Indonesia, a tropical paradise and the world’s third-largest democracy, has a growing reputation for manufacturing quality furniture with artistic finishes from sustainable and indigenous woods.
American Woodcrafters (AWC) discovered this furniture-production haven over 20 years ago, and today, “The majority of our product line comes from Indonesia,” said President and CEO Chuck Foster. “A lot of handcrafted, creative products come out of Indonesia, and they have excellent sustainable lumber sources for woods like Mahogany and Mindi,” he said.
MANAGEMENT TEAMS BOND ON WEEKEND EXCURSIONS
Having a production center in Indonesia has its perks. The management teams of the factories AWC works with have the opportunity for weekend getaways together hiking the rims of volcanoes, discovering new waterfalls or relaxing on beaches.
Foster notes that occasional weekend excursions in the mountains, along the coasts or exploring waterfalls, are a good way for the AWC team in Indonesia to bond. “The people of Indonesia are warm and inviting, allowing us to build long-term relationships,” he said. “We consider many of our employees and associates friends. We have a team of people in Indonesia whose sole focus is on our business, product development and production. They are very experienced, and we talk to our leaders on the ground there regularly so we can stay on top of quality control, compliance, shipments and production.”
CREATIVE, ARTISTIC FINISHES ARE KEY SKILL OF INDONESIAN CRAFTSMEN
Among the advantages of Indonesia as a furniture manufacturing center: “Indonesia gives us the ability to do creative finishes, which is something American Woodcrafters is known for,” Foster said.
In addition to finishing expertise, “There are a lot of natural materials in Indonesia we can incorporate into our products. One example is the woven banana leaf that comes from the local plantations of Indonesia that we feature on our Rodanthe Collection,” Foster said.
Most of the manufacturing plants AWC works with are in the Surabaya region of Indonesia, described as a vibrant, sprawling metropolis mixing modern skyscrapers with canals and buildings from its Dutch Colonial past. The region is an industrial and manufacturing hub and a port city on the island of Java.
With a population of nearly 275 million and with a presidential democratic republic government elected by the people, Indonesia is a G-20 country known as one of the foremost emerging democracies. That environment provides the foundation for long-term partnerships to thrive, Foster said.
Unlike China and Vietnam, communist countries who ordered complete shutdowns of their factories and economies during the Pandemic, Indonesia only had brief shutdowns, meaning that the flow of products was less subjected to bottlenecks that kept consumers from getting the furniture they wanted when they wanted it.
“We feel the homeyness of Indonesia,” said Foster. “It is more easily accessible than other producer countries. It is place where it’s easy to enjoy the culture, the people, the bucolic charm and the beauty of the countryside.”
An extra perk for AWC’s CEO, an avid surfer in his youth: “Indonesia has such great beaches that I can do some surfing if I have a few days off.”