Ensuring quality and competence in supply to UK bed manufacturers

Nick Harland Smith, managing director of NBF supplier member company Handy Ltd, talks about the benefits of NBF membership and why he’s looking forward to being involved with the new Suppliers Council.

“The National Bed Federation (NBF) has been an effective industry organisation for many years. Unashamedly encouraging consumers to ‘Buy British’ and to buy from accredited and trusted NBF members. For good reason, as NBF members are independently audited on a regular basis to ensure that standards of mattress construction, trade descriptions and product safety are being maintained on a continuous basis.

However, unfortunately, some non NBF members may take a more cavalier attitude towards these important issues, i.e. the mattress may not do what it says on the tin/label. There have been well publicised occasions where Trading Standards Officers have discovered non NBF member produced mattresses that have failed the relevant fire regulations or have been mis-labelled claiming a far higher spring count than in fact the mattress contained.

As a supplier to the industry since 1991 we have been proud members of the NBF since 1996. Just as there are rogue bed manufacturers so there are rogue suppliers. At Handy Ltd we are proud of our consistency of component, quality control, product testing procedures, and ethical code of conduct.

Not only has the NBF created a solid and ever expanding following of trade membership, but it continues to tackle wider challenges, attracting new talent into the industry through training and education, inspiring greener design and re-use of materials with NBF Green, and using events and awards to celebrate the very best in the UK bedding industry.

Therefore, I am excited to have been invited on to the newly formed ‘Suppliers Council’. This will be a sub-committee within the NBF structure focused on matters relating to suppliers to the UK bed manufacturing industry.

Using my 30 years of bedding industry expertise and feedback from both key clients and leading suppliers, I believe that I can share useful insight with the council to guide NBF supplier policy moving forward. We all need to be more environmentally conscious. Considering the types of raw material we use, our methods of manufacture and the distances that products have to travel.

The UK Furniture and Furnishings (Fire and Safety) Regulations continue to be a minefield and they are currently under review. We are fortunate to have the NBF representing the industry as a stakeholder in this process. We should see the fruits of this review and hopefully greater clarity by the end of 2022.

I hope that during my time on the council a ‘Suppliers Accreditation’ might be formulated, which could include random audits. This would help reassure our bed manufacturing partners that the components they are sourcing were of sound pedigree.

If you are not currently a member of the NBF, I would encourage you to take a little look at their website and learn more about what they have to offer. https://www.bedfed.org.uk/

Nick Harland Smith
Managing Director, Handy Ltd

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The National Bed Federation is the recognised trade association representing UK manufacturers of beds and their suppliers. Founded in 1912, its members today account for about 75% of the total UK bedding turnover

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