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Mission and activities

Mission and activities of the Chamber (OIGPM)

The mission of the Polish Chamber of Commerce of Furniture Manufacturers is the integration of the Polish furniture sector in order to effective participation in the formation of the development of the Polish furniture sector active promotion of the Polish furniture in the country and abroad, and supporting of endeavours to warrant consumers full satisfaction of the buying and using of the Polish furniture goods.

Statutory activities of the Chamber in 2014.

The main directions of the statutory activities of the Chamber were defined on the basis of annual work plans of the Chamber for 2014. The main tasks in respective areas and their implementation results are as follows:

International cooperation:

In 2014 the Chamber sustained its cooperation with European Federation of Furniture Manufacturers (U.E.A.) and also with other domestic furniture organizations which are associated members or not of UEA. During meetings and discussions there were mentioned many significant aspects related to UEA budget starting from the reporting of UEA activities in 2014 to matters connected with activities  for developing the competitiveness of the furniture industry at the European level. In addition, as a result of those contacts the Chamber has achieved comprehensive and updated results and trends in trade of furniture from European furniture industry.  

During Meble Polska 2014 Fairs and Furnika 2014 in Poznań, the Chamber had lead some meetings at its stand with representatives of different foreign organizations, among others with representatives of IMM, ZOW or MOW fairs. The meetings mainly concerned possibilities of establishing the cooperation with Polish manufacturers of furniture and components, accessories for furniture production. At the same time we had met with foreign press, including representatives of Möbelmarkt publishing house. 

Actions taken by the leadership of the Chamber to national and local governments, and measures to protect the interests of members of the Chamber:

In 2014 we had continued cooperation with Ministry of Economy (the Department of Support Instruments, the Department of Budget and Finance, the Department of Promotion and Bilateral Cooperation, Department of Implementing Operational Programs, Department of Trade Policy, Department of European Funds), Ministry of Environment, State Forests and the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development.

The Chamber has very intensively continued its involvement in issues related to raw wood. In December 2011 OIGPM entered the working group of wood industry set by Ministry of Environment Mr. Janusz Zaleski. The working group was appointed in order to prepare a draft of amendments to the rules on timber sales by State Forests for  the second half of 2012. In the opinion presented to Directorate General of State Forests by the President of OIGPM Mr Jacek Twaróg the changes  referred to the reorganization of wood sales system including: implementing proportions 80/20% divided the pot of wood between restricted and open tenders, using by recipients extended purchase history (from 1 to 5 or to 8 optional – the aim was to rewarding permanent, long-term recipients from LP and the elimination of speculative purchase). Besides, according to the Chamber it might be introduced so-called principle of “customary trade”,  especially relating to purchase connected with grade, kind and assortment of wood. There should also be used the rebate system when the payment is executed for purchased of goods – depending on value of the purchase or the system extended payment terms. In 2012, 2013 and 2014 there were many meetings with State Forestry representatives and wood industry members regarding analysis of raw wood market and also changes relating to rules of wood sales. Many of these meetings personally were attended by the President of the Chamber Mr Jacek Twaróg. He made a big contribution to the work of the Team. At the same time the President of the Chamber has officially applied to the Ministry of Environment, and also to  Directorate General of State Forests for changes in the sales of wood system used by DGSF. In February 2013 in Stryków there was a founding meeting of Wood Industry Consultative Group. It includes 11 active entities of wood industry and cooperates. The working group was joined by an expert from OIGPM Mr Dariusz Kisiel, the employee of Ludwik Styl company.  Subsequent meetings with representative of the Consultative Group and DGLP were held in March, April, May, September 2013 and in January 2014 and there were discussed a number of the most urgent issues concerning the management of raw wood, including also prices. Moreover, in April 26, 2013 there was a meeting in Ministry of Economy with Mr. Janusz Piechociński – Vice Ministry of Economy regarding current sales wood system and also  concerning development of a framework system of wood sales based on long-term contracts. The framework sales system would be based on 3 main goals: long-term stabilization of the condition of wood purchase by domestic clients, limitation of export of unprocessed wood and flexible price policy of wood, depending on market condition. The meeting was also attended by Mr Michał Sokołow – the owner and the President of the Management Board Berlinek S. A. In December 18, 2013 there was a meeting with Mr Maciej Grabowski, the Ministry of Environment in regards to current situation of wood industry. On behalf of  OIGPM the Director Mr. Marek Adamowicz attended the meeting. The next meeting of the Wood Industry Consultative Group with DGLP was planned in November 2014. In the first half of 2014 there were some sessions of the Group devoted to the preparation of legal and economic expertise regarding the export of wood from Poland called “Analysis of legal conditions and analysis of the impact on the economy of round wood export from Poland”. The work has been continued. In August 2014 the President of OIGPM Mr. Jacek Twaróg sent to DGLP the proposal of the Chamber regarding quality and dimensional conditions of the raw material W0 leaved. The matter of the technical conditions of raw material is crucial for the Polish furniture manufacturers who use solid wood for production. The Chamber also took part in conferences organized by IBL under National Forestry Program. In June 2014 there was a conference entitled “Forests and forest management as a tool for shaping the environment and environment protection”. In November 2014 under above mentioned program there was another conference called “The vision of forestry in Poland. The vision and the mission the PGL National Forestry”. 

In January 2014 OIGPM sent an official letter to the Minster Mr. Jacek Ciechocki regarding the proposal of the new version of the bill about OZE. In the letter we reported our opposition to a new definition of wholesome wood. There was proposed to exclude from the scope of a new definition the wood from the S2a and S2c group.  The wood is mainly used by wood-based panels industry and pulp-paper industry, and it is the basic raw material for them. To a lesser extent it also used by the sawmill industry, pallet industry and manufactures of products for garden furnishing and furniture industry. Accordingly, we have proposed that the definition of timber wholesome also includes these two groups of wood. Our demands have been taken into account.

Conferences, seminaries and trainings:

Accompanying events  Meble Polska Fairs in Poznań in 2014.

For the guests who were interested in developing expertise and seeking professional innovations, the Polish Chamber of Commerce of Furniture Manufacturers has prepared an interesting program of seminars and workshops, including, among others:

A series of seminaries and consultations conducted by Mr. Marek Borowiński

“How to entourage clients to visit furniture store”,

“How the changes in organization and arrangements of furniture store influence the increase of sales”

„The synergy of senses” – what the client likes in furniture store”

“The latest trends in sales space arrangements based on the EURO SHOP FAIRS in Düsseldorf”

„TREND DESIGN 2014 the latest trends in the interior design on the base of Maison & Object from Paris and  Heimtextil in Frankfurt”.

„The latest rules of client influence in the shop on the base of EURO SHOP fairs in Dusseldorf”.

The seminaries lead by Mr. Marek Borowiński are dedicated mainly for sales force who directly deal with individual clients in furniture shop.  

Above mentioned seminaries realize how properly organize the shop (lead the client) to have the influence on client’s behavior, in order to increase sales – Visual Merchandising, how to conduct effective trade negotiations.  

Polish Furniture Outlook 2014 – the seminary conducted by B+R Studio.

„The Republic of China – possibilities or threats” – the seminary conducted by ChinaWay.

A series of seminaries conducted by E-meblarstwo company:

„Computer-integrated manufacturing of furniture – from the concept of the product to the client satisfaction”,

Key requirements for management information system in the furniture sector”.

Accompanying invents in DREMA/FURNICA Fairs in Poznań 2014

For the guests who were interested in developing expertise and seeking professional innovations, the Polish Chamber of Commerce of Furniture Manufacturers has prepared for DREMA/FURNICA Fairs an interesting program of seminars and workshops, including, among others:

„Creating a modern enterprise in furniture industry with the use of IT solutions” – the meeting was prepared by E-meblarstwo company. 

“Overview of the new material solutions developed by employees of the Department of Wood Technology, the University of Agriculture” – the meeting was prepared by SGGW Warsaw. 

“Lowering the cost of execution of orders through the information system” – a series of meetings prepared by Academy of Technology

In May 2014 OIGPM took part in European Economic Meeting in Katowice. Mr. Marek Adamowicz was one of the speaker regarding “Wood-based industries in the modern economy. Innovation, research and development, social responsibility”. The moderator of the panel discussion was professor Mr. Władysław Strykowski – the Director of Wood Technology Institute. 

In 2014 OIGPM was involved in organization of the Polish Furniture exhibition during the II General National Exhibition (PWK) “ Competitive Poland 1989 – 2014” which was held in the area of International Poznań fairs from June 2 to 15 2014. The event was under the patronage of the Polish President Mr. Bronisław Komorowski. The exhibition was dedicated to the achievements of the past 25 years of Polish Furniture Industry – the industry of great importance for the Polish economy. At the same time there was one day conference dedicated to successes of 25 year Polish furniture industry. Many well-known and recognized companies and personalities from the industry attended the event. The conference was attended among others by: the President of Forte Mr. Maciej Formanowicz, the President of Vox Mr. Piotr Voelkel, the President of Ludwik Styl Mr Jacek Twaróg and many other representatives of Polish furniture industry. The congratulatory letter was sent by the Vice President and Ministry of Economy Mr. Janusz Piechociński and read by Mrs. Maria Rasała the Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Economy.

The formula of the exhibition in conjunction with the conference was another stage in the process of wide promotion of Polish furniture industry on which depends so much promotion of the furniture industry. Poznan exhibition was an opportunity to meet, share experiences and make new contacts.

Activities of furniture export promotion:

The constant cooperation with the Department of European Funds and Support Instruments Department at the Ministry of Economy was continued and the aim was raising funds for financing activities for the promotion of exports of furniture carried out by the Members of the Chamber. The cooperation was based on direct contacts with representatives of the Ministry of Economy and phone calls also with ambassadors of the Republic of Poland. These contacts were connected mainly with Activities 6.5 POIG (promotion of Polish economy).  

We forwarded information about events exhibition - fairs and business missions by posting on our website information to be used by furniture manufacturers. We sent also e-mails to furniture factories OIGPM members about the planned fairs.

In 2014 the Office of the Chamber has continued work connected with the realization of Sector Promotion Program in range of Activities 6.5 POIG about promotion of Polish economy. The preparatory work for this project started on 25 February 2010. The project is  conducted with MTP Consortium and OIGPM. In 2014, there were works connected with organization and visiting as exhibitors of Polish furniture producers at the Fair IMM in Cologne and Birmingham INTERIORS in January 2014 (continuation of the work started in 2013). Besides in the reporting period under BPP, the Chamber was a co organizer of arrival trade mission for foreign contractors and journalists to the MEBLE POLSKA fair in Poznań. During above missions there were organized direct meetings with participants with Polish entrepreneurs.     

In March and July 2014 the Office of the Chamber sent to the Prime Minister Mr. Janusz Piechociński an official letters regarding extension of BPP Meble for coming years, up to 2020. In 2014 there were two meetings with the Ministry of Economy representatives and WPHiI about the summary execution by BPP. Mr. Marek Adamowicz attended the meeting on behalf of the Chamber. The Ministry of Economy has not joined the discussion about extension of mentioned project yet, because there were no guidelines about distribution of funds from the new budget for 2014-2020. There is a very hard pressure to ensure means mainly disposed to the regions, which would exclude in practice funding nationwide projects, and such a project is current BPP. Meetings and talks are going to be continued. 

Development of the information activities of the Chamber and improvement the flow of information

In 2014, the Chamber Newsletters were issued with the publisher Inwestor. They are integrated part of monthly release Meblarstwo, and also there are printed separately in the number of 200 copies. The form ensures the Chamber the better availability to furniture manufacturers with important information to the industry.  

In 2014 we have continued development and updating internet pages www.oigpm.org.pl and www.meble.org.pl. These services are intended for all interested in the furniture industry as a tool for information, education and a platform for networking and exchange of experience. There are significant information not only for producers or  science – research environment but also for buyers or end clients, individual and  institutional, and also for producers of materials needed for furniture production. There are information about projects lead by OIGPM, planned undertaking, industrial events, fairs and trainings. In 2014 the Chamber and LEONLABS company lead work on web page of the Chamber. At the same time, the Board of the Chamber approved the new logo which was officially presented with the new web page of OIGPM to maintain the consistency of communication. 

The current updates of e-mail database for cooperation with all members of the Chamber. Communication via e-mail is the primary channel of communication with members of the Chamber.

In June 2014 the next supplement was released with Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper named :Polish Furniture”. It was 15th supplement dedicated to promotion of Polish Furniture Industry. 

We have sent by e-mails to all Members of the Chamber actual information about current work of the Chamber, and also proposals regarding organization of promotion events, training, symposiums and similar  by the Chamber. These kind of contact with the Members of the Chamber is very valuable supplement of the information system through Information Bulletin and web pages. 

We have also continued cooperation with other organizations of self-government economic, especially with  the National Chamber of Commerce, the Wood Based Panels Producers Association in Poland, the Association of Engineers and Forestry Technicians and Wood Industry and  the Science Centers for Teaching and Research (SGGW – WTD in Warsaw and UP – WTD in Poznań).

We have continued cooperation with B+R Studio company in range of preparation and publishing market reports which main aim was to describe the situation of the furniture market in Poland. During the existing cooperation in 2014 there were prepared following reports:”The Polish Furniture Outlook 2014”,”The expenditure on furniture in Poland 2014”, “The furniture market for building cavities in Poland”, and “The cabinet furniture market for flats”. The reports are sold to other companies. The reports are very popular in business environment and also familiar to cooperates in furniture industry. In practice, there were no these type of elaboration available on Polish market. Therefore we see the need to future development of work regarding the market reports in 2015 and subsequent years.    

In 2014 the Office of the Chamber was engaged in work of the National Chamber of Commerce (participation in the General Meeting of NCC) on applying for – as a representative of associated employers – membership in the Trilateral Commission regarding socio – economic matters, and also a meeting of the Council of the National Chamber of Commerce in Katowice during IV European Congress for Small and Medium Enterprises. We have also continued cooperation with other organizations, primarily with the Wood Based Panels Producers Association in Poland, the Association of Engineers and Forestry Technicians and Wood Industry and  the Science Centers for Teaching and Research (SGGW – WTD in Warsaw and AR – WTD in Poznań) and also talked about cooperation with clusters. 

Efforts to achieve the grants:

In 2014 the Office of the Chamber with IG MetallVorsstand from Germany and other foreign partners from Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Romania has lead project called BOLSTER UP. The aim of the project is the development of competencies of employees in two related occupations such as an upholsterer and a carpenter, who together represent a group of about 50% skilled workers in the European wood industry and furniture sector. On the basis of extensive research conducted on the national requirements for the qualification and competence of employees in selected industry sector, taking into account its needs in the future, within the framework of this project it has been developed general profile of vocational training. The results of this project have been incorporated into the existing European social dialogue and will be widely promoted throughout Europe. At the same time long-term goal is to achieve full acceptance and mutual recognition of the fundamental professional profiles in all European countries. The project includes the social partners, the European umbrella organizations and training providers. In addition, as experts and consultants are involved people who are active in the wood and furniture industry. In March 2014 there was a 4th working meeting held in Warsaw and all the most important aspects related to the projected were discussed. In September 2014 there was a final conference of BOLSTER UP project. On behalf of the Chamber Mr. Marek Adamowicz, Mrs. Sylwia Oleńska and Mr. Piotr Beer – the professor of SGGW in Warsaw and Tomasz Wiktorski attended. During the conference the Chamber was responsible for organization and leading the working group meeting regarding propagation of the project results. 

The next project which the OIGPM was involved under Leonardo da Vinci program is ECO4VET. The project was started by the Chamber on December 1, 2013 with foreign partners from Spain, Italy, Belgium, Turkey, Romania and Greece. In the project it is also involved Trade Union BUDOWLANI from Poland. 

ECO4VET Project is the initiative of 10 partners (including furniture producers associations, institutions of education and trainings, and decision-makers having an impact on VET policy) from European Union.  The main objective of the project is to create a standard education program and qualifications of professionals in the field of eco design furniture and sustainable production, so as to minimize the negative impact of the furniture industry on the environment, as well as to optimize the product life cycles.

In recent years, factors such as stricter standards for environmental protection, the release of standard guidelines on the use of eco design and the ever-increasing demands of emerging markets in terms of durability of products, have created new challenges for manufacturers of furniture.

There is no official education program in the field of eco design and sustainable production and it directly affects the production of furniture and furniture industry, which is dominated by micro enterprises (86% of EU enterprises employing less than 10 employees). The size and structure of furniture companies in the EU have a positive impact on the process of adapting employees to new requirements (legislation, environmental standards, expectations and requirements of the market). Moreover, taking into consideration the recent changes that have occurred in the System ISO 14006 in terms of eco design, it is necessary to meet the training needs in the various companies that want to implement the above system.

ECO4VET aims to fulfill the education gap in identifying the needs of furniture industry by developing tools and methods of training employees in the eco design and sustainable production.

It can be said that the project ECO4VET responses to the public demand in the use and application of more environmentally friendly materials, production processes and services in the furniture industry. "Green market" for the furniture industry is an opportunity to be more innovative, create jobs and generate so-called value added to their products to compete effectively in this field with products coming from economies "low-paid".

The demand for this type of approach is growing rapidly, but in most cases it cannot be satisfied by furniture manufacturers. The main reason for this state of affairs is the lack of the aforementioned knowledge and skills in this area. This project aim is to change that.

In May 2014 in Warsaw, there was a second meeting in regards of ECO4VET Project. Mr. Marek Adamowicz and Mr. Michał Strzelecki have attended the meeting on behalf of the Chamber and representatives of all interested partners.

At the same time, from October 2013 the OIGPM has lead with foreign partner the project called IQ for ECVET, also under Leonard da Vinci project. 

The main objective of the project is to support the education and training (VET) in the EU's partner countries and promote the European Transfer System of Vocational Education and Training (ECVET). The project will collect and comply in a transparent way, information on the required competences within 6 professional profiles in involved countries (the furniture sector - 2 professional profiles, textile industry - 2 professional profiles and manufacture of floors - 2 professional profiles). At the same time it will be created an attractive "e-learning web-based platform" containing educational modules on 3 of these industries.

The globalization, which for many years has become an undeniable fact, and the flow of skilled workers between countries of the European Union creates a strong need to establish transparent systems of education and qualifications. These systems should be clear and easy for all employers and workers regardless of the country in which the work is done and where the employee has acquired the necessary knowledge and qualifications authorizing to pursue a particular profession. Despite the noticeable differences in national vocational education systems, the work organization and requirements for the qualification of employees are everywhere very similar.

The significant support in the above activities will be creation of the e-learning platform. The partners of the project are: Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Romania. The project would be held by September 2015. In March 2014 in Aachen there was a second meeting regarding the project. In the meeting on behalf of the Chamber attended Mr. Michał Strzelecki. In September 2014 the Office of the Chamber organized the third project meeting in Warsaw and Mr. Marek Adamowicz and Mr. Michał Strzelecki took part in it. 

In October 1, 2013 started the European Project Leonardo da Vinci relating to the application of information and communication technology in designing furniture for elderly and physically disabled people. The aim of the project is to develop and approve a uniform education program for the European furniture industry. The project involves representatives of research centers, vocational training centers and universities from Spain, Slovenia, Poland, Italy, Austria and the UK. The project involves two Polish centers: the Polish Chamber of Commerce of Furniture Manufacturers and the Department of Wood Technology from Warsaw Agricultural University.

The design of the program is based on the principles of ECVET in the design and manufacture of intelligent furniture to support people with disabilities and the elderly. The project aim is to lead the development of vocational education program for students, designers and people who are working in the production of furniture. The care and support for elderly and disabled people is a kind of an emerging market and there is a growing number of furniture organizations and furniture manufacturers which focus their attention on such a development. However, statistics show that the most of the furniture companies do not have skilled employees who know the specific requirements and safety requirements of furniture for the elderly and disabled. The initiative aims to create a new profile of professional qualifications for people working in the furniture industry and students who in the future would like to work with this type of furniture. In May 2014 in Slovenia there was a second meeting on the implementation of this project. The meeting on behalf of OIGPM was attended by Mrs. Sylvia Oleńska.

In 2014 the Office of the Chamber and the Institute of Wood Technology have developed an application for funding for the project under the initiative of CORNET called "Development of objective testing methods for narrow surfaces and edges of the furniture elements".

At present there are no normative documents, national and European ones which describe methods of testing the narrow surfaces and edges of furniture. There are known only these from the 80s of the last century, standards of Scandinavian countries, including Swedish and Norwegian ones, often inappropriate to modern technological solutions used in the furniture industry at the moment. This caused manufacturers of furniture and scientific research institutes to develop their own methods of research. Examples of such industrial units and / or research are IKEA- Sweden, AMK- Grupa Robocza, Nowoczesne Meble Kuchenne - Germany.

The analysis of the results made on the base of these industrial methods indicate that they do not always allow for qualitative differentiation of furniture products. Not clear definitions and evaluation criteria of the results make it impossible to test with satisfactory repeatability and reproducibility. Therefore, the main aim of the project is to develop new test methods which meet these requirements. In addition, uniform and clearly defined research methods will correctly classify the product and estimate its lifetime. Enable accurate and rapid assessment of the quality of finishes, thus making it easier to furniture manufacturers (MSP) gain competitive advantage on the demanding European market.

The tasks of scientific – research institutions in the project are going to be primarily carrying our researches, closed cooperation with Association and MSP, reporting and presentations of the results during the meetings and preparation of dissemination materials.The expected substantial scope of work will include the development of methods edge tests on: water, steam, heat / temperature, hit, adhesion and variable climatic conditions. Whereas the role of the Association (TIFH from Germany and OIGPM) would be  providing the contact with MSP, dissemination and use of research results among furniture producers and training organization. 

The result realized works under the CORNET project is going to be a development of clear-define, objective research methods for narrow plane and edges of furniture. New-developed methods should:   

fulfill criteria of repeatability and reproducibility,

effectively differentiate narrow plane and the edges of furniture elements,

consider a variety of edge profiles.

The above project is international one and it is going to be lead in Poland and Germany at the same time. 

In October 3, 2014 we received the decision from NCBR about award grants for our project. 

Other activities of the Chamber.

Industry trade mark „POLSKIE MEBLE – POTWIERDZONA JAKOŚĆ” – promotion of the trade mark. The action mainly took place by internet page www.meble.org.pl and www.oigpm.org.pl. Besides, the promotion of the trade mark was the main aim during the fairs organized by the Chamber during FURNICA Fairs and MEBLE POLSKA 2013 in Poznań. At the moment the right to use the trade mark have: BALMA S.A., SZYNAKA – MEBLE Sp. z o.o., MARTELA Sp. z o.o., NOWY STYL Sp. z o.o., MTI FURNINOVA. and MIKOMAX Sp. z o.o.