Traditionally furniturein Bangladesh developed as cottage based industry. It is in early 90's when the furniture industry in Bangladesh transformed from cottage based industry to mechanized mass production oriented industries. Since then furniture businesses began to grow with modern machinery, innovative designs and use of diverse materials.The main varieties of furniture are produced from wood, processed wood, melamine board, Medium Density Fibre Board (MDF), particleboard, steeletc. At present Bangladesh is producing wide variety of international standard and quality furniture. People in Bangladesh are now going to choose local furniture instead of foreign furniture. The export of furniture and allied products from Bangladesh has started from 1995. Furniture is a labor intensive sector and Bangladesh hasa large low cost manpower which is a vital factor in becoming competitive in the world market. So, there is good potential for export of furniture and Bangladesh's furniture industries are ready for that. It is estimated that, by 2015 Bangladesh will earn export potential of crafts furniture accessories worth of USD 10 million along with furniture worth USD 40 million. At present two relevant associations i.e., Bangladesh Furniture Export Association and Bangladesh Furniture Industries Owners Association (BFIOA) are actively working on materializing the potential of this sector. Bangladesh Furniture Export Association (BFEA) has 12 members. Partex Furniture Industries Ltd. is a valued member of BFEA. The government of Bangladesh has declared the furniture industry as a 'Thrust Sector'.
At present about 41,560 enterprises and nearly two lakh skilled and semi-skilled peopleare engaged in this sector. On average 60% of raw materials of furniture sector are imported from different countries. Of those, timber, wood coating materials, hardware & accessories, world class fabrics etc., are majorimportable items. This sector has some mentionable problems such ashigh import duties of some raw materials like good fabrics, finishing/coating materials, hardware & accessories, shortage of electricity/gas etc.
Scarcity of skilled manpower in handling modern equipmentand machinery is limiting the prospect of growth of this Industry, which can be addressed through setting up more Technical Schools with a curriculum of short-term trade courses, where along with government initiatives private sectors should also come forward.
PARTEX Furniture Industries Ltd (PFIL) is a concern of Partex Star Group in Bangladesh which started business in 1964 by manufacturing and marketing of Particle Boards. Furniture manufacturing unit (PFIL) was established in 1999. It is an ISO 9001: 2008 certified organization. PFIL manufactures a diversity of solid timber as well as timber-substitutes of all types of office and home furniture.Partex Star Group gets hugeCompetitive Advantages for having the strong backward integration i.e. its sister concerns which produce Particle Board, Furnitex Board, Melamine Board, Plywood, Veneered Board, PVC Board, Adhesives etc. At present about 1500 employees are directly employed with PFIL of Partex Star Group.Finally we can say furniture industry is one of the promising one and every stakeholder should play their part accordingly for the bettermentof the sector.
The writer is chief operating office, Partex Star Group