Interview with Jeremy Stein, who is Managing Director of BCFA
Jeremy, what does “BCFA” stand for and why should a company want to become a member?
The British Contract Furniture Association is the British business association for the contract furnishing industry, covering the full spectrum of interior products and services in the UK and globally. Our 250+ members include the very best manufacturers, suppliers and designers of furnishing services for commercial buildings throughout the UK and in world markets. Our members supply to the hospitality, healthcare, marine and education sectors and a significant proportion of our membership supply to the office workplace market including: Orange Box, Bisley, Herman Miller, Teknion, Elite and Boss design.
The central purpose of the BCFA is to create opportunities for our members, whether that is through our range of networking events, our digital marketing channels such as Design Insider Live, our sector trend reports and our new Open exhibitions. The association supports an atmosphere of enterprise and fair competition where members operate ethically, encourage excellence and strive for improved standards in their businesses. The great strength of the BCFA is the way that our members collaborate to create new opportunities.
Who can become a member of your organization?
A company can only become a member of the BCFA when it satisfies the Association’s standards of professionalism and makes a commitment through our Code of Conduct to provide the market with the highest standards of service and respect for intellectual property and design rights. Although most of our members are British we do also include international companies if they have an established UK operation.
The BCFA works closely with the interior design and architecture communities and collaborates on providing continuing professional developments for architects and interior designers. Our networking events with up to 6oo attendees are equally attended by designers and architects as well as our own members, as these provide a great opportunity to develop new relationships and partnerships.
On the website it says that you are very active in the field of digital transformation. According to you, which impact will have digitization on the way we will work in the future?
Digitization is having a profound effect on the processes and relationships within the industry. The adoption of Business Information Modelling (BIM) is changing the way that commercial buildings are designed and developed and how products are sourced. Our members are having to change the way that they engage with their clients and to support this the BCFA has developed digital channels for our members including: Design Insider Live , and our product finder. We have also made a significant investment in producing films for our members and their projects and we now publish over 40 films a year.
Jeremy, what are your predictions for the market in the coming years?
Every quarter the BCFA surveys the UK based workplace manufacturers and suppliers to produce a quarterly report for contributors that provides detailed product information on UK manufacturing, importing, UK sales and exports. The workplace performance in 2017 has been positive and has made up for what was ultimately a disappointing 2016. The decision to leave the EU has had short term impacts particularly in increased costs due to the decline in the value of Sterling but also a rise in the level of exports. The memberships’ views on the impending departure from the EU are mixed but it has forced all of our members to reconsider how we will work with our European and international partners going forward and a growing number are finding success in exports and in developing international partnerships.
The next few years will present challenges and opportunities for our members as the UK works though its new trading relationships. The BCFA’s membership of the FEMB will remain crucial for us as we support our members in working through these changes. We remain committed to working within the FEMB to develop international trade and our members are excited at the opportunities presented by the newly approved FEMB Level Sustainability Standard.