“Keeping up with the pace in a company centred in tradition can be done by marketing, sales and the use of new administrational technology, but you have to be very careful in your production as to which new tools and methods you use if you want to reflect traditional craftsmanship and quality”, says Thomas Bernhard Pedersen.
Quality is to a product what character is to a man. This is a quote attributed to H.J. Heinz, who founded the Heinz Corporation, but it could just as well come from Thomas Bernhard Pedersen. As a fourth generation owner of the furniture manufacturer Bernh. Pedersen & Son, he grew up with the touch and mindset of quality in the furniture business.
Today, all of his re-launched furniture are still produced as a reflection of the thoroughness and responsibility by which his ancestors made them.
”I´m very careful about how and what I change in the production of our designs. Rarely does the result improve by using newer tools and machinery when it comes to quality in craftsmanship”, states Thomas Bernhard Pedersen.
As a kid he grew up in the making of sideboards, tables and other wooden furniture. His parents regularly took him along to fairs and sales events:
”Back in the day, fairs were all about filling up your order book and then going back home to produce; however, today it is very different, whereby because of new technology we have the possibility to easily keep in touch, even at a far distance. This pace and opportunity is amazing in my position and I love to take advantage of it”, Thomas says and continues:
”But some things never change. Quality in woodwork for instance. You can feel it, you can see it, and very little machinery can create the work of a skilled man.”
He describes how he often watches craftsmen and others in the furniture business using their hands as eyes to observe pieces of furniture in front of them. We watches how they spot the assemblies and the finish in every corner and detail in order to recognize quality.
”When you feel, you really meet quality – you can feel time – the time spent on this particular product, and I love that feeling.”
Freedom of choice
Now, don´t go imagining that Thomas Bernhard Pedersen is just being backward-looking and all about the past. New technique and ideas are allowed to enter the workshop, just as long as they live up to expectations:
”We utilize CNC machinery as it makes a more bulletproof prototype and it is especially useful at the point when we are about to take new models into production, and of course, this type of work is particularly important to us.” By new models, Thomas Bernhard Pedersen actually means old, in the sense that his parents and grandparents enjoyed a lot of cooperation with furniture architects during their time, which left quite a lot of material that is still relevant in the markets he´s selling in today:
”Some of the models are a statement from the past – but a lot of them are just really, really nice and would be perfect now, even though its 50 years later. In the nearest future, we would love to start manufacturing those again and this is where the new technology using CNC machinery comes in handy”, he says and states:
“In other words: it doesn´t have to be either only new or only old. It just has to work and I prefer that freedom of choice.”