Kampala 29 January 2024: Members from the Uganda Manufacturers Association’s (UMA) Furniture Sector met with Mr. Thierry Gilles, a co-founder of SuperDesign to identify and deliberate on digital projects aimed at enhancing the local timber and furniture industry in Uganda.
The meeting focused on four key areas: Software aided furniture designs, Asset financing, Business and Market linkages.
During the session, Mr. Gilles explained how manufactures in the furniture sector can harness technology to come up with innovative designs. The emphasis was not only in ensuring the designs are tailored for the ever-evolving market, but also are unique and durable.
Mr. Mansuli Ssenyondo, the UMA Chairman Training and Projects subcommittee, urged members to embrace technology as a key business asset in a bid to move to the next level of Industrial Revolution. He noted that with the right software and programs, areas like stock management optimization and waste management can be easily tracked.
He also emphasized the sector’s need for improvement in precision, design and compliance of standards as a key driver of quality production. Mr. Ssenyondo lamented on how carpenters are not open to learning, but are instead immersed in old designs and out-of-trend products, making Uganda lag behind in the international market.
Some of the members, however, expressed the need for extensive training in the use of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create unique furniture designs and products. With such training, they believe the industry could be elevated to quality standards as seen in countries like China.
Although AI is resourceful and helpful, concerns were raised on the redundancy it creates in the workforce, ultimately posing a huge threat to the job market. There is a projection that within the next 10 years, workplaces will undergo extensive digitalization, leading to a reduction in the number of employees required for operational functions.
Furthermore, the members pointed out the urgency of having tools such as AI to generate intricate designs, however, they attributed this failure to lack of financing as most software are heftily priced.
About Super Design:
SuperDesign represents a major technological and business innovation, disrupting the current process of generic mass-produced imported furniture & goods and introduces a system of automated, customized on-demand production.
It does this by creating an open but secure end-to-end solution for furniture manufacturing SME’s and designers, to configure and sell their products in an e-commerce environment, connected to an automated manufacturing process.