Economy, Business And Markets

Office Furniture Industry Keeps Flag Flying

Office Furniture Industry Keeps Flag FlyingOffice Furniture Industry Keeps Flag Flying

Most industries divide into subcategories and expand so much over time that they eventually start operating independently. Office furniture and decorations is one such business.

The business in Iran dates back to 70 years and has since made notable progress. It is one of the domestic industries that enjoys relatively favorable conditions, the Persian daily Forsat-e Emrooz reported.

“The furniture industry is divided into house furniture that are manually made, office furniture and that of children, the production processes of which are mechanized,” said Ramin Samizadeh, of the Association of Furniture Makers.

“In the field of office furniture, we are self-sufficient. Almost all the products in the market are domestically produced and their high quality has made them popular among customers.”

According to the official, western sanctions affected the country’s industries over the past several years and office furniture industry also faced difficult times.

“But now and in the post-sanctions period, hopes are high and we are looking forward to having a burgeoning business,” he said.

Noting that this optimism can only materialize under certain conditions, he said, “For Iranian producers to enter the new phase, we need to regain the trust of the international market by restoring international trade mechanisms. If this goal is attained, we will witness a surge in production and trade.”

Samizadeh said the use of Internet and social media is another issue of importance.

“We haven’t had a satisfactory performance in this respect up to now, but it is obvious that these assets can be helpful to businesses. We have to take advantage of the opportunities that modern technology provides,” he said.

“Our office furniture exports are no more than $30 million annually with most of the shipments heading to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Central Asian countries. We have no exports of these items to Europe, though our house furniture does have customers in the green continent,” he said.

Pointing to the fact that furniture exports are not easy to embark upon, the official said granting bank facilities and support to domestic production, lowering tariff rates, doing away with restrictive regulations and rectifying the taxation system are needed to boost exports.

Samizadeh noted that of the 50,000 production units active in the furniture industry, some 3,000 are engaged in producing office furniture. “The industry accounts for 8% of all jobs in Iran, which is a significant figure and it is time officials take the business more seriously,” he said.

The raw material for the business, according to Samizadeh, is mainly wood.

“The domestic market can partly meet the need and the rest is imported in the form of particle boards and medium-density fiberboards. If import tariffs are lowered, production will increase and the country can benefit from a higher added value on these products,” he said.

Reza Joshaghani, CEO of Nilper Company, a producer of home and office furniture, believes that a bright future awaits the industry.

“Yet we need to do accurate needs assessments, be constantly aware of the customers’ tastes and mix and match different models and colors to keep up-to-date and avoid sinking into a recession,” he said.

Joshaghani said that to start business on a relatively large scale, one needs an initial capital of about 10 billion rials (approximately $2.9 million at market exchange rate). “But a small business in a 150-meter plot of land can also be started with around $300,000,” he said.