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From the start Ligne Roset products have primarily been made by hand – something that impacts on delivery times given the current shortage of resources and skilled workers. How does the French manufacturer overcome these challenges?

The Covid-19 pandemic affects all areas of our lives including the delivery times of many furniture manufacturers. It’s an issue with which Ligne Roset also has to contend: “It is the indirect interplay of two effects. On the one hand, we have seen an overall increase in demand in our sector. Moreover, there is a shortage of resources. We hear that every day for things like foam, wood or metal, all of which we need for manufacturing,” explains Didier Simon, Managing Director of Roset Möbel GmbH. But thanks to regional bases and short transport routes Ligne Roset has a reliable supply of such items. Nonetheless, Simon has recognized that his team does face an increasing shortage of skilled employees given that the family-run French business has always realized a large part of its production by hand: “This means our output capacity depends directly on the number of our employees,” he says.

Ligne Roset has consequently invested money in addressing the problem: While the main production site is still in rural Briord, the firm is expanding production in an area 100 km away from the main factory. Moreover, in future upholsters will be trained in the company’s own training center which was opened in a private-public partnership with the Rhone-Alpes region. And the company seeks to better interface the individual production stages with one another and further improve processes in order to be able to better meet customers’ wishes. In the long term these measures are intended to counter the shortage of skilled workers and increase production volumes.

Despite the difficulties involved in doing so the company has taken a clear decision to keep its furniture production in France: “It is a matter of quality in the manufacture and design. This is not only defined via the individual components but also our ability to create attractive furniture. Over the decades we have cultivated skills, a savoir-faire of which we are proud. That starts with the design and goes through to the final inspection shortly before delivery. It is about the interplay of many professions,” says Didier Simon. Indeed, products will continue to be made largely by hand – a requirement arising from Ligne Roset’s clear conviction about the kind of furniture it wishes to offer: “Sticking upholstery foam onto a wooden frame and then covering it with fabric is something that can be done very well just using machines. This is an industrial method that naturally has its uses but is definitely not an option for us. I believe our furniture has a soul. It is born from the ideas of our designers and becomes real through the hands of our employees in the factory,” he says. (am)

Main factory of Ligne Roset in Briord, France


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