Lead Time Realities

Lead Time Realities

Your boss wants the perfect chairs.  In many cases, to get them, you’ll need to place a custom order. Once you’ve chosen frames and fabrics, you’ll be given a ‘lead time’, meaning the amount of time from the payment receipt to delivery of the furniture. Traditionally, 10-12 total weeks could be expected.

These days, in a post Covid / supply shortage / delivery chain meltdown world,  10-12 weeks is production time;  ONLY production time.  Even if you have selected a US manufacturer, that doesn’t mean the furniture is made in the US.  In fact, most items are made overseas.  10-12 weeks doesn’t cover time through the overseas port, time on the water, time through the US port and then shipping to you.  What was supposed to be 10-12 weeks is now 16-20 weeks, and sometimes more.

If you don’t have 4-6 months to wait for furniture, you’ll need to skip custom and look for something off-the-shelf. The best option is to use a large retail store concierge service (just ask). Stores like Restoration Hardware and Design Within Reach have multiple stores in the US and can gain access to the entire US in-stock inventory to put an order together for you. Designers-turned-retailers like Kelly Wearstler have high par-stock to meet online orders. Even these options present a substantial lead time, albeit 4-6 weeks is a more typical time frame for stock to be pulled and shipped from US stores.

Keep in mind that no one will guarantee the quoted lead times. There are too many factors out of their control. It would be prudent to add a month to any quote to try and manage expectations. The key takeaway from this is to get your orders in as soon as possible. If you’re doing a new build, order furniture as soon as the floor plans are set. Moving? Order as soon as the contract closes. Renovating? … You get it, put in your furniture order first thing. And then cross your fingers.

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