Social Enterprise, A Presenting Furniture Business Model

Era 4.0 is a challenge for players in the furniture industry.  As consumer behavior changes, there is a need to have creative business people ranging from designers, makers, to distributors to explore even further their creativity. Therefore it is extremely critical that the furniture industry also have to evolve.

“We must involve the society as a whole,” said Baskoro Junianto a designer, curator and also lecturer. Baskoro gives an overview of a society-based furniture industry. According to him, the mindset about the furniture industry must be changed. It does not have to be an industry with large investments, but a production chain from upstream to downstream that involves the society. So far, the role of the society is underestimated by designers and industry, even by the country.

With this social enterprise concept, where they place the society in an equal position with investors, entrepreneurs, and also designers. The society usually places its position as a maker for entrepreneurs to make their products.

“The form of collaboration is not looking only at the relationship between workers and bosses evolving as partners or vendors,” Baskoro added. This social enterprise should involve craftsmen in the regions especially focusing on the supply chain up to marketing.  Therefore, the role of society is prevalent and the people involved are not seen as workers for brands only.

But in the reality, the mindset and knowledge about high quality products have become a major factor in involving the society, it still needs to be sorted out.

“Indeed, there is a need to look at the process.  If one only thinks about production immediately, please don’t use the social entreprise model, “Baskoro said. However, in my opinion, this model will be more promising in the future because society has unlimited potential. If one has succeeded in changing this mindset, the furniture industry will evolve automatically.

Baskoro gave an example, by citing the industry in China. In China, spare parts of many products are made by the home industry that involves large number of people. From the home industry, these goods are then channeled to a large manufacturer where they are assembled with good industrial production method and quality in mind. This is one of it the primary reasons that make Chinese-made products cheaper because it involves not only the industries but many people along the way. Thus, for China, it is clear that it is not a big corporation that covers the production chain from the start to finish but it is the combination of the home industries that contributes to savings in term of the overall energy and costs.

“In Indonesia, I have not seen the furniture industry roadmap. Most of them still run individually in terms of individual makers and companies respectively, “Baskoro said. The current thinking is that the manufacturer must be large so that it can run this business and be successful.  However the set back would be that if there are no large orders, then the factory will close down.

Nowadays, times have changed because of the internet. Consumers can acquire a lot of information and this makes it easy to find cheaper products of the same category. With this change in mind, the business model for this furniture business must also be revised by involving the society as in the case study from china.

In addition, a brand that involves society will add value to the product. Value becomes important for this case. The existence of this value will provide advantages when competing with products in the same category with equivalent quality.

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