UK MADE: KI Furniture
Design Insider speaks with Jonathan Hindle, Group Managing Director – E.M.E.A about KI Furniture’s Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Partnerships and Design, as part of our UK Made Campaign.
“Founded in 1941, KI has grown to become one of the world’s largest, most-respected furniture manufacturing groups. Our furniture helps leading organisations create happy, healthy, high performing working and learning environments. Bringing together good design, advanced engineering and sustainable resources, KI’s products are durable, flexible and offer excellent value…
…At KI, we believe that a “Made in the UK” ethos is important. This is why we manage our own production and supply chains in the UK. Strong, local networks drive shorter delivery times and lower delivery costs. Having local production and warehousing also allows us to export some of our products across the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region. This has been particularly successful for our iconic Postura+ collection for education environments. Having proven themselves as a versatile solution for over 20 years, these colourful and practical chairs are also available in a range of variants such as task chairs and stools. After many years of successful manufacturing and distribution all over the UK, the last few years have seen a huge increase in demand from Ireland, France and Spain to name a few.
Being a UK manufacturer that uses locally sourced recycled, recyclable, and sustainable materials wherever possible also means that we can help protect the future of our country and of our world and help to preserve it for future generations. KI’s multiple manufacturing facilities across the UK enables a streamlined and efficient workflow as each location concentrates on producing specific products.
Flexible local digitised manufacturing also allows us to provide more tailored solutions cost-effectively. KI also has a distinct advantage of being part of a large global group, yet we have flexible local manufacturing facilities and a diverse supply chain which provide us with agility and cost benefits. This allows us to work with multinationals as well as being relevant locally as a partner for co-creation through our Infinity programme. This level of co-creating and customization would not be practically or financially viable if done over vast distances. A local ecosystem of experts who work on conceptualisation, design and prototyping facilitates the required level of communication and feedback to achieve desired outcomes quickly, and cost-effectively. As our workplaces continue to evolve and adapt, this local partnership becomes even more important longer-term. Ongoing service and repurposing requirements are necessary, rather than simply purchasing a product ‘off-the-shelf’.
We strive towards this “one size doesn’t fit all” approach. It’s a core tenet of KI’s brand and manufacturing philosophy and is reflected in our ongoing investment in design innovation and our incredible in-house design team. From Design Manager, Lee Andrews, to Designer, Grace Souky and Design & Space Planner, George Drake-Lee, each new design has been created in response to customer and market requirements. For example, our most recent innovation is ‘Colonnade’; a highly-customisable, modular gantry ‘room system’ which incorporates 800 Series modular shelving and numerous other complimentary KI products that support neurodiversity and agility in the workplace. The Colonnade system is made from a series of recyclable steel and aluminium components and can incorporate existing KI 800 Series shelving and storage units thus eliminating the need to buy new ones and supporting recycling / upcycling agendas.”
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