Supply Chain

So you know the supply chain issue is THAT bad when you go into IKEA and the shelves are empty. I made that mistake a couple of months ago and a client of mine made that mistake earlier this week. Shelves and parking lots that are usually packed are ghost towns and people wander aimlessly through the aisles with forlorn looks on their faces desperate for something to buy.

The fatigue associated with the reselection process because of product availability is an issue that every interior designer I know is managing, some with less stress than others. If it makes you feel any better, supply chain issues are also affecting industries from publishing to automotive. Whether it’s raw materials, logistics, or labor stress in the system–two out of three manufacturers can’t fill skilled labor gaps–it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

Even though some reports say all of this will likely begin to sort itself out within six months, Jim Perkins, Senior Director of Warehousing and Transportation Mannington Commercial says “The increased demand will stay because people have changed their shopping habits to buying online instead of going to the store. And once labor comes back, it will take several years to sort out all of the delays and backlogs.” So the good news is that even though things are moving slowly,
you’ll be working.

Most people didn’t think about how products got delivered pre-COVID but I know you do. Your professionalism and patience are what are going to see you through. So as much as is humanly possible, go easy on yourself. Shopping local, US-made, vintage, and using craftspeople to create custom pieces are just a few of the strategies designers are using but as you stay open and willing to iterate your process, you’ll probably find more.

Truthful communication with clients will be key. I don’t have an easy answer on how to solve this problem but I am here to help brainstorm support.

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