Archive for November, 2020

11-28-2020 Report sees strong furniture orders into 2021

Posted on: November 30th, 2020 by admin


November 28, 2020



By Guy Lucas

Nov 27, 2020 Updated Nov 27, 2020


Furniture orders continued to be strong in October and November, and unless the recent surges of COVID-19 lead to widespread shutdowns as happened in the spring, business should stay strong into 2021, a consulting firm reports.


The latest Furniture Insights report from Smith Leonard, an accounting and consulting firm based in High Point, says that the continuing strength of furniture orders now has a majority of manufacturers who were surveyed reporting that their total orders during 2020 through September exceeded what they had received at the same point in 2019. Last month, only about one-third reported that.


“We have had four months in a row of great order rates compared to the same month of the previous year,” the report said. “We thought there would be pent-up demand, but who knew it would last this long.”


However, bottlenecks continue to worsen in shipping, in part because of a difficulty in finding workers, leading to growth in backlogs — up 123% in September from the level reported in September 2019, the report said.


“Unfortunately getting goods delivered to customers has become the major issue. Not only is there a shortage of domestic employees and certain raw materials, but also freight has become a major issue, with both shortages of containers as well as with domestic carriers, as there are also driver shortages. All of this has caused backlogs to grow to uncomfortable levels,” it said.


The shipping bottlenecks stem in part from a problem that predates the COVID-19 pandemic: a shortage of truck drivers stretching back several years.


In October, the Journal of Commerce reported that Bob Costello, the chief economist of the American Trucking Associations, predicted that driver shortages will keep shipping capacity tight and prices higher.


Driver recruitment problems that existed before the pandemic have been worsened because some drivers have not returned to work, and Costello thinks that there could be a shortfall of 105,000 drivers nationwide by 2023.

11-16-2020 – Fairfield unveils disinfecting system for chairs

Posted on: November 16th, 2020 by admin


November 16, 2020


By News-Topic Staff

Nov 13, 2020 Updated Nov 13, 2020


A local furniture company has unveiled new features in some of its most popular chairs that are aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.


Three of Fairfield Chair’s lounge chair series can now be equipped with ultraviolet C disinfecting technology, which uses a form of ultraviolet light with germicidal wavelengths. The UVC system is not entirely COVID-19 resistant, but it is capable of killing 99% of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, according to a Fairfield press release.


The electronic UVC system can be applied to the arm of the lounge chairs, ready to radiate ultraviolet light at the press of a button. The system is designed for storing and cleaning high-touch surfaces such as mobile phones, and automatically concludes disinfecting after five minutes.


Dixon Mitchell, CEO of Fairfield, said that the development of the UVC system is the latest step in the company’s work to push innovative safety measures to benefit its clients, many of which include hotels, senior living centers, universities and other organizations with high-traffic common spaces.


“There’s been a shift in manufacturing recently: It’s all about how durable are the products. Can they be cleaned? What can they be cleaned with?” he said. “It has been one of our top priorities to respond to the necessity of cleanliness in today’s world. We are constantly learning, adjusting, and innovating to make sure we meet the needs of our industry during these times and beyond.”


The chairs that are outfitted with UVC systems can also be covered in a special finish that Mitchell said acts as a shield against potentially harmful microbes while also adding chemical, moisture and scratch resistance.

11-11-2020 – Expert says pandemic will bring some jobs back to U.S.

Posted on: November 12th, 2020 by admin


November 10, 2020






The way the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world economy offers opportunities for North Carolina to gain jobs, a prominent economic development consultant says.


And among the industries that he said can be expected to grow the most are some that have a significant presence in Caldwell County.


The shutdowns in the spring stemming from the pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in many industries’ supply chains, which were built purely for efficiency and cost-effectiveness, Ted Abernathy of Economic Leadership LLC recently told the fall conference of the N.C. Economic Development Association, a group made up of more than 700 people who work in economic development and related fields. The Caldwell County Economic Development Commission’s board of directors reviewed a recording of Abernathy’s presentation on Tuesday.


Abernathy said that industries will move toward having shorter supply chains, with more jobs based in the U.S., and also redundant supply chains so that interruptions are less likely to severely disrupt production.


Industries seeing the most job growth before the pandemic can be expected to see continued growth, he said. The important change will be where that job growth takes place.


The changes being driven by COVID-19 are “a disruption, not a transformation,” he said.


Among the industries Abernathy cited as opportunities for U.S. job growth were biomedical, pharmaceutical, plastics and food processing, all of which have been areas of strong job growth in Caldwell County in recent years, noted Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell EDC.


“This is incredibly encouraging,” she said. “We are well positioned to have what I call a durable economy for the future.”

11-10-2020 – Furniture manufacturers struggle to meet demand

Posted on: November 10th, 2020 by admin


November 10, 2020







A survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors found that business activity has continued to be strong into the fall, but manufacturers have suffered from shipping problems and manpower short-ages.


The latest Furniture Insights report from Smith Leonard, an accounting and consulting firm based in High Point, showed that new orders in August were 51% ahead of August 2019.


That followed increases of 30% in June and 39% in July, and “orders were up for some 88% of the participants,” the report said.


Initial indications are that demand continued to be strong through September and into October, the report said.


And for at least some manufacturers, the cumulative total of orders during the summer more than made up for the initial drop after COVID-19-related business closures in the spring, the report said. Orders for all of 2020 now are up 6% overall from the year-to-date orders at the same point in 2019, but the bulk of that gain is attributable to only 34% of the businesses participating in the survey.


The report’s authors noted that many companies are struggling to ramp up either domes-tic or overseas production as well as getting shipping going.


“Shipments year to date were down for 85% of the pants,” the report said.


As a result of shipping problems, backlogs in August were up 102% from the same period in 2019, “getting into a territory that is not good, and we continue to hear that they have grown even more since August,” the report said.


“The number of factory and warehouse employees continues to be an issue, or rather the lack of finding factory and warehouse employees,” the authors noted.

10-31-2020 Bernhardt products win design awards

Posted on: November 2nd, 2020 by admin


October 31, 2020


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