Then came COVID-19, which ground much of the industry’s 2020 order-fulfillment capabilities to a halt. Supply chains clogged, production bogged, orders got backlogged, and buyers were in no mood to order anything at the Fall ‘20 Market from a company that still hadn’t filled their Fall ‘19 orders. That was about the time some of us started to consider ourselves lucky, if our order that was sitting in a container wasn’t in one of the containers that got tipped into the ocean.
After the initial shock of seeing everything go suddenly out of stock, most wholesale buyers began to make peace with the global supply-chain challenges. Though they are painful and tedious, they obviously pale in comparison to the life-threatening issues that affected so many in the pandemic. We’ve learned to dial back our customer’s lead-time expectations to a 6-9 month estimate, a groaning-ly ironic throwback to the old days.
But not every brand is battling backorders. Some are working aggressively to get ahead of the supply-chain issues.
Scott McKearn, VP of Sales for Dôme Deco says, “We are aggressively growing our immediate delivery program. We have a section of our website dedicated to those goods that we can quick-ship from our Bayonne, New Jersey warehouse. Our first two years distributing in the U.S, we stocked very little here and leveraged the large inventory we hold in Belgium. As the business has developed over here, we have prioritized supporting our designers and dealers by holding stock of our bestsellers in the U.S.”
When it comes to upholstery, Dôme Deco recognized that these times call for a deep in-stock inventory. “Our upholstered pieces have always been available to order in a couple of dozen fabrics. Now, we are nailing down a bestselling neutral fabric for each frame and stocking the piece in that fabric.”