DIGIT-FUR – Impacts of the Digital Transformation in the Wood Furniture Industry

The DIGITAL Revolution (or the 4th Industrial Revolution) is happening and it will deeply transform the processes along the whole value chain in all sectors -including the Furniture sector- impacting occupations, workers’ health & safety risks and skills & knowledge needs. The challenge ahead is for the companies to seize fully and swiftly these digital opportunities. This is essential to ensure industry’s mid and long-term competitiveness with implications for workers and safety. There is the need to increase the knowledge in this field to support social dialogue.

The DIGIT-FUR project (Impacts of the digital transformation in the wood furniture industry), funded by the EU through the call Support for Social Dialogue, will last 2 years and will increase the understanding of the digitization processes happening and their impact on the furniture sector by 2025. The project will study and forecast the potential impact of digitisation in the EU furniture industry and in particular, how this transformation will affect current wood furniture value chain and processes in the industries – e.g. purchasing, design, manufacturing, marketing, sales and logistics – and their associated jobs in terms of changes in occupations, health and safety at work and new skills needs.

The first project step will be to identify the current structural situation of the wood furniture sector, with a special attention on the digitization state of the art along the whole value chain, but also key occupations (skills and health and safety) and market trends & other drivers of change.

Then, following the identification of the possible sector scenarios due to digitalization by 2025 through a Delphi method research involving key stakeholders and a multidiscipline team of experts, the project will analyse:

  • New functions and requirements for jobs in each scenario.
  • How the changes in these scenarios will impact (positively or negatively) health and safety risks of workplaces (e.g. more sedentary tasks, more responsibility and stress, eyestrain, etc.).
  • Appropriate digital (and other) skills and knowledge that better match with new jobs requirements and functions.

Furthermore, best practices that EU member states and regions are implementing for promoting the industrial digitalization will be analysed and evaluated according its applicability to furniture sector.

The goal of the project is to: contribute to the social dialogue at local, national and European level; better match the supply of skills and labour market demand and thus having the human capital of the sector ready for this transformation; prevent any H&S risks for the workers of the sector. The results will be of interest to workers, employers, trainers and policy-makers.

The target groups are:

  1. Furniture companies and employees;
  2. Employers’ and employees Associations;
  3. Vocational education and training providers and higher education institutes, their students and training regulatory entities;
  4. Furniture equipment manufacturers and health and safety regulators; and
  5. Innovation policy makers at regional, national and EC level.