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How Does My Furniture Get to Me?

by Nick, Digital Specialist | January 17, 2021

With all that's going on in the world, a lot of customers have been asking about the process by which their furniture gets from the manufacturer to their home. Check inside for some information!

With all that’s going on in the world, more and more of our customers have been asking about the process of how a sofa gets from the manufacturer to the home. Delays at every step of the process have resulted in longer-than-normal wait times, so we wanted to walk you through the most common process for how a piece of furniture makes its way from construction to delivery. We’ll also let you know how each step of the process could potentially be delayed. Of course, every manufacturer and retailer may do things a little differently, but this process is one of the most common!

1. The Manufacturer: Your furniture order will likely fall into one of two categories: either it’s a custom order, or it’s prefabricated. Prefabricated is just what it sounds like- they are built en masse and stored in a warehouse until they are ordered, and then just picked from a warehouse and shipped (more on that later). Custom orders are built to a customer’s specifications- while these generally take longer, delays can still happen in both cases.

a. Prefabricated furniture is built in advance, stored in a warehouse, and ready to go when it’s ordered- but if the manufacturer is out of stock on an item, it can take weeks (or even months) for them to be built and become available again. Delays with getting raw materials can make the time frame even longer, not to mention the time it takes for assembly.

b. Custom furniture is built to order- with the fabric or finish of your choosing, or even with other design details that can be changed. This kind of furniture takes longer in general, but delays in getting the raw materials can negatively affect the timeline. In addition, social distancing measures require that only a certain number of factory workers can be on an assembly line, resulting in a reduction of their normal output.

2. Consolidation: Many people assume that when a piece of furniture is finished, it is shipped right to the retailer so they can arrange delivery- this is almost never the case. In most cases, finished goods are sent to a consolidation warehouse, owned by a third-party trucking company. Only when a truck is full will they be shipped to the retailer- this saves unnecessary small trips and protects the environment. However, this can result in delays as the trucking company waits to build a full truckload for shipping. Also, there is a current shortage in the number of truck drivers that are available, delaying shipments even further as they wait for drivers to make deliveries.

3. Shipping: Once a truck leaves the consolidation warehouse, it does not always go directly to the retailer for delivery. In order to build a truckload as fast as possible, the trucking company will often put several stops on one truck- that is, they may have some furniture for one store, and then other furniture for another store a few hours away, and then more for another store a few hours from that. For safety reasons, truck drivers are only allowed to drive a certain number of hours per day, which means that the stop with your furniture on it may take multiple days from when it leaves the consolidation warehouse to actually get to the retailer.

4. Delivery: Your order has finally reached the retailer you purchased it from, and it’s ready for delivery! Some retailers offer delivery every day to every area; others may only deliver to certain areas on certain days. Be sure to check with the store in advance so you’re not surprised when you get to this step!

With everything that’s going on right now, an extended wait is becoming the norm. Unfortunately, experts don’t see this issue going away any time soon. Our recommendation is that if you find something you like, place your order right away so you’re in line. If you wait to place your order, you may find that it will take even longer than you anticipated!