Like many other industries, the furniture supply chain is struggling under the weight of the pandemic and labor shortage. It’s not uncommon for customers to have to wait six months, eight months, or longer to have their deliveries made. The entire supply chain – from materials to shipping – is facing a slowdown at a time when demand for furniture is on the rise.
What’s Behind the Slowdown?
While each company has different reasons for a slow-moving supply chain. There are a few common factors that play a role. The problems began with the onset of COVID-19 about two years ago. Furniture factories in the U.S. and internationally had to shut down, creating instant backups at a time when the economy was thriving. Consumers continued to place orders, though, with people sheltering at home suddenly putting more money into home furnishings to meet their needs.
The halt at that point led to ships loaded with furniture and raw materials stuck in ports, unable to unload around the world. Furniture orders were backlogged. Companies placing orders could only get a handful of pieces and, to make things worse, many didn’t know what was coming in nor when.
For consumers, the delays are creating ongoing problems. Some don’t have furniture to sleep in, while others are trying to work from kitchen tables because desks are in short supply. It’s become difficult to find furniture that is ready to go and can be picked up the same day. It’s not just one component of the furniture industry either. Rather, budget furniture to luxury manufacturers is facing the same slowdowns. More so, it’s impacting both consumer products and commercial furniture products.
Finding a Way Forward
Even two years after the start of the pandemic, consumers are still buying but also waiting for months to get the furniture they order. There’s not much outsourced furniture companies can control about that process. Furniture produced overseas typically is the most likely to be delayed as ports continue to be backed up with goods and supplies.
The best option may be to focus on buying more domestically made and sourced furniture items. Buying from companies who build in the U.S. and source at least some of their materials domestically may help to speed up the delivery process. While even these companies may import small items from overseas countries, using a domestic furniture company can mitigate a lot of the waiting time. Companies like ours Dickson Furniture, which manufacture and sell their own furniture, may not see as many shipping delays or productions problems. Finding the right company that sells and manufactures directly could ease the production process for now.
Yet, even as this type of delay continues, furniture is still a necessity. Some have decided to repurpose items instead, but there’s still a significant demand for products.
There’s no clear timeline for when such delays will improve, nor how well the supply chain will be up and running. For consumers, that means finding alternative ways to purchase and order furniture.