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A business consultancy, based in London, England, John Sacks' JSA Consultancy Services provides expert, in-depth, information advice and guidance as to how to exploit successfully the office furniture and interiors markets in Europe, North America, Australasia and Japan.

Schiavello, Australia’s largest office furniture manufacturer, hangs in

Sunday 12 February 2012

PETER Schiavello watched another competitor drop into voluntary administration last week. ''Look, it's tough, I can't pretend it's not,'' he says.. Already, a net 127,000 manufacturing jobs have been wiped out across Australia since 2008.
Mr Schiavello employs 1300 people at his Tullamarine office furniture business, with annual turnover of about $500 million. ''The last 12 months our revenue is stagnant, the year before that it increased by 20 per cent,'' he says. ''But our numbers are still looking reasonably strong.''
The rising Australian dollar has increased his competition from cheaper foreign goods. Conversely, the company's export business has dropped from 15 to 5 per cent of production. ''When you go dollar for dollar, it's difficult to compete,'' Mr Schiavello says.
If the dollar remains high, he will reluctantly consider shifting more production offshore. ''We are absolutely dedicated to continuing to manufacture here, but if it means we have to start to look at ways to bring our overall production costs down … then we have no option but to look at that.''
Revenue within the furniture manufacturing industry is expected to remain flat for the next five years, according to IBISWorld. Low-cost imports from Asia are expected to rise by 1.8 per cent a year - more than three times ''negligible growth'' in domestic demand.
''Competition here increases all the time,'' Peter Schiavello says. ''The market has softened … But I'm not contemplating the worst-case scenario, you have to be positive.''

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