AFA BUSINESS SERVICES
The AFA provides a significant and relevant range of business services to AFA Members and the wider furnishing community.
From professional business services to advocacy and networking support, together with our selection of premium partners the AFA ensures that our Members receive the latest information to manage and grow their businesses.
AFA Members also benefit from being part of a collective and respected voice which is critical in communicating with governments and other key stakeholders.
AFA ADVICE LINE
The Australasian Furnishing Association (AFA) is the peak industry organisation representing Australia in the global furnishing industry market.
AFA Membership includes individuals and businesses spanning the entire furnishing industry supply chain. AFA Members include students, employers, trainers, designers, suppliers, testers and certifiers, compliance and regulatory bodies, manufacturers, importers, exporters, retailers, consumers, allied industries, international partners and buyers.
- Students of design or manufacturing, including apprentices and trainees;
- Employers of upholsterers through to sales teams and everything in between;
- Training institutions delivering any furnishing related courses or involved in the development of training packages, departments of education or individual teachers including a community of practice for training practitioners;
- Suppliers of equipment or materials from CAD machinery to textiles and everything in between;
- Testing and certification organisations across all levels of the production process including strength testing through to due diligence regulations;
- Australian and international standards and compliance bodies across requirements such as consumer law and mandatory product standards;
- Manufacturers of custom Australian products through to assembly of a mix of imported or locally made components;
- Importers of products or services for example certified wood or I.P tracking services;
- Exporters of products or intellectual property such as education and training services or high quality Australian furniture;
- Online or store retailers, and buyers of products or services spanning residential or commercial furnishing markets such as public spaces and government procurement, through to property developers and wholesalers;
- Allied industry partners such as associations across the homewares, hospitality, health, education, and other sectors;
- International partners such as global design awards, mentoring programs and technology sharing;
- Buyers and sellers of furnishing products;
- Agents and sales teams.
The diversity of the AFA’s Membership allows it to fulfil its purpose which is to connect and support all of its Members with the knowledge and understanding of the global furnishing industry, to increase trade, position Australia as a high quality global furnishings supply nation and grow businesses along the entire supply chain in order to stimulate that growth.
The AFA does this by contributing to worldwide consultation, collaborating with the Australian and state governments, positioning Australia as the ‘go to nation’ for high quality, clean, green products and services on behalf of all AFA Members, particularly in the Australasia region, by supporting each segment of the supply chain as required and conducting one of Australasia’s most recognised furniture exhibitions – FURNITEX.
The AFA is also committed to helping AFA Member businesses with a focus on building competitive and sustainable business models and to promote the profitable growth, innovation and success of its Members by providing advocacy and lobbying leadership via government and industry led networks, standing between the importation of substandard products to Australia to reinforce a level playing field and protect Australian businesses and sourcing ‘group buying’ opportunities to reduce its Members operating costs.
The AFA does this by providing a broad range of business services and via its involvement in Standards and regulatory committees, performing a leading role in the Australian government’s industry reference committee to redevelop the furnishing training package, lobbying and advocacy in all sectors of the design, supply and manufacture of furnishing products and services into other industries such as the hospitality, education and health sectors, partnering with allied industries to increase awareness of the importance of purchasing high quality, products which meet the appropriate standards, are safe and fit for purpose.
The AFA also handles consumer complaints and works closely with all parties, including regulatory bodies, to rectify each issue as it comes to hand.
The AFA conducts workshops and events to assist its Members to increase their business and skill knowledge and the AFA Shop contains resources and tools related to research, legislation and regulatory requirements for online purchase.
Are you missing out? Become an AFA Member today.
APPRENTICESHIPS AND TRAINING – Apprenticeship Support Australia
Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA) assists AFA’s nationwide membership to build workplace capability using the Australian Government’s funded apprenticeships program.
Apprenticeship Support Australia provides advice to employers, free of charge, to develop and maintain apprenticeship programs.
ASA maximise the benefits available to AFA Members nationally with advice on what incentives and training options are available, linking employers to Registered Training Organisations, registering apprentices as required and providing mentoring services.
Employers are able to use the Skillsroad.com.au website to share information with school leavers on opportunities available in the industry and to advertise apprenticeship and traineeship vacancies on the Skillsroad.com.au jobs board.
Members of the AFA will have the choice between having one national contact or multiple state based contacts to execute their programs.
CONSUMER PROTECTION - ACCC
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is an independent Commonwealth statutory authority whose role is to enforce the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and a range of additional legislation, promoting competition, fair trading and regulating national infrastructure for the benefit of all Australians.
EDUCATION & TRAINING PROVIDERS
EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS INSURANCE - Workplace Assured
What if the idea of crippling claims and eye-watering legal fees wasn’t hanging over your head? Consider it one less thing to worry about with Workplace Assured. For a fixed fee, Workplace Assured is like having your own employment relations specialist at a fraction of what it would cost you to employ this resource yourself. Unsure what rates to pay your staff, need help interpreting an award provision or would like advice on how to manage a redundancy process? Have your questions answered so you don’t get it wrong. Even if you do have a good understanding of your obligations, why not seek clarification from an expert about what action you are planning? Better safe than sorry. DISCOUNTED Insurance Services are available for AFA Platinum and Importer Members AFA Members can learn more about Member discounts and Member Resources by logging in to Members Only
ENERGY COMPARISON SERVICES - Make It Cheaper
Make it Cheaper is one of Australia’s largest independent business energy brokers, dedicated to saving Australians time and money by securing the most competitive offers on their energy bills. By working with a panel of energy retailers, Make it Cheaper can remain completely independent and focus wholly on getting you the best outcome according to your interests and energy needs. When negotiating large-market energy contracts, you need specialist expertise. Our commercial energy specialists thoroughly understand how the market works, and give you complete transparency. Better yet, our expert tendering service is free, impartial and completely bespoke to the energy needs of your business. At Make it Cheaper, we also work closely with a number of partners that offer further cost-saving services across efficiency, solar and powerfactor correction. We also offer free tariff analysis and restructuring services – to ensure that money saving is at an optimum. Let us investigate your current contract, our energy experts are here to help. Call (02) 8077 0007 for a free bill comparison or click HERE to upload a copy of your bill.
GOVERNMENT GRANTS & TENDERS -Treadstone
Treadstone is a consulting firm specialising in grant writing, business development, business plan writing and coaching. The team at Treadstone are passionate about working with Small Businesses and assisting them in the course of their everyday business to succeed in the domestic and global market place. Their unique point of difference is an enviable knowledge of federal and state grants and experience helping business prepare for competitive grants. Treadstone provide grant applications for over 100 businesses every year.
Treadstone specialises in the preparation and writing of grant applications. If you have an upcoming project and think you might be in need of assistance, then Treadstone would welcome the opportunity to assist your business. AFA Members can access special rates for this service. Further, if you have a project that you would like to engage in and are unsure whether your business is eligible for government grant funding, then please contact the AFA.
LEGAL - Sharon Givoni Consulting
Sharon Givoni Consulting is an AFA preferred supplier in the Legal Services Category.
One of the Australian Furniture Association’s preferred suppliers of legal services, Sharon Givoni Consulting is a boutique law firm specialising in commercial law matters and intellectual property. They have extensive experience in the areas of furniture design, manufacturing, importing and retailing. There are many ways to protect the intellectual property assets of your furniture designs and Sharon Givoni consulting has strong expertise in this area.
Their philosophy is simple: we turn your ideas into assets.
Legal issues that affect the Australian furnishing and design industry can be broad and varied challenging and we can assist including in the areas of:
- Design protection for furniture and other items
- Strategies to protect your designs
- Copyright licences and assignments
- Commercial agreements relating to furniture including manufacturing agreements and distribution agreements
- Social media and digital marketing agreements
- Website terms and conditions
- Labelling and packaging laws
- Consumer laws
- Defamation law
- Contractor agreements and employment matters
- Warranty enquiries
The alliance with Sharon Givoni Consulting allows you to access a well-established law firm that prides itself on giving cost effective and prompt advice.
If you are interested in any of the services here, please call Sharon Givoni Consulting on 03 9527 1334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary discussion. They can also offer you a competitive discount based on your AFA membership level.
AFA Members have access to complimentary initial consultations and AFA Member discounted rates. AFA Members can learn more about Member discounts by contacting the AFA offices on 03 8691 4243. Sharon Givoni Consultants also conduct regular workshops and seminars on topics that are important to AFA Members.
ONLINE COUNTERFEITING AND DIGITAL PIRACY SERVICES – Redpoints, International
Red Points is a technology company that provides the smart solution for brands and content owners to counterfeiting online and digital piracy. Red Points is the preferred brand protection partner in the sporting, entertainment, fashion & accessories, editorial, design and luxury industries, providing unique products across the entire digital spectrum.
The AFA places a strong emphasis on product safety. It actively supports Members’ safety programs and promotes action across the industry to improve furniture safety.
We remind consumers to look for the Australian Furniture Association logo when purchasing furniture. The AFA receives numerous consumer enquiries on a daily basis and it makes it easier for us to assist if we can trace back to an AFA Member for support and action, both to protect the consumer and also assist our Members to be responsible and compliant suppliers.
TESTING & CERTIFICATION - AFRDI
DID YOU KNOW THAT MANY FURNITURE PRODUCTS MUST MEET AUSTRALIAN STANDARDS AND BE TESTED ACCORDINGLY?
The Australasian Furnishing Research & Development Institute (AFRDI), also known as Furntech, is a technical organisation serving the interests of buyers and sellers of furnishings in Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
Furniture displaying the FURNTECH-AFRDI logos and certification marks carries an assurance of quality and high standards often demanded by consumers, retailers and sometimes by law.
WHAT IS FURNTECH-AFRDI?
AFRDI is a Registered Research Agency (RRA) which carries out testing for products in the high-risk development categories. AFRDI services may attract a tax rebate under the Australian government’s
Research and Development support program.
WHAT DOES FURNTECH-AFRDI DO?
Furntech-AFRDI has been operating since 1989 and provides testing and certification to manufacturers who sell quality furniture. This point of difference is recognised by consumers and wholesale buyers in a market where the only difference between two products, which may outwardly appear to be the same, can be verified as tested to the highest Australian Standards.
Australasian Furnishing Association Members enjoy significant discounts for AFRDI Testing * conditions apply
TESTING & CERTIFICATION - SGS
SGS Furniture Testing Services
With furniture testing capabilities in China, Hong Kong and Vietnam, SGS can help furniture manufacturers, suppliers, importers and distributors to comply with Australia’s strict product safety and standards requirements. They help businesses deliver well-designed, functional, durable and safe products to customers. SGS have the furniture industry, regulatory and technical expertise to check a products’ compliance against relevant standards and specifications. AFA Members receive significant discounts for testing which can be used to promote compliant safe products to clients and consumers.
TIMBER REGULATION - Illegal Logging
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has ceased the “soft start” audit period. Penalties for non-compliance now apply.
The penalty for breaching the Act are as much as 5 years in jail and fines of 500 penalty units which in 2017 were equivalent to AUD $150,000.00.
The AFA has completed the development of the AFA Timber Due Diligence System, to assist Members with meeting their compliance requirements.
DO YOU IMPORT ANY TIMBER PRODUCTS?
Frequently Asked Questions. READ MORE
VIDEO & ONLINE CONTENT PRODUCTION - Jo Pearson Video Productions
Do you want to harness the power of video, but you are not sure where to start? Jo Pearson and her video production team can provide AFA Members with advice and quality content for the big or small screen, with creativity, speed and a minimum of fuss.
We have experience in producing content ranging from global flagship and brand films, to executive interviews, training and product promotional videos, and short and snappy social media campaigns.
Our designers and animators are experienced in creating 2D or 3D animations that make complex ideas or processes engaging and easy to understand.
Jo and her team provide prompt, efficient and personalised services, which include strategic media advice, imaginative creative treatments, high-end post- production and camera skills training or refreshers for your key spokespersons.
WOOD CERTIFICATION STANDARDS – Responsible Wood
Established in 2002, Responsible Wood* are pioneers in the development of certification standards for wood and wood products sourced from sustainably managed forests in Australia. Our standards provide guidance and accountability for forest managers, manufacturers and suppliers. We are committed to protecting and promoting Australia’s unique environments with standards that ensure a forest industry that is environmentally, socially, culturally and commercially sustainable.
Responsible Wood manage the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme which is underpinned by two Australian Standards®:
Responsible Wood is Australia’s largest forest certification scheme and the only scheme endorsed by an Australian Standard.
Responsible Wood also manage the New Zealand Forest Management Scheme on behalf of the New Zealand Forest Certification Association (NZFCA). The Scheme is underpinned by two standards:
Both certification schemes are endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the global authority on sustainable forest management.
Through certification, education and communication, Responsible Wood will develop demand for Australian wood products that are sourced using sustainable forest managed practices tailored to specific regions and environmental conditions. The Responsible Wood certification program provides confidence for consumers, differentiating certified Australian wood products, making them easier to buy.
*Responsible Wood, is a not-for-profit standards development organisation [formerly known as Australian Forestry Standard Ltd].