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    Industry 4.0, the Amazon Effect, and the Office Furniture Industry in 2019

    Posted by Bryan Wilkenson

    Posted on 30th Jul 2019 in Ergonomic, Workplace Wellness


    The global market office furniture market was valued at $117.1 billion in 2017, according to the latest figures by the Business Research Company. China is the country with the largest market share, accounting for 26.3% of the entire industry. The Asia-Pacific region accounted for 44.5% of the global market.

    The report highlighted the growing trend related to ergonomic office furniture, as workplace wellness programs in the U.S. have become the norm in the 21st century. Lower back pain, stress and arthritis came with the territory through the 1990s in American offices. Today office furniture manufacturers have upped production of ergonomic furniture to meet increasing demand from companies that prioritize the health and well-being of their workforces.

    Every industry has undergone major changes related to supply chains in the last 20 years. Terminology has even changed and causes confusion among economists and market researchers. A “widget” was a placeholder word for any hypothetical product or object when economists posed questions to make a point. This was hilariously demonstrated in the 1986 Rodney Dangerfield film “Back To School.”

    A widget in 2019 is a computer application or interface, or a sidebar item for a Wordpress theme. Not only has terminology changed, so has supply chain management overall.

    Industry 4.0

    The fourth industrial revolution, often referred to as Industry 4.0, is the digitization of industrial markets beginning in the 1990s. It is the chronological successor of the first industrial revolution (water and steam power mechanization), the second industrial revolution (assembly lines aided by the use of electricity beginning in the 1870s), and the third (programmable logic controllers and automation via computers).

    The Internet of Things (IoT) plays a key role in distinguishing Industry 3.0 and 4.0. Computers are now connected to one another and human involvement is becoming a thing of the past. This has led to the "smart factory" phenomenon, where production facilities rely heavily on IoT and the Internet of Systems to maximize efficiency. Whirlpool, for instance, began using an analytics platform to eliminate waste it sends to landfills by 2020. Siemens is using its proprietary IoT platform called Mindsphere that allows its customer to make decisions based on concrete data.

    Amazon Effect

    Amazon has changed the game when it comes to smart manufacturing and distribution. The company single-handedly disrupted retail sales and customer expectations related to delivery times and pricing. Both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar establishments in all industries have been forced to adapt their operations to survive the age of the Amazon Effect.

    The office furniture industry is particularly feeling the pinch of the Amazon Effect due to ever-changing office trends and consumer tastes. Office furniture retailers are especially feeling the pinch, which had led them to upgrade their manufacturing and shipping operations. Maegan Huber, inventory supervisor for Ashley Furniture, said her company implemented Voyager Solutions, a comprehensive supply chain management tool by Logility, to initiate a formal sales and operations planning process. The move was necessary to make more timely decisions and optimize inventory processes.

    Eco Office obtains its inventory from a wide-range of liquidators, property management companies, and even older clients. A combination of 21st century technology and old-fashioned hard work make Eco Office the premier choice in the Bay Area for all your office furniture needs. Call 408-437-1700 to speak to a project manager.


    Bryan is a freelance writer and digital nomad. He owns a content marketing company and runs it from his RV. Bryan has worked in journalism and content marketing for over 20 years.

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