KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: The Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) aims to increase the value of furniture exports by producing more high quality and value-added products, as the industry gradually shifts to own design manufacturing (ODM) and own brand manufacturing (OBM) production lines.
MTIB Director-General Datuk Dr Jalaluddin Harun said to stay globally competitive, Malaysia can no longer rely on producing more products by volume and own equipment manufacturing (OEM), which is a reproduction or copies, as this is not sustainable and of less value.
“There is growing demand for quality, value-for-money and green products.
“We urge the industry to employ qualified furniture designers with skills and experience, besides looking at the important aspects of design, including the ergonomics, safety, stability and user convenience,” he said at the Wood-Based Furniture Design 2018: Sustainable & Commercial Conference here on Tuesday.
He said with high creativity and innovation, Malaysia’s furniture, which incorporates multi-functional and compact design for limited spaces, practicality, suitable colour schemes and culture, also has great potential in the South Korea and Japan markets.
Meanwhile, on the status of the development of the Muar Furniture Park (MFP) in Bakri, Muar in Johor, he said the 399.2-hectare land for the park has been levelled and would take about two to three years for infrastructure completion.
MTIB will also have its own 8.09-hectare centre at the MFP to conduct research and development and provide testing facilities worth RM40 million, which is expected to be fully operational in five years’ time, he added.
“Currently we have 112 companies mostly vendors (small companies) of furniture products to be located at MFP, and this can be extended to 180-220 companies depending on their factory structure.
“We have also been facilitating these vendors in terms of loan application and so far 35 companies have received about RM170 million in total from Malaysia Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) and other financial institutions,” he said.
He said companies keen to join MFP need to have OBM/ODM lines, have at least 20-30 per cent level of automation, be export-oriented and posses lean management particularly in adopting the Japanese 5S workplace system (sort, set in order, shine, standardise and sustain).
He added that in the last six months, MTIB has trained 53 companies in 5S adoption, resulting in cost savings for the companies of RM48 million.
The MFP was launched by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in April this year.