The move is partly a reaction to the ongoing tariff escalations, and partly a way to capitalize on a burgeoning market for online furniture sales in Europe.
Skyline Furniture is looking to Poland as a mainstay of its international sourcing to support and complement its own domestic manufacturing operation.
In addition to manufacturing custom-order upholstery with a focus on e-commerce in Illinois, Skyline also sources finished upholstery and case goods, as well as components and raw materials to feed its own production.
For the past 10 years, the company has sourced upholstery and case pieces in China, and case goods from Mexico, but Poland will play a larger role for those categories as well as components as Skyline seeks more stable sourcing from manufacturers that are farther along the “learning curve” than those in some alternative source countries.
Skyline’s move to Poland, where three source factories are now shipping finished upholstery, cases and components to the U.S. market, began in support of major customers who looked to expand their business in Europe and looked production to offer quick service in those markets.
“A year ago, we started looking at Eastern Europe,” said President Meganne Wecker. “Our factory in Chicago focuses on e-commerce, and we were seeing a lot of our major e-commerce customers opening dot.com operations in Europe, where online sales of furniture are still in their infancy. We looked at Eastern European manufacturers to teach them what we’d been doing in Chicago so we could serve the European market.”
Tariffs on Chinese goods and resulting supply chain strains in alternative source countries in Asia ramped up Skyline’s interest in European production.
Source: Furniture Today