The kitchen cabinet industry is extremely busy right now. Possibly busier than it ever has been. Couple the explosion in sales with the confusion and inconvenience created during a pandemic and you have potential problems and possibly lengthy delays. Main Line Kitchen Design has been doing a tremendous job keeping delays and problems to a minimum, but as Ed our Operations Manager frequently laments “it’s like playing Wack-a-Mole”.
Some of the challenges created in this wild west environment are:
New employees for cabinet factories, warehouses, and trucking learning on the job. This creates orders we need to triple check because cabinet brand customer service people are often new, stressed, and working from home while processing our orders. We almost never receive sales conformations that aren’t full of mistakes that we need to correct and often correct again. Inexperienced delivery people damage cabinetry. They place cabinets face down in their trucks or drop them without checking for damage. Often these inexperienced drivers arrive at the wrong job sites, or show up without warning, or arrive hours after their delivery window.
Cabinet lead times are increasing.
Fortunately, the less expensive cabinet brands that Main Line Kitchen Design carries have remained on schedule and still have ample stock of all the parts and pieces they need to fill cabinet orders. However, many similar lines are running out of stock. For example, I have heard that J&K cabinetry, Forever Mark, and a few other lines in this price point are out of stock and are experiencing very long delays. Wolf cabinets, formerly a reliable inexpensive brand has new factories in the mid-west that seem to have quality control issues. Main Line Kitchen Design has been lucky with the two less expensive brands we carry – CNC and Fabuwood.
However, damage and shipping problems have increased particularly with CNC.
The mid-priced brands that we carry have increased lead times of a couple of extra weeks and the custom lines we carry are so busy that 3 months seems to be the fastest that we can get custom cabinetry.
Staying on top of all these external issues is especially challenging when Main Line Kitchen Design’s sales are up 120% from last year. I am particularly proud of the job we are doing. And the job we are doing maintaining good customer relations when some of our customers are understandably less patient after a year of social distancing.
On the positive side of all this is that the kitchens we are designing and selling in the last 6 months are particularly creative and beautiful. Our designers are all very experienced and creative, but I believe that Zoom meetings have allowed us to spend the additional time needed with customers to hit the design home runs I see flying across my desk.
Looking forward to more normal times and to our Friday company lunches at Ryan Christopher’s in Narberth.