Hospitality furniture supply chain issues expected to persist in 2022
The hospitality furniture industry, like many others, is at the mercy of delays and issues in the global supply chain. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic social distancing, travel restrictions, and the economic downturn heavily impacted the hospitality furniture industry. As hundreds of U.S. workers began working from home, the demand for home and office furnishings were rechanneled. Now, the world is two years out since the onset of the pandemic but its impact is still being felt. The hospitality furniture industry is still dealing with issues related to the global supply chain crisis that struck in 2020 and 2021. Here is what we can expect in 2022.
The issues of the global supply chain crisis have been primarily blamed on shortages. The pandemic put the brakes on raw materials, production, manpower, transportation, and distribution. Every resource needed to make, ship, and deliver furniture has been impacted by the pandemic and the supply chain crisis. For example, some shortages higher up in the production supply chain, including glues and resins, are still being felt. Raw materials including nylon, yarn, rubber, lumber are scarce and costs have also increased. Projects including new builds and renovations are expected to take longer than they typically would. Officials say this has been the most challenging climate within the industry. A time unlike any other as far as obtaining goods and supplies.
The pandemic also exacerbated shortages of skilled labor created a labor gap. This is still being felt worldwide and spanning nearly every industry. According to Fortune, leisure and hospitality were two of the hardest-hit industries by the “Great Resignation” of 2021. And according to NAM, 2.1 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2023 due to the manufacturing skills gap in the U.S. Other talent challenges such as absenteeism and mental health issues due to stress are still being felt in industries across the board.
Costs and Delays
Costs and delays appear to be one of the major core issues in this crisis. Time and planning are key. Delays mean lead times can be expected to double or even triple, depending on the commodity, region, and distribution centers. At this current moment, production can not be rushed without a large price tag attached—and for many hotel operators, budgets have been struck hard by the last 24 months.
Executives and economists predict delays to continue to some degree in 2022, especially if COVID-19 outbreaks disrupt key distribution hubs. Coupled with extreme weather, strong consumer and corporate demand for furniture, ongoing port congestion in the U.S., shortages of truck drivers, and high global freight rates loom over recovery—clogging up supply chains, according to the Wall Street Journal.
With continued uncertainty around the pandemic, vendor backlogs coupled with the winter months—it will take time to see any major improvements in supply and pricing. By mid-2022, experts predict some base material pricing may fall back in line with pre-pandemic levels and availability. However, this can not be guaranteed. Peak lumber pricing has already begun to soften, backlogs and bottlenecks have started clearing out. But the supply chain is a ways away from meeting demand. Easing supply-chain choke points would allow production to move toward meeting demand, and according to the Wall Street Journal, if sustained, could help to alleviate the upward pressure on inflation.
The main takeaway here is that we are still in the thick of it. But, the industry hasn’t lost hope. Officials anticipate the global supply chain crisis will level out at some point. This may result in 2023 and 2024 seeing an all-time high for hotel capital expenditures. This, of course, is highly dependent on interest rates, inflation, and the federal government’s response to those numbers. There is a spotlight on furniture manufacturers that produce products domestically, which encourages companies to invest in the local economy wherever possible.