Industry News

Furniture industry still optimistic but fall in gross profit margins, BFM survey warns

The British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) has published its latest state of trade survey along with its annual survey of financial ratios.

According to the report, "the industry continues to feel optimistic about the general business situation despite lower output levels and fewer new orders that were initially hoped for in February this year, when the last survey was undertaken". 

The BFM underlines that more companies "are still reporting increases in raw material costs that those reporting falls, although the gap is closing and the inference is that for many products costs are at least stabilising or falling".

"Export performance was disappointing showing the worst performance for over 2 years in terms of the number of companies reporting sales overseas", the survey warns. "Gross profit margins have declined which infers that more money is being spent on direct labour and/or materials than can be recovered through price increases.". 

More details on BFM website.

UK infrastructure and transport policies need to evolve, FTA report claims

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has released its 2015 Logistics Report featuring analysis of the transport and logistics industry over the last 12 months.

The annual report shows a "mixed outlook for the global economy, with world events, more sluggish growth and falling demand for oil and other commodities reducing expectations".

"Our members tell us that business confidence is lower, beyond the short-term, as uncertainty over future economic policies and the impact of the Euro Zone are, once more, causes of concern", FTA chief executive David Wells underlined.

"The new Government will have to make significant decisions – and quickly – over our infrastructure and transport policies; FTA is ready to inform that process", he added. "Our message to Government is: ignore the needs of logistics at your peril. From the factory floor to the kitchen table, it is logistics that will deliver sustainable growth".

Read the full report here.

Congolese Government recognises ATIBT as international organisation

The Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) has been recognised as an international organisation by the Congolese Government in Brazzaville.

Thanks to this agreement, ATIBT will establish a national and sub-regional office in Brazzaville with the same benefits and status of a United Nations representative organisation.

"We are now closer to our members in Africa, far more present in different projects and in the sub-region, and we can better implement activities supported financially by our donors", said André Soufflot, responsible for the EU project on assisting trade unions in the sub-region.

ATIBT's mission is to contribute to the sustainable development of tropical forests promoting the economic viability, social equity and conservation of forest ecosystems.

BMF relaunches MOL distance learning courses

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is expanding its product training portfolio with the relaunch of MOL’s specialist product knowledge distance learning courses for the merchant sector.

MOL has been developing and delivering professional qualifications for over 30 years. Their courses have proved popular with merchants in the past, not least because they lead to a City & Guilds (C&G) qualification, which is internationally recognised.

MOL’s workbook-based distance learning modules cover a wide range of specialist subjects in four key areas, Plumbing and Heating, Timber and Building, Climate Management and Electrical Products. They are designed to help students build a generic understanding of the principles of each subject area and thus enhance their ability to advise and support customers.

For more information click here.

Volunteers needed to develop NOS for Health and Safety in Wood

Proskills is looking for volunteers to help develop National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Health and Safety in Wood. The first meeting will take place on 15th July 2015 at 10.30 at GQA Offices, Sheffield.

The working group, expected to meet at least twice throughout the project, will be responsible for:

- Identifying standards for development
- Supporting the development of the standards
- Support wider consultation
- Signing off the final standards

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the woodworking industry, especially in small and medium business, has one of the highest accident rates in manufacturing, most of which are caused by contact with moving machinery. This accounted for 25% of all major accidents and one of last year’s. In 2012‐13 the HSE received 784 reported injuries.

For further information download the description and the activities map or contact Lisa Williamson.