Fur­ni­ture ex­ports down on lack of re­search

The Jakarta Post - - BUSINESS - Ste­fani Ribka

For fam­ily-owned fur­ni­ture pro­ducer CV Yud­hi­s­tira, un­der­stand­ing mar­ket de­mand has proven to be a recipe for get­ting more or­ders.

Af­ter con­duct­ing thor­ough re­search on global de­mand, the firm now ex­ports 25 to 30 con­tain­ers of wooden chairs and ta­bles every month, a jump from the roughly 20 con­tain­ers it sent out monthly in 2015.

“Com­mu­ni­ca­tion with clients on what the mar­ket likes is the key to get­ting more or­ders. Vis­it­ing ex­pos in Italy and France is also im­por­tant, as the Euro­pean mar­ket is the world’s trend­set­ter in the fur­ni­ture industry,” said the firm’s gen­eral man­ager, Yo­hatam “Ga­tot” Su­parto.

Yud­hi­s­tira is among a small num­ber of firms that un­der­stand the power of mar­ket re­search, as the gov­ern­ment has blamed a lack of such knowl­edge for con­tribut­ing to the de­cline in fur­ni­ture ex­ports.

In­done­sian Fur­ni­ture En­trepreneurs As­so­ci­a­tion (As­mindo) chair­man Mugiyanto ac­knowl­edged that a lack of mar­ket knowl­edge had con­trib­uted to de­clin­ing ex­ports. For this year, the as­so­ci­a­tion has set a tar­get of US$1.9 bil­lion worth of fur­ni­ture and craft ex­ports, but it has only achieved 40 per­cent of that fig­ure as of June.

Fur­ni­ture and craft ex­ports de­clined to $1.6 bil­lion last year, down 15.7 per­cent from $1.9 bil­lion recorded in 2015.

As the gov­ern­ment is aware of the prob­lem, the Creative Econ­omy Agency (Bekraf) has stepped in to help.

The agency has launched a pro­gram called KOPIKKON to train fur­ni­ture mak­ers in un­der­stand­ing mar­ket de­mand and stay­ing up-to-date on in­ter­na­tional trends in fur­ni­ture de­sign.

Aside from that, the agency also helped pro­duc­ers mar­ket their prod­ucts in creative ways, Bekraf deputy head of re­search, ed­u­ca­tion and devel­op­ment Boy Ber­awi said re­cently.

This year, the pro­gram fo­cuses on train­ing fur­ni­ture mak­ers in Banyuwangi and Bo­jone­goro in East Java; Ban­jar­masin in South Kal­i­man­tan; Belu in East Nusa Teng­gara (NTT) and North To­raja in South Su­lawesi.

The agency also re­cently launched a work­shop link­ing fur­ni­ture pro­duc­ers and artists with big fur­ni­ture traders and pro­duc­ers, so that the for­mer can be in­formed about cur­rent tastes, rang­ing from fur­ni­ture de­sign to the sizes pre­ferred in var­i­ous coun­tries.

Be­sides a lack of mar­ket in­sight, the de­cline in ex­ports is also blamed on the gov­ern­ment re­quire­ment that com­pa­nies be cer­ti­fied un­der the In­done­sian timber le­gal­ity as­sur­ance sys­tem (SVLK) for ex­ports to Europe, In­done­sia’s largest fur­ni­ture mar­ket.

“Fur­ni­ture pro­duc­ers have also been con­fronted with high in­ter­est rates on loans, mak­ing it hard for them to buy ma­chin­ery for mass pro­duc­tion,” said So­ci­ety of In­te­rior De­sign­ers (HDII) chair­man Lea Avil­iani Aziz.

Pro­duc­ers have also com­plained about a de­ci­sion by sta­te­owned forestry com­pany Per­hutani to in­crease its wood price by 10 per­cent per year, thereby bur­den­ing the lo­cal industry with higher pro­duc­tion costs.

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