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What’s the Deal with Lead Times?

Did you catch our recent posts on what it’s like to work with a designer and 5 design industry secrets? Well, I’m going to let you in on another little detail about what it’s like to be a designer, particularly in the age of the Pandemic.

We are as frustrated about lead times, backorders, and out-of-stock issues as you are.

That sofa that was supposed to be delivered in 4 weeks? It’s now going to take 16 weeks. That light fixture you were eyeing is listed as out-of-stock? Be prepared for it to be suddenly “discontinued.”

So what’s going on? I’m going to break it down for you and share what we can do about it.

Image: Time’s Up! Coddington Design’s Rose Lounge at the San Francisco Decorator’s Showcase

Foam & Lumber Shortage

Yes, it’s true. The world is currently experiencing a foam and lumber shortage. Foam is used for sofas, chairs, cushions, and let’s not forget mattresses and pillows. The production of foam is dependent on a couple of key chemicals that are produced almost exclusively in Texas and Louisiana. There were a series of storms in late 2020 and early 2021 that knocked out power to the chemical plants and halted all production for weeks. The foam industry is still trying to catch up to the demand, with orders backing up throughout not only the furniture and bedding industry, but the automotive industry as well.

To break down the lumber shortage, this article puts it best: “As the pandemic crushed the US economy last spring, sawmills shut down lumber production to brace for a housing slump. The slump never arrived and now there isn’t enough lumber to feed the red-hot housing market.”

Image: Coddington Design’s Woodside project showcasing beautiful wooden lumber elements

Increasing demand and decreasing supply

Due to the worldwide shutdowns, people have spent more time in their homes and have diverted funds that would have gone to vacations, dining out, (basically all recreation!) into making upgrades to their homes (and maybe even into keeping their bar carts stocked). This is great news for our industry, as many of us are busier than ever, but the increased demand coupled with the decrease in supply has led to longer wait times than ever, not to mention higher prices. It’s not uncommon to see an item go out of stock with no estimate of future availability, and then suddenly, the vendor discontinues the item.

Image: Coddington Design’s San Francisco Style project featuring in-stock pendants and barstools!

Labor Shortage

Stay at home orders closed most factories for weeks to months. But by June of 2020, two months into the shutdowns, many vendors reported an uptick in orders (see above reason!) But health and safety protocols led to a decrease in available labor. Compounded with the backlog of unfilled orders, many factories are still digging themselves out of the baglog.

So what can we do about it?

Be patient, have a glass of wine, and let us do the hard work. These are all circumstances that are out of our control. Coddington Design works with trusted vendors from around the globe that are working tirelessly to fulfill orders without sacrificing quality. Many times, we encounter issues with lead times but are able to expedite shipping to get your beautiful home to you just a little bit faster. We can source fabrics and fixtures that are guaranteed in stock, and also provide you with realistic expectations for when your custom sectional will be ready for your family. We will schedule your installation not only based on when construction is set to finish, but when we know each key furnishing will arrive, so you aren’t stuck in an echoey home eating pizza on the floor.

Coddington Design strives to be transparent and give you the honest truth from the very beginning, which will set you up for a much happier and smoother design experience. Book a Discovery Call with us to find out how we can help you through these frustrating times!


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