COVID-19 Shipping Delays
There's a monster terrorizing the interior design industry, and although it can't easily be seen, its effects are certainly felt. The COVID-19 global pandemic has been a blessing and a curse to our profession. One we braced for, but was still not quite prepared. Shipping delays have been a nuisance to design projects nationwide and it's leaving clients asking the question, "Where's my furniture?!"
At the beginning of 2020 when the global pandemic first began, manufacturers prepared for a dramatic decrease in sells by furloughing manufacturing workers and halting order placements in an attempt to save their companies. Meanwhile, design professionals did the same by altering their safety practices through working from home to keep their families and team members safe. For some of us, although we may not be on a city lockdown, we are still working remote to safely and effectively social distance, only meeting via Zoom or in-person with masks when absolutely necessary. What we didn't predict was the sudden increase in residential design demand.
Here's where things get a bit hairy. Many consumers perceptions are skewed to the realities of the design world. Most see a relatively quick transformation based off a 30-minute TV show. Design projects can actually take up to two years to complete. Although safety measures have increased, the general professional practices of interior design remains the same. It always has been and will be our duty to maintain the health, safety and welfare of the general public (hence the importance of social distancing). However the expectation of the industry has not changed. As designers, we are continuously educating our consumers on the actuality of what it takes to complete a project in a timely manner.
What is the Reality?
The reality is, we are running a business and we dislike delays more than our clients do! Many pain points we experience as business owners can be heightened during these stressful times. In addition to managing a business, we also must manage people and communicate well with various personalities. Designers are working around the clock to complete projects. We spend spend a lot of time with our clients, sometimes playing referee to differing opinions, tastes and styles. Even a counselor as couples compromise on design decisions. Many parties are involved to keep the project moving along. There is also the designer’s internal team, contractors, product vendors, fabricators that all need the attention of the designer. In addition to the effects of the global pandemic. We must be very skilled in communicating with our clients and managing these nuances, expectations, the client's financial investment, and still arrive at the best end result.
The work we do is important to us and can be equally important to our clients as it is their personal spaces we are designing. We strive to make our work look effortless, but behind the scenes, which many consumers don’t get to see, long hours are being met. We dedicate ourselves to each and every project. Not just because this what we do by trade, but because the value of great design is apart of who we are as individuals. We provide never ending support in what can sometimes be a thankless job. When you begin to understand the loops and hurdles your designer is going through to get your project completed, especially during these COVID times, you may begin to appreciate the outcome of your project even more.
We understand. Homeowners who are now stuck in close quarters are wanting beautifully decorated spaces, which designers such as myself are happy to provide. Clients and even designers are wanting pre-pandemic turn-around times in a current pandemic society. These longer wait times are out of the norm for us and something that's difficult to get used to. We understand that our clients are emotionally and financially invested in their projects. Therefore, it’s key that we as designers are communicating effectively with our clients to achieve the best outcome on behalf of everyone involved.
“Delays caused by global pandemic challenges designers to complete projects on time.”
When we consider the duties of the designer to take a project from conception to installation, there are tons of logistics at play to consider. With the increased demand of shipping and reduced number of workers due to safety regulations, plus requirements for social distancing (which means less in-office personnel), it has caused a hiccup with logistics causing shortages in the form of backordered goods resulting in longer wait times. What does that mean for the interior design profession? Simply put, the industry is doing the best it can to meet the demands.
What has that looked like for the DVS design firm?
We're right in the trenches with you, here's an example. A console table we ordered back in October 2020 was supposed to be available in January. As of the date of this post, that same console has been backordered twice, still with an unconfirmed ship date of Mid-March. Some items are shipped from overseas and unfortunately, shipping dates can't be confirmed until the containers hit the water. Additionally, manufacturers are shipping products on a first-come, first-serve basis. It's one reason why one minute an item is in stock, and the very next minute, it's not. A delay in clients approving product selections could mean the difference between a 2 week delivery and a 6 month backorder. Quick decisions can be helpful in combating shipping delays. Manufacturers are going down the list of purchases and coordinating with their shipping docks in order of time of the placement of said order. In other words, it's a chase to the purchase line. It’s important know that even with all these steps met, most likely the delay is not caused by the designer.
At DVS, we are thankful for our clients who have been patient during this testing time. We want you to look ahead for what’s to come for your space!
It will require a level of trust in the designer, optimism that things will turn out as planned and a bit of patience as we work through tracking orders, stock, and shipping delays. We are providing the most up to date information about delays and unforeseen situations that are happening. We are facing every challenge head on and doing our best to get your project done in a timely manner. Creating your safe haven is what we're here to do and we look forward to continue to serve you and your home design needs. Thank you for your patience.