Bentinck furniture group talks recent company investments

Sham Alaq, Commercial Director at Sofa Factory – part of the Bentinck furniture group, shares an insight into the company’s recent investments.

It has been said so many times before that when challenges arise it’s much better to absorb the impact and try to move forward in some capacity rather than stand still and wait. Why? If you do the latter, it is more likely you will either be left behind when the fog clears or succumb to the pressures and collapse entirely. 

The last few years have presented many challenges. Brexit fallout, raw material shortages, Covid-19, the cost of living and much more. Navigating through these in a positive manner is Sofa Factory, part of the Bentinck furniture group, with the business fuelling its own fire through ongoing investment across three core pillars – people, technology and sustainability. 

We spoke to Sham Alaq, Commercial Director at Sofa Factory – a family-owned company based in Gateshead occupying a 129,000sqft factory, to share why ongoing investment in the business has been crucial.

“Sofa factory has grown over the last few years with both groups and many more independent retailers joining our customer list. Our core values of design, quality, service and speed of delivery has been the catalyst for the dramatic increase in our customer base and we work tirelessly to maintain these values,” Sham said.

“At Sofa Factory, every item of furniture is hand-made in our UK factory and undergoes inspection at every stage of production to ensure our customers receive the highest quality finish possible across our sofas, sofabeds and accent chairs.”

Starting with the first of the three pillars mentioned, the company continues to invest in its people and incorporates a well run and established apprenticeship scheme, which also helps bridge the skills gap.

“As a UK manufacturer, we employ over 150 staff and are delighted to work with the government as the only North East company to run two year courses in furniture manufacture apprenticeships,” Sham said, adding: “We currently have six new members of the team that have achieved Level 2 qualifications with more due to complete the apprenticeship scheme later this year.

“We value all our staff and see our apprenticeship programme a vital part of our business, which has been extremely successful.” 

The second pillar is on technology, as Sham continued: “We have been investing in new factory machinery over the last few years to allow us to maintain our high standards and lead times, with the purchase of our own wood mill machinery, foam conversion equipment and new trucks.”

The final pillar is in an area of key focus across the industry and further afield. Sustainability. Sofa Factory has just initiated phase one of its £750,000 investment into new solar panels to reduce its carbon footprint and provide a sustainable supply for the factory for the years ahead.

Sham revealed: “We take the sustainability of our products and factory extremely seriously and we are always looking for ways to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency.”

The installation will cover approximately a third of the roof, equating to 32,000sqft of solar panels.

Sham added: “We will be attending the Autumn Furniture Show in October as well as the January Furniture Show in 2023. With over 30 models to choose from and a six week delivery, I’m sure we have something for all retailers.”

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