The British Furniture Manufacturers is gearing up for its inaugural Furniture Component Expo 24 next month. Taking place at Telford International Centre on 24th and 25th April, the expo has a packed programme of seminars over the two days. 

Set to attract a broad spectrum of delegates, the event will provide an opportunity for furniture-makers to connect in a one-stop-shop format. It will provide a setting for manufacturers of furniture to review, network and purchase products across the whole supply chain from leading suppliers, all under one roof.

“We launched the event after feedback from members identified a gap in the market for furniture-makers to browse the marketplace and seek out new innovations coming into the sector, in a face-to-face setting,” explains Phil Spademan.

“In our initial research in planning the expo, we were told that there is a real gap in the market for this type of business-to-business event and we are pleased to see it being so well received across the industry.

“The show has been created for the industry, by the industry, with feedback from across the sector taken on board to deliver an event that really meets their needs.

“We are really pleased with how it has developed and been supported. There has been an exciting level of take-up from companies who are keen to be involved with the expo, not only sponsors, but exhibitors too. 

“The expo also provides a backdrop to really get the message out over the two days and beyond about backing British manufacturing.”

Vita Group was the first to announce its headline sponsorship of the event, followed by Carpenter Limited and BeA Group UK.

Andy Corbett, of The Vita Group, said: “Vita is thrilled to be the first headline sponsor of the BFM Furniture Component Expo. We look forward to welcoming visitors to our stand where we will be showcasing our latest innovations and sustainable offerings.”

Paul Shepherd of BeA Group UK, said: “Our products and approach are continuing to win customer favour as we increase our presence and market share in the furniture production sector. We see the very first BFM’s Furniture Component Expo in the UK as the ideal opportunity to introduce automation and automation ideas as a way forward in future proofing production lines within the furniture industry.”

And Richard Harris, UK Commercial Director at Carpenter Ltd added: “We are delighted to be supporting the BFM with this new exhibition and see it as a great channel to showcase our product portfolio, aimed at comfort applications, supplied into both upholstery and bedding markets.” 

As well as providing an opportunity to exhibit, network and view a wide range of products and services, The Furniture Component Expo 24 will also feature several seminar sessions of relevance to the industry.

These include a talk from the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), who will set out export opportunities for the British furniture sector at the event, with a bespoke presentation given by Naomi Steemson, who is an International Trade Advisor at DBT in the Midlands.

Her talk will provide an overview of the complete service offer from DBT, which is designed to support enterprises of all sizes, including furniture businesses looking at export markets for the first time.

Naomi will also outline the role of International Trade Advisors, who are the DBT’s experts in connecting businesses with export opportunities and talk about initiatives such as the UK Export Academy, UK Export Finance and Trade Missions.

The seminar programme also features talks on best practice, sustainability, workforce and apprenticeships, alongside a workshop on carbon footprint and net zero.

The first day of the event will also feature two panel discussions. Automation vs Skills: Friend or Foe? is the topic for The Dorset Chairman Alan Payne; Racheal Baker from JJ Smith and Ian Peers from Ercol. 

The second panel discussion will feature Dr Jake Lane from Silentnight Panel and is entitled Fire regulations: what next?

 Silentnight has engaged with the furniture sector on how to enable a reduction in CFR use, sharing their knowledge and findings on various subjects impacted by Fire Safety Regulations, and the segment will include a Q&A session.

“This is a hugely important topic for our industry and the Furniture Component Expo 24,” says Phil Spademan. “The session will see experts from their fields offering their perspectives and insights into the research which has been conducted since the announcement of the Government Consultation on the regulations.

 “BFM is seeking input into creating a round table discussion beyond the Furniture Component Expo 24 to present to Government as a further industry response, so this will provide an invaluable opportunity to collate viewpoints across the sector.”

Other initiatives at the Furniture Component Expo 24 include an Innovation Trail, giving exhibitors at the event a new approach to reaching key audiences with their products and services.

Under the process, exhibitors can provide a pitch of their product or service to potential buyers at the show.

Delegates will be asked to vote for their favourite and the winner – as well as getting the opportunity to present to an influential audience – will also receive post-event publicity, organised by the BFM, including content across the trade association’s website and social media channels.

BFM members will also have free access to Club BFM, an exclusive lounge where refreshments will be available.