, production managers, shift managers, general managers and directors. This definitely shows that there is a real confidence returning to start hiring more senior staff that can add long-term value to a business and we hope to see this continue, because I believe it is a real barometer of how the sector as a whole is faring.” The active recruitment of specialist roles is by no means the only significant sea change that Simon has identified within the industry during the past 12 months. In fact, one particular trend Euroforce has witnessed should serve to create even more

optimism for manufacturers. “One particularly striking factor that we have noticed is that there are a number of major retailers who are currently making moves to really grow their product offering with UK manufactured product. There has been plenty of coverage recently in the press about Westbridge’s blossoming relationship with Ikea, but there are a few other major players who are going to be making moves to develop their product over the next year, which is really exciting for the industry and a great opportunity for Euroforce.” With the vast level of access Simon has to view market behaviour and trends across a multitude of sectors, he understandably has a rather unique insight into the furniture industry. So having confirmed the current reports that manufacturing is indeed enjoying a revival, what are Simon’s projections for the industry in the coming 12 months? “I think the economy will continue to make the sector a volatile place to operate, but after years of uncertainty, I do believe that many firms in the UK are finally starting to feel

T

here is a real confidence returning to start hiring more senior staff that can add long-term value to a business, which I believe is a real barometer of how the sector as a whole is faring

that a corner has been turned. With regards to the furniture industry specifically, I think there will be much more of the same – a number of businesses pushing on and really developing their products and market share, while at the same time, sadly, I expect that we will see some longstanding industry names leave the sector for good,” Simon suggests, before concluding: “But I do think there is an immense goodwill and feel good factor associated with UK manufactured product, from furniture to clothing and cars to textiles. I expect the upholstery sector to continue to be very busy over the next 12 months, but alongside this sector, there are definite trends that we are seeing for clothing and textile manufacturers to look to emulate the UK furniture industry by bringing production back to these shores. So I think there could be some really impressive retail led partnerships announced within the furniture industry as they look to secure their UK-based manufacturing suppliers.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT

www.euroforceltd.com

27 September 2013 | www.cabinet-maker.co.uk | 19


BRANDED FURNITURE SHOW

BRANDED FURNITURE SHOW

Working Towards The Future Simon Hayton, managing director of employment specialists and Branded Furniture Show sponsors Euroforce, provides a unique insight into modern UK manufacturing

Simon Hayton In recent weeks many businesses in the UK have been experiencing a strange and unfamiliar sensation. But fear not, this isn’t the premature onset of the annual norovirus panic we experience each winter, but instead a feeling that is rather more welcome, that of optimism. Following a few uncharacteristically positive business stories being highlighted in the national media recently, some of the dark clouds that have hung over British manufacturing and retail for the past four and a half years have begun to dissipate and are now giving way to – dare we say it – confidence. And one area that has been selected for particular praise has been manufacturing, which, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), has seen some of its strongest growth in years. But before we all break out the party hats and streamers and put a down payment on that yacht, Cabinet Maker decided

to investigate the validity of the claims a little further. After all, it’s not as though it’s unheard of for announcements by governmental departments ending up being a false dawn. So to get the lowdown on where UK furniture manufacturing is really at, we spoke with Simon Hayton, a man who, as managing director of one of the UK’s leading provider of skilled workers to businesses across the entire manufacturing spectrum, is better placed to comment on any increase in manufacturing than almost anyone. So has Simon seen evidence to suggest that UK manufacturing is indeed enjoying a resurgence? “Euroforce has had another incredibly busy year, with demand for our services up over 60% like for like on last year. We work across many areas of the furniture and textile

18 | www.cabinet-maker.co.uk | 27 September 2013

industry from upholstery to beds and cabinetry, right the way through to the automotive and aerospace sector. The UK furniture industry is still very fragmented in its fortunes, however, with many manufacturers struggling in what is still a tough market place, while others are coming out of the downturn in great shape and building market share each quarter. The common denominator in all the firms we supply is their ability to adapt to these challenges and come out the other side a stronger business.” A 60% increase in demand for skilled manufacturing workers is certainly an encouraging indicator to support the announcements that UK manufacturing is once again on the rise. So what does the future landscape look

like for the furniture industry in particular, and which sectors have seen the strongest signs of recovery? “Without a doubt, the upholstery sector has been the most resilient. There has been a definite consolidation in that sector, with some major players falling by the wayside, leading to a number of firms experiencing rapid growth as they grab market share from the poorer performers,” Simon reveals, continuing: ”Some of our major corporate clients in this sector like Buoyant, Westbridge, Lebus, Quality Furniture Company and White Meadow are really pushing on this year, which is fantastic for our partnerships. Equally, a lot of the smaller, more niche firms are really starting to turn corners and we are finding that they are now feeling more confident than they have for a number of years, which is great to see.” While the status of the upholstery sector is perhaps unsurprising and consistent with what the market has seen throughout the past few years, there are also positive signs for other sectors as well. Discussing the areas in which Euroforce has been distributing labour across the industry, Simon tells us: “As you would expect, we dominate the upholstery sector, so the supply of all the traditional skills from upholsterers to frame assemblers and cutters to

sewing machinists is where we supply volume numbers, but this past year has seen us growing our business in other areas from beds to cabinets to soft furnishings.” The wealth of new jobs created from the increasing demand for British made product is of course a positive step forward for the nation’s economy. And as Simon explains, the new roles being created are at every level of the businesses recruiting. “We supply a very healthy number of UK staff to our clients, because wherever possible, we will exhaust all local avenues first to ensure that the traditional British labour market has been offered these opportunities. However, there is a definite need to be able to ‘tap into’ available skilled staff at very short notice – we are often required to supply key workers within seven days for example. This simply would not be possible if there was the need to train individuals from scratch, so Euroforce has to react to that demand by scouring Europe for the best available talent. That being said, while there is an influx of skilled workers arriving from Europe to satisfy production demands, this clearly creates a knock on effect with job creation across other areas of production, which are easier to train and develop UK-based workers in. “This year has also seen a definite increase in the number of permanent placements we have been asked to deliver. We have a team that specialises in filling assignments for more specialist roles within design & development, production managers, shift managers, general managers and directors. This definitely shows that there is a real confidence returning to start hiring more senior staff that can add long-term value to a business and we hope to see this continue, because I believe it is a real barometer of how the sector as a whole is faring.” The active recruitment of specialist roles is by no means the only significant sea change that Simon has identified within the industry during the past 12 months. In fact, one particular trend Euroforce has witnessed should serve to create even more

optimism for manufacturers. “One particularly striking factor that we have noticed is that there are a number of major retailers who are currently making moves to really grow their product offering with UK manufactured product. There has been plenty of coverage recently in the press about Westbridge’s blossoming relationship with Ikea, but there are a few other major players who are going to be making moves to develop their product over the next year, which is really exciting for the industry and a great opportunity for Euroforce.” With the vast level of access Simon has to view market behaviour and trends across a multitude of sectors, he understandably has a rather unique insight into the furniture industry. So having confirmed the current reports that manufacturing is indeed enjoying a revival, what are Simon’s projections for the industry in the coming 12 months? “I think the economy will continue to make the sector a volatile place to operate, but after years of uncertainty, I do believe that many firms in the UK are finally starting to feel

T

here is a real confidence returning to start hiring more senior staff that can add long-term value to a business, which I believe is a real barometer of how the sector as a whole is faring

that a corner has been turned. With regards to the furniture industry specifically, I think there will be much more of the same – a number of businesses pushing on and really developing their products and market share, while at the same time, sadly, I expect that we will see some longstanding industry names leave the sector for good,” Simon suggests, before concluding: “But I do think there is an immense goodwill and feel good factor associated with UK manufactured product, from furniture to clothing and cars to textiles. I expect the upholstery sector to continue to be very busy over the next 12 months, but alongside this sector, there are definite trends that we are seeing for clothing and textile manufacturers to look to emulate the UK furniture industry by bringing production back to these shores. So I think there could be some really impressive retail led partnerships announced within the furniture industry as they look to secure their UK-based manufacturing suppliers.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT

www.euroforceltd.com

27 September 2013 | www.cabinet-maker.co.uk | 19


! s h t a m e h t o d u o Y 2 C * M EF Using Euroforce *more capacity!

Euroforce are the UK’s leading recruiter to the furniture industry, with a solid track record of delivery for many of its best known manufacturers.

With our bespoke recruitment processes, which are designed to deliver for your business every time, we can guarantee immediate candidate fulfilment – we can supply

you with skilled upholsterers, sewing machinists, cutters, frame assemblers and wood machinists, all tested and ready to start work within a week of our initial meeting.

01204 393000

For further information, or to arrange a meeting, please contact our team on

Email simon.hayton@euroforceltd.com or liam.mcbride@euroforceltd.com or register your interest at www.euroforceltd.com/contactus.aspx

23 Aug EF.indd 1

30/07/2013 13:13

Profile for Euroforce

Euroforce  

Euroforce Articles

Euroforce  

Euroforce Articles

Profile for euroforce
Advertisement