Jane Dagmi1 Comment


Jane Dagmi1 Comment

In a recent Furniture Today, I was reading the recaps from the Furniture Today/AHFA Logistics Symposium where the challenges the industry faces in the supply chain were discussed at length. As I perused the coverage, I realized there was vital information designers should know. Logistics are not the fun part of your job, but they are an unavoidable facet of running an interior design business. This blog skims the surface.

Can you relate?

The furniture you ordered is arriving late.

The shipping charges are hefty.

Product arrived damaged.

Your client isn’t super happy with this part of the design experience, and it all feels beyond your control.

Welcome to the stressful side of the business, the part that is a slave to the trucking industry which happens to be suffering a mind-blowing 50,000-driver deficit and feeling the fallout. Not to mention Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) that are limiting a driver’s hours of service. Top that off with fluctuating gas prices and the cost of recruiting and retaining drivers. The challenges are even more exaggerated when ordering products sourced overseas. Furniture Today’s EIC Bill McLounglin writes:

With Amazon, Wayfair or similar websites, there has come a growing expectation that furniture could and should be delivered in the same time frame as a toaster. But with supply chains that often stretch across the globe, encompassing myriad transportation modes and touch points, it has become an increasing challenge for manufacturers to forecast and manage a chain that has so many links outside their control.

Additionally, McLoughlin points out that product damage with major e-comm players is exacerbated by their use of general commodity carriers rather than specialized furniture carriers. And he calls e-comm’s penchant to palletize product  "not conducive to undamaged furniture delivery.” While incentives are being created to recruit truckers and ease the burden, the general consensus is that these issues are not going away soon.

So, how are you going to deal with it?

Educate your clients to make their expectations more realistic. 

Help reduce shipping costs by teaming up with a larger design group with more buying power and better pricing.

Purchase items that are made closer to home where the manufacturing process has fewer touch points.

To get more informed, here are links to more coverage from the Symposium:

Are Freight Challenges the New Normal by Bill McLoughlin

Logistics Symposium Tid Bits by Powell Slaughter

Main blog image: Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash