Why does furniture take so long to deliver?

Why does furniture take so long to deliver? If we ordered a kitchen appliance or a car, or practically anything else, we’d laugh out loud when the salesman said it would take 8 to 12 weeks to deliver. But that seems to be norm whenever I order furniture. And they just expect you to accept it because that’s the way the furniture business works.
I know that most companies want to keep minimum inventory on hand for financial reasons, but what’s the harm in having a few coffee tables and chairs in inventory? I imagine a furniture factory where no one makes a damn thing until the salesman calls and says, “Hey, the Smiths in Omaha want a chair. Go cut down a tree and start weaving some fabric!”

I don’t know the answer to your question, but I do have a question for you. How fast do you get your cars when you order one? If I order a car 8 weeks doesn’t seem out of line (I’m not talking about finding one at another dealer that is almost like I want).

Granted, if you order a car exactly like you want it, you can wait that long.
But compare that to buying a coffee table. It only comes ONE way. No options, no choices, nothing that has to be put together especially the way you want it. It is what it is. The one in the showroom is precisely like every one the store sells to a customer. So what’s the delay?

Where are you buying from? I have a futon and a desk delivered from two different places on the same day I ordered them. Perhaps it’s a NYC thing, where delivery is a way of life.

Ethan Allen in Atlanta. It’s not the actual delivery part that makes it so slow. Apparently the furniture item does not exist until ordered. Once the item is available, they seem to deliver it without much delay.
With some upholstered pieces and say, leather sofas, that are made to order, this is easier to understand. But a coffee table and two end tables???
I questioned the salesperson and she just shrugged and said, “That’s how it is with all furniture. Sorry.”

Cars can drive quite quickly, whereas furniture, with those short little chair legs, can only walk along at a very slow pace.

I think you’ve answered your own question already…that is, they don’t have the piece built until you order it because they don’t want to have high inventory carrying costs.

Your coffee table and end table may be in pieces that need to be assembled, laquered, shipped, etc. I can’t speak for Ethan Allen, but when you say it only comes ‘one way’ that might not be true. Perhaps the same table is available in 10 different finishes, but Ethan Allen only carries one. The other nine finishes for the same table may go to nine other furniture stores that also only offer it ‘one way’. The factory, however, doesn’t see it that way.

Now imagine that the table top comes from one place and the legs from another to create several different versions of the same table. Each guy may have his own supply chain problems.

You want someone to blame? Blame all the “just-in-time” manufacturing places that all function off the ‘bigger idiot’ theory. That is, they all think that their entire supply chain is going to have everything in stock all the time, and since they know it only takes them ‘x’ amount of minimal time to assemble, stain, and ship, there should be no problem. Then people up the line think the same way for every subcomponent. As a result any minor delay in any piece screws up everything and magnifies the problem as you go down the line. Known as the “bull-whip effect”.

In short, furniture is big. If you assemble it, you have to have somewhere to store it which costs more money. If you have lots in stock and tastes change or colors go out of fashion you have to eat the inventory. What would you do if you were them? Yep, assemble on demand…