Sunday, August 16, 2015

Shipping Considerations

Custom Inset Cabinets

The image below is of our custom grey inset cabinets. These were manufactured for a local customer, though we were reluctant to offer them. Our customer had a fixed budget and originally asked us to do the inset cabinets, one look at her kitchen and budget told us they would be too expensive. Inset cabinets require more hard-wood for the frames and that means more expensive hard-wood and more work for us as the frames are hand made. This is why we were reluctant to offer them in the first place, they are labor intensive and costly. The customer understood and accepted our standard European frameless construction. Just prior to going into manufacturing, Derek (owner of the brick-and-mortar side) decided to surprise the customer with the custom inset cabinets (we're not a mindless corporation -we really do care!). They were installed last week and the customer was ecstatic.

We have tossed around the idea of offering the custom inset cabinets for online purchase, but there are a lot of logistic limitations. As I said above, they are labor intensive and require additional material, and that makes them expensive. Expense aside, the biggest hurdle is shipping. Kitchen cabinets are designed to be assembled and locked into place, they are not engineered for road trips! Our standard European frameless cabinets ship unassembled. Shipping the cabinets unassembled cuts down on the cost of freight. Freight is charged by volume, unassembled cabinets require less volume in the truck, and they can be flat-packed tightly with casework parts, doors/drawer fronts, and hardware separated. Separating the components allows for tighter packaging and a much higher degree of protection for everything. The custom inset cabinets are finished (painted) with the casework and faceframe assembled. Shipping cabinets assembled increases the freight charge two to three times. That's not even our biggest concern.

Imagine the trip these assembled cabinets would take in the back of a semi-truck. The vibration of a road trip alone is likely to cause damage, the next time you see a freight truck take a moment to observe the suspension on the trailer, they are not made for comfort, all of that vibration and bouncing is not good -and a nightmare for assembled components. The pallets are typically loaded and unloaded multiple times too (and sad to say: the people driving the forklifts are only human). Freight is picked up from us and taken to a local terminal where it is offloaded and reloaded onto a long-haul truck. Once the shipment reaches the destination terminal, the freight is unloaded and reloaded onto a local delivery truck. All of this moving around means more opportunity for damage. Even slight damage may mean a claim and shipment of replacements, that can get expensive -and there's still risk of damage to the replacements. Of course if the damage is the caused by the freight company they will pay for the replacements, but this process can take months. Look at the fine print on many cabinet companies shipping terms, they typically make the customer deal with the freight company for claims. No one wants to pay for replacements and hope the freight company reimburses the expense later, and no one wants their project delayed waiting for replacement parts. Of course we are a caring and compassionate company, and in the case of freight company damage, we immediately ship replacements at no cost to the consumer and deal with the freight company ourselves.

As a business it's hard to turn down paying customers. We know the average customer doesn't have the experience to understand all of the manufacturing and delivery concerns, and look to us for our knowledge and experience to aid them. For this product, our concern is making sure we can deliver quality cabinets that can be installed immediately without potential damage causing delays. Though the sale is enticing -we have to be responsible to our customers. Until we find bullet-proof ways to reduce the risk, inset faceframe will likely remain an option for local customers only.

Thanks for watching!


No comments:

Post a Comment