After more than 30 years in the industry, Rob Bianchi has decided the time was right to leave the protective bubble of the family business, Arighi Bianchi. He will head out and explore some new and hopefully exciting opportunities.
Rob Bianchi comments are as below.
As an interested observer, rather than at the coalface, I have been closely following the spiralling costs of shipping from the Far East with growing incredulity.
This, coupled with extended lead times and successive Covid outbreaks, are proving to be a perfect storm for furniture retailers and wholesalers importing from Asia. For many buyers, the Far East represented the end of the rainbow. It promised access to prices previously unheard of, along with improved quality. The aspirational designs were the hook. And relatively cheap and easy logistics were the icing on the cake.
This third part is now proving problematic, and the speed at which the shipping prices are accelerating is astounding. Costs of $17,000 are regularly spoken about. And that is if you can get a confirmed shipment date. Whereas, at this point last year, the prices were at a steady $2,000, with ready availability.
With the Christmas rush just around the corner, I believe the worst is yet to come; and paying $20,000 for a box will not come as a surprise to many. So, what to do?
In a word, nothing. The prices – particularly for dining furniture – still outstrip what’s on offer in Europe. Restocking these bestselling lines with other ranges sourced from different factories can bring other problems into play, particularly when you combine this with the ongoing travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is the firm belief amongst the logistics industry that though the $2,000 container of 2019/20 might be a long shot, the prices will soften going into 2022. If it were me, I would be absorbing these increases. This would ensure any price rises are kept to a minimum and help to keep the supply chain moving. But, more importantly, it would ensure customers are not let down. Trying to do anything now would be effectively shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
In addition, I would be investing my time in looking at sourcing from new factories in Europe. This would ensure that I wouldn’t be over-reliant on any particular region or country for importing my goods in the future.