Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Shop Needs a Drive Thru Window

There are days when I'm convinced my shop needs a deep fryer and a drive thru window. On that note maybe I should also consider rebranding my company with a new logo; one that looks something like this:

I say this because this week has seen requests for custom furniture lead times that were off-the-charts ridiculous.

In an earlier post I described a custom furniture delivery to Florida that was turned around in roughly 8 weeks time. There was considerable pressure to get this job done quickly because the client was intent on moving into the Trump Hollywood by Thanksgiving. With tremendous effort we pulled it off and even the design firm involved was highly impressed, stating that the 8 weeks we completed the job in was "record time".

Yes, 8 weeks is definitely record time for delivering high calibre custom furniture work.

But then I get a call from an old client out of New York who is in desperate need for custom furniture for the public area of a 5-star hotel. The lead time for this is 4 weeks.

4 weeks???

"Would you like fries with that?" I asked. He laughed because he too knew how ludicrous his request was.

If this was simply a one time event I could have chocked it up as an anomoly. But as it turns out, this was one of three rush order requests all coming in the same week. The second request came out of Florida, for a residential project in an upscale resort. The third was for a commercial project here in Canada, also with a firm deadline. All three projects had lead times of under 4 weeks.

I am well aware that in this tougher economic climate that clients are becoming more demanding and, in some cases, unreasonable. But c'mon folks...making and delivering high quality custom furniture is much more involved than serving up a burger and fries.

On an upnote we did receive some positive news this week. A reasonably large custom project quoted 4 months ago is apparently coming through. A request for a W-8 form from another client means that a project that's been hovering in the aether for 18 months is now, finally, moving forward.

And best of all there's one other potential project for an executive office that I'm REALLY excited about, but I'll save that discussion for another time.

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