18 May 2024, 20:43
By Furniture News Apr 16, 2013

MGM – the cream of British manufacture

Recognition for making the effort to be top of one’s game is what every individual – and company – naturally seeks. In the furniture industry – and specifically for British-based manufacturers and designers – there is a mechanism for achieving such recognition, in the form of the Guild Marks awarded by the Furniture Makers, the industry’s central organisation, charity and patron …

The Manufacturing Guild Mark clearly identifies quality-assured British furniture for makers and sellers alike. Most people think of the Guild Marks as awards to Britain’s bespoke designer-makers for their beautiful, hand-crafted individual pieces of furniture – and, indeed, nearly 450 of these have been awarded over the past 45 or so years since the Guild Mark scheme was first introduced.

“The Guild Mark can be used in all aspects of marketing, and the quality endorsement it represents can be a powerful part of your selling armoury, both at home and abroad”

However, back in the early 1990s, it was decided that a separate mark was needed, specifically to recognise furniture manufacturers producing in quantity, which achieve excellence across the board. Originally known as the Production Guild Mark, it evolved to become today’s Manufacturing Guild Mark (MGM), awarded not for a particular product but to the company as a whole. To date, less than 30 have ever been awarded – and there is a limit of 50 MGM holders at any one time.

So, what does it take to be recognised as one of Britain’s top furniture manufacturers? Manufacturing predominantly in Britain is a pre-requisite of course, but the company can be producing furniture for the retail or contract market – whether it be kitchens, office or educational furniture, upholstery, beds, bedroom, living, dining or outdoor furniture.

“This prestigious award recognises that a company is committed to the highest standards throughout its organisation, and especially in making, design and service to customers”

All MGM applicants are vetted through a comprehensive set of criteria, requiring them to demonstrate well-above-average standards of professionalism and care. They cover all aspects of the business including finance, admin systems and staff welfare, as well as product design and quality, manufacturing processes, health and safety and environmental standards, marketing and after-sales service.

For 2013 this vetting process has been considerably strengethened with the introduction of third-party auditing of the criteria by resarch association FIRA.

Alex Wyllie, the current chairman of the MGM committee – its members are all liverymen of the Furniture Makers – says: “This prestigious award recognises that a company is committed to the highest standards throughout its organisation, and especially in making, design and service to customers. The Guild Mark can be used in all aspects of marketing, and the quality endorsement it represents can be a powerful part of your selling armoury, both at home and abroad.”

There are currently just 17 MGM holders out of a possible 50. The message is simple – any company that believes they are one of the best furniture manufacturers in the UK, regardless of what type of furniture they produce or what market they are targeting, should be recognised as such.

This article was originally published in Furniture News, issue 289.

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