January 3, 2022
Adaptability key to managing supply chain uncertainty
Furniture builders are still responding to a backlog of orders and relief could be months away.
Rob Haines is purchasing manager for Distributor Services Inc., a wholesaler of professional woodworking supplies and Hardwood Furniture Guild member. He says many consumers didn’t balk at long lead times stemming from unprecedented demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, furniture builders are still catching up even though manufacturing operations have largely rebounded.
Haines estimates that even with no new sales, it may be 3-6 months into 2022 before builders fully respond to existing orders. Even then, demand is likely to remain strong as lead times may have led some shoppers to simply delay their purchases.
“These are certainly unprecedented times,” said Mark Rambach, Distributor Services Inc. sales manager. Rambach notes that furniture builders are also being hit with significantly higher material costs due to labor and logistics issues. The bottom line for furniture retailers: do not expect a return to pre-COVID pricing.
Haines and Rambach offer a few suggestions for retailers:
- Remain Adaptable: Ultimately, consumers may favor availability over other purchasing considerations. Being flexible in your product line can prevent them from shopping elsewhere.
- Strengthen Your Supplier Base: Expand your network of builders and build redundancies to mitigate supply risks.
- Plan Ahead: More than ever, it’s important to plan as far in advance as possible to manage uncertainties in the marketplace.
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