The UK has relied on overseas supply chains for street furniture for a long time but the desire for greater quality, the need to reduce lead times and the desire to reduce carbon footprint are just a few of the reasons why this model is now in question.
And this year, lockdown has reinforced the precarious position manufacturers and suppliers can find themselves in when offshore supply chains are ground to a halt, with many looking at resources on their door-step.
As one of the leading street furniture suppliers, Furnitubes, is fully committed to sourcing materials and manufacturing in the UK.
Catherine Barratt, MD of Furnitubes said: “When we acquired Furnitubes last year, we set a new direction for the business: our aim was to improve quality and shorten lead times. By sourcing locally and manufacturing ourselves, in the UK, we have greater control over our production and can fulfil orders much quicker.”
She adds: “When we outsource, we relinquish certain control over the quality of some of the components or products, and issues can take weeks if not months to rectify. In a case of a finished product - like a cast-iron bollard - this can create long delays in supplying our clients and affect our reputation. In the case of a component - like cast iron supports for our outdoor benches - any defect in quality, can add months to the launch of a new product.
“We recognise that our cast iron bollards and seats are still an important part of our offering, indeed the Bell Bollard is a familiar site on many city streets. We have prioritised and streamlined our imported cast iron product range so that we have good stock levels of our best sellers and discontinued many of our low volume imported stock products. We’re also working on new solutions, like AKRI, our new steel planter wall, that are entirely designed and made by us, in the UK.”
Furnitubes works closely with developers and landscape architects, helping regenerate urban spaces with cleverly designed modular solutions.
Find out more about Furnitubes on their member profile page