A furniture dealer principal who was new to the industry once said: "If the Japanese figure out how to make office furniture, this industry will change forever". He was wrong. It would be the Chinese who would throw a curve ball into the office furniture business and a bring about a change that would have a huge impact not only on cost effectiveness for the end users, but on the mid-market products and how the US consumer would look at them. The impact has been so great that US manufacturers like Hon and Global Industries manufacture entire lines of casegoods, systems furniture and seating in China as well as Malaysia and Taiwan. Although competitive tactics by US manufacturers tend to point out and question these product's quality, that argument has become null and void, particularly in recent years.
This development does not by any means disavow the quality and design of North American office furniture products. What it does do however is re-organize the competitive standards of the industry and prompt US based manufacturing to re-invent themselves as they develop new marketing strategies for the low and mid-market segments.
In the end, the end user benefits from better price points, good quality and new pricing programs by US manufacturers.