Furniture Delivery Delays – Why Are They Not Improving?
OK, before we get into the subject of furniture delivery delays, there is something that simply MUST be said. Covid-19 did not cause shipping delays – in ours or any industry. No virus in the history of the world can cause that. However, the reaction to it can, including lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, factory shutdowns, and the myriad of other restrictions that were placed on individuals and businesses.
Having said that, the question must be asked, where does that leave us?
Well, it too often leaves us with delays in delivering the furnishings we’ve been accustomed to getting much more quickly for our clients. Sometimes ridiculous delays, perhaps up to nine months!
Why Is This Happening?
Be advised, it cannot be denied or avoided that there are still some serious problems leading to unprecedented lead times for quality furnishings. High demand, plus truck driver shortages, shipping docks and ports being packed, supply chain logistics issues including shortages of raw materials, and storms impacting factories – it’s all caused longer than ever lead times.
During 2021, furnishing lead times began to grow from a few weeks to a couple of months. Soon though, four to six months became the norm for many furniture suppliers. Now, thanks to those shortages and the lack of skilled labor, combined with the trucking problems and backlogs at some of the largest harbors and piers, nine to ten-month lead times are not out of the question.
Much like a traffic accident during rush hour, once the flow is halted, the backup (or, in this case, backlog) grows beyond the ability of those in the rear to make progress – or even to know why they’re stuck!
And so it was, and to a significant extent remains, in the furnishings industry.
It’s not ALL bad news though. For example, we’ve begun to see a nice uptick in availability from more than a few manufacturers. With lessening restrictions tied to reducing Covid numbers, product has begun to flow again. Granted, there can be hitches in the giddy-up, many still tied to shipping problems and exorbitant freight rates and others tied to shortages in supplies needed by manufacturers. So, we continue to see delays in delivery, even though lessening in some cases.
If you're frustrated, take a bit of comfort in knowing you're not alone. Then, know that planning ahead can ease that frustration. Be prepared to order needed furnishings four to six months earlier than you have in past years. And if something doesn’t arrive when expected, know that GEFCO is doing all it can to expedite delivery of your orders. After all, we are here to serve the customer!