Furniture manufacturing clusters. A worldwide survey
Throughout the world the furniture industry has given rise to local economic systems or industrial districts with similar characteristics, both in terms of efficiency in manufacturing processes and at the level of competitive capacity, especially on foreign markets. Born from a fusion between economic and manufacturing relationships and economic and social relationships in limited territorial areas, the furniture districts have launched processes of economic development, characterised by a close correspondence between company and manufacturing system. This report offers an overview of 44 among structured manufacturing clusters and less institutionalised manufacturing areas for the furniture sector worldwide, providing information about furniture firms and territory, institutional bodies and cluster promoting organisations, local financial systems and furniture fairs. An overview of the world furniture industry is also provided, with data on furniture production and consumption, furniture imports and exports. Furniture clusters show a wide variety of development models: they can be highly geographically concentrated local systems, with a prevalence of highly integrated small and medium sized companies (the furniture districts in Italy, Austria, Denmark and the Philippines), or they can be a simple concentration of furniture companies in a territory, which can be particularly large (like in North Carolina and Guangdong) and with a low level of integration between firms. The report analyses the different structures which furniture manufacturing areas have put into practise, with success factors and threats to development of the local economic systems. The furniture manufacturing areas are classified according to geographical concentration, size of companies and level of integration between them. The considered furniture districts are presented by macro-geographical area, to reflect the different development models of the local furniture systems. For each furniture manufacturing district basic data are provided (furniture production, furniture manufacturers and employees, furniture exports) as well as information on type of furniture produced, cluster history, development bodies and policies, swot analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
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