CHICAGO – Skyline Furniture is looking to support and complement Poland's own domestic manufacturing operation as a pillar of its international sourcing.

In addition to manufacturing custom-order upholstery with an e-commerce focus in Illinois, Skyline also supplied sources of finished upholstery and case goods, as well as components and raw materials for feeding its own production.

The company has been sourcing upholstery and case pieces in China for the past 10 years, as well as case goods from Mexico, but Poland will play a greater role for those categories and components as Skyline seeks more stable sourcing from manufacturers that are farther along the "Learning Curve" than those in some alternative source countries.

Skyline's move to Poland, where three source factories are now shipping finished upholstery, cases and components to the U.S. market, started in support of major customers looking to expand their business in Europe and looked to manufacture to offer quick service in those markets.

"We began looking to Eastern Europe a year ago," President Meganne Wecker said.

"Our Chicago factory is focused on e-commerce and we saw many of our major e-commerce customers opening operations in Europe, where online furniture sales are still in their infancy. We looked at Eastern European manufacturers to teach them what we were doing in Chicago so we could serve the European market."

Meganne's father, Skyline CEO Ted Wecker, said the company has been exploring other options in Europe.

Meganne Wecker followed up on that, saying that Polish manufacturers are farther along the "Learning curve" when it comes to serving export markets than many in other potential source countries.

"Poland fabricated furniture for many years, but they did not know the U.S. market," she said.

"A major focus for us right now is to lay the foundation for their manufacturers to serve retailers here the way they need it. It's more about teaching them how to make furniture for the U.S. market, not teaching them how to make furniture." Ted Wecker noted that in addition to their access to a solid transportation infrastructure in Europe, Polish manufacturers are already ready for the U.S. market in many respects.

"We went to Vietnam and felt it would be eight months before we could dream of shipping to retailers here with all the manufacturing and social audits we needed." Polish manufacturers are "far more advanced for what we're looking for than any of the other countries that we've been dealing with."

According to Meganne Wecker, Skyline's move to Poland "Closes the circle" of the family's presence in the furnishing industry.Read the original article "Skyline's production, style capability directs more of its sourcing to Poland - Furniture Today" at