By Alan Wolf, YSN
Earlier this month, in an open letter to retailers, Serta Simmons’s Chief Sales Officer Derek Miller said the company is committed to absorbing cost increases caused by the global pandemic.
In a follow-up note to customers, Miller addressed widespread shipping delays and back-order issues by detailing some of the key COVID-related production challenges that Serta and the bedding industry are facing.
Essentially, he explained, manufacturers are caught in a bind of high consumer demand and global supply chain disruptions.
Topping the list of challenges is a dearth of non-woven materials, Miller said, which are used to make individually wrapped coils, quilt backing and top/bottom foundation covers. The materials are being diverted to make protective face masks and gowns, which, compounded by high demand for mattress coil units and foundation grid tops, has led to component shortages that delay mattress and foundation production, he noted.
Vendors are also vexed by low staffing levels. Whether due to layoffs, furloughs, federal unemployment incentives or coronavirus infections, “Staffing has proven to be extremely challenging throughout the industry,” Miller wrote, causing further production delays for components and finished goods.
Despite Serta’s multiple efforts to add suppliers, expedite materials and increase staffing, order lead times for all retail partners will continue to be impacted indefinitely until conditions normalize, he said. Miller suggested explaining the supply-chain challenges to shoppers to help set “proper expectations for home delivery.”
The good news, he added, is that “We continue to see strong sales and orders from all retail channels. It’s clear that customers are spending money on furniture and bedding, and we expect this trend to continue as we progress throughout the remainder of the year.”