Hot Tubs and Office Furniture
I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about what is involved in building a Hot Tub as it relates to the supply chain issues that we are all experiencing. One thing is for sure, as it relates to materials, parts, and pieces, we are all incredibly dependent on just about every country in the world. Coordinating these materials to show up simultaneously for finishing, secondary manufacturing, assembly, packaging, and shipping is complicated and a miracle during standard times. Here’s a great example.
It takes around 1,850 parts to make a Hot Tub. It can take up to six months for a customer to get a hot tub, up from a few weeks before the pandemic. Parts come from seven countries and 14 states and travel a cumulative 887,776 miles to make one hot tub, the company estimates.
Office Furniture is much more complicated than this. In today’s world of incredible design expectations, we want it the way we want it, and the finishes, textiles, and options are infinite. Although base models and base materials are available, much of what the furniture industry has turned into is bespoke products that are even more dependent on materials from around the world. From a screw from the pacific rim to a European fabric, Birch from Russia, and parts from south America. It’s a true logistical miracle.
Designed office furniture is like art and music. It is entirely unlimited to its possibilities.
When the dreaded virus and social upheaval showed up, everything turned upside down. We will likely continue to be challenged with longer than normal lead times for some time. Every week and every month, progress is being made to find new raw materials suppliers. This is creating jobs and creativity on hyperspeed. Manufacturers are looking for ways to merge capabilities and invest in buying machinery and technology to improve the supply challenges. We see the independent, family manufacturers respond quicker and more creatively due to their agility, financial liquidity, and decision-making capabilities. This is where I will hang my hat and where you will find improvements first.
It will get better soon—some faster than others.
I think I will now sit in my 1,850 part hot tub and hope none of the critical components breaks.
Founder Source Four Commercial Furniture