The Furniture Industry sees Perfect Storm in the Supply Chain
As with every other industry, the supply chain meltdown has hit the furniture business equally as hard. With the global shutdown in factories that produce the merchandise, to the transportation companies that transport the merchandise, all areas have been affected. The result…limited availability of products.
When the pandemic began, domestic factories could only run at limited capacity because of social distancing and the lack of workforce willing to give up the extra unemployment benefits they were receiving. That caused a backlog that continues to this day. Overseas countries were still producing at a pretty good rate but with the high demand for furniture that was brought on by stimulus checks and the booming housing market, there was no such thing as overproduction.
The Perfect Storm
Fast forward to the summer of 2021, Vietnam, a major supplier to the US, had a COVID outbreak that led the country to almost completely shut down. Furniture factories, as well as other factories, were at very limited capacity and in some cases totally shutdown. Vietnam is a major supplier of reclining furniture and case goods. Case goods refer to bedroom furniture, accent tables and coffee/occasional tables. Couple that with the problems at the US ports, we’ve got a major problem. That means that even if the goods that you are interested in are not supplied from Vietnam, other sources are being sucked dry because the flow from Vietnam stopped, limiting total supply of furniture. Even other countries in that region that produce furniture were shut down or had limited capacity, compounding the problem. Now you have US ports that are backed up for weeks, production is substantially short and demand remaining high. Yes, it’s a mess.
What does that mean for you, the end consumer?
Don’t expect to be able to special order items and get them before Christmas. When I first heard about the Vietnam shutdown this past summer, I knew that it would take a while for us to feel it, but I also knew that the end of the year would be difficult for our industry as well as many others.
What did WCC do to prepare?
Knowing how bad the supply chain would be, we spent a big part of the summer preparing. We secured alternative vendors, over ordered popular items, found similar looks of popular groups that were paused in production, secured another warehouse and made sure we had furniture available for when the crisis would show up. Do we have everything in stock that we would like? NO…but we have a lot more than most.
Advice to our customers.
Get it now! I promise, this is not a sales pitch. We have been in business over 20 years and supply has never been an issue until the pandemic started. And, we thought it was bad last year. It is worse now and may get worse before it gets better. We are prepared and will continue to work hard to bring the best to our customers.
Article written by Larry Thibodeaux, WCC Furniture and Mattress Center. Oct 25, 2021