Report on the British educational furniture manufacturers group [BEFMG]

Report on the British educational furniture manufacturers group [BEFMG]

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It is hard to talk about the furniture market in the UK without mentioning the BEFMG. Abbreviation for the British Educational Furniture Manufacturers Group, this organisation represents furniture designers and manufacturers from all educational market sectors.

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Members of this group supply a broad range of furniture items, emphasising tables, chairs and educational trays, as well as all of the products required to satisfy each school’s furniture requirements completely. Some of the companies from this group specialise in certain areas, providing for all ages and abilities, so the design and manufacturing process differs greatly depending on the niche market. Irrespective, products can range from the simplest furniture to complex furnishings of a science laboratory costing tens of thousands of pounds.

Who makes the BEFMG?

The fabric of the British educational furniture manufacturers group is as diverse as the palate of products it designs. Companies range from large corporations, with decades of background, to smaller, family-run businesses. They employ locally, covering most of the UK, thus contributing significantly to the local job markets.

As a continuation of the British manufacturing base, each company enhances technical manufacturing skills. Being close to their market, they have flexible design and manufacturing processes.
The group also comprises competitors, each trying to drive a bigger market share. Most, however, believe that healthy competition pushes forward the advance of innovation while also reducing costs. All of this, ultimately, benefits the school sector.

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To name the members of this group is to name reputable UK companies that have been around for quite a while. Included are Advanced Furniture, Certwood, Churchfield Education, Community playthings, Eden Learning Spaces, Gratnells, Kits for Kids, Morleys, SICO Europe, Twoey, Sundealla, Gopak, Havelock Europa, Metalliform Holdings, Demco Europe, Interform Contract furniture, Emmerich…
Together, they produce various tables, chairs, educational storage and trays, woodwork furniture and tools, laboratory and technical furniture, and specialist furniture for specific age groups and needs.

Why does this group exist – a look into its core values

This group aims to design and manufacture educational furniture to support the learning process for people of all ages and sizes. It represents furniture designers from every market sector, safeguarding the association’s values and obligations to key stakeholders. The group exists to help create a strong furniture design community, nurture healthy competition, and foster mutual collaboration between its members. Developing throughout the years, it is pretty well placed to meet constant changes in curriculum demand and bring new and innovative solutions to an evolving industry. The base is committed to innovation in both the design and manufacturing processes. It supplies the marketplace with excellence and the highest standards.

One part of the strategy is attending to essential decision-making processes, so officials from the group are constantly working to influence decision-makers high within the hierarchy and the marketplace. This includes architects, the construction industry, and relevant government departments and institutions. The group is nicely positioned to understand, as well as communicate, the evolving needs of every one of its members and provide detailed yet simplified market feedback where necessary.

The BEFMG sets the standards for the future.

BEFMG is also a relevant player in setting global trends as the largest furniture design organisation in the UK. The Commonwealth, along with several other European nations, is watching a close eye, continually refining their educational furniture design and manufacturing processes.

Most group members are committed to providing furniture worthy of the highest standards and innovative design solutions. Close work with the European standards committee plays a significant role in charting and drafting new standards.
The BSEN1729 is one such, where it specifies the importance of ergonomics and durability in classroom furniture.

Each new standard aims to comply with better academic outcomes through concentration, improved lifelong back support, and outstanding value through product durability. Targeting these macro design factors, specifications and features follow along. As mentioned above, this organisation is not concentrated in the UK alone. Though its products are marketed mainly in the UK, several members work on supporting and supplying international demand. This work is principally performed through collaboration with major contractors abroad and continual relationship-building processes with local suppliers.

Who can be part of the BEFMG?

Reflecting on what was written above, the group is heavily involved with national and European standards. Its members are representatives on several standard committees and the industry at large.
The door is open for other organisations, large or small, to apply and join the group, becoming part of the association and maintaining its standards of excellence. An applicant must show that a good amount of its business is focused on designing or manufacturing educational furniture and sign a letter of intent or express interest in upholding industry standards described and promoted by the association.

This can also be achieved via e-mail, but the applicant must first meet the group’s terms of reference, readily available on their website. Through mutual collaboration and sharing knowledge, the group works together to improve every member’s innovative design or manufacturing process and share and discuss ideas on a micro and macro level.

Setting the standards, the group promotes British craftsmanship worldwide while completely catering for the needs of the domestic market. Through conferences, meetings, and industry newsletters, members can help each other and provide support in meeting standards of excellence and thriving in the national, European and global markets. This works together to improve the industry, reduce manufacturing costs, and supply educational institutions with innovative and world-leading equipment. In the process, it is hiring people locally and being a noticeable market employer. For more news about the Furniture UK Industry, browse our news pages!