Summer is just around the corner, and as customers get their gardens, terraces, and balconies ready for the balmy months, outdoor furniture brands and retailers are already preparing their collections for next year’s season. Demand for outdoor furniture has soared as a result of the pandemic, but the industry hasn’t escaped the supply chain crisis that began in 2020. Two years on, the journey from raw materials to the end customer remains challenging and lengthy.
While increased demand is great news for the outdoor furniture industry, this has led to a backlog of orders and tasks that has been difficult to manage. While business is returning to normal in prominent manufacturing countries like China, Vietnam, and Indonesia, manufacturers are still facing delays and the scarcity of raw materials needed to build the furniture. Furthermore, once the product is ready, it still needs to reach the consumer, and shipping times remain long with container shortages and products getting caught in the supply chain traffic jam. With no option to delay the outdoor furniture season, products must arrive on time, or businesses risk losing customers to competitors.
That said, the arrival of products on time isn’t enough to satisfy increasingly demanding consumers. According to the Outdoor Garden Furniture market study by Fact.MR (Feb 2022), consumers desire outdoor furniture that is:
– Resistant to climate conditions
– Good quality
– Insect and mold resistant
– Sustainable (using eco-friendly materials and processes)
What does this mean for brands and retailers? Businesses need to operate speedily while ensuring the quality and fit-for-use of their products, which means that getting things right the first time and anticipating mistakes has never been more crucial.
How to ensure quality outdoor furniture from the beginning
The best way to get outdoor furniture products right the first time is to detect issues as early as possible in the supply chain. The easiest way to achieve this is to go upstream and anticipate risks from the earliest stages of raw materials and manufacturing.
Key points to look at include:
– Ensuring you have the right design
– Ensuring product compliance
– Ensuring the right production process
– Defining the right control plan
Utilizing the support of a third party can help brands and retailers address these challenges while relying on an independent expert to secure product quality and fit-for-use. This will reduce issues at the end of the supply chain, avoid delays, and satisfy customers with products that arrive on time and meet their expectations.
At API, we provide comprehensive expert solutions for outdoor furniture. With more than 25 years’ experience and a portfolio of international brands and retailers that trust our knowledge, our suite of solutions is dedicated to securing the quality, safety, and performance of outdoor furniture products across the entire supply chain from the earliest stages of development. Some of these include:
– Help during product development: Ensure better products from the early stages of development through:
Ø Raw material traceability
Ø Suggestions on sustainable processes
Ø Suggestions on product improvement
Ø Validation of control plans, marking, product characteristics, golden sample
Ø And more
– Design/prototype review at the factory or lab: This includes expert reviews at the factory, showroom, or at our network of laboratories at the moment of product selection, including conformity criteria, risk and issues anticipation, and recommendations for improvements.
– Sample validation: Validation of a final sample before production will define the model to follow and ensure the rest of the production is manufactured according to the brand specifications.
– In-production process assessment and root cause analysis: This aims at understanding the processes for improved finished products with a high focus on identifying, assessing, and improving the manufacturing methods critical to quality and safety to prevent failures.
– Physical, mechanical, and chemical compliance testing: Ensure the safety and quality of your products through:
Ø General safety tests
Ø Strength and resistance
Ø Fire resistance
Ø Restricted substances chemical analysis
Ø And more
– Fit-for-use and performance testing: Evaluate your products’ performance and durability, including:
Ø Resistance to aggressive environments
Ø Corrosion, UV aging, rain and water resistance, heat resistance, etc.
Ø Usage resistance (scratches, stains, washing, tearing, metal finishing adherence, etc.)
Ø Product feel and support
Ø Textile performance
Ø And more
– Recycled polyester testing: This scientific method verifies and quantifies the amount of recycled polyester in products to ensure what you bring to the market while supporting your marketing claims.
– During production inspection: Inspection of the finished goods at 5% or 10% of the production completion will identify issues early in the production line.
Interested in finding out more about how API can help your brand with our adapted outdoor furniture solutions?