Flexsteel spells out strategies reducing lead times and improving service

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Flexsteel continues to implement key strategies that support the reduction of custom order lead times
and better serve the demands of the market. 

With the company’s investment in production capacity and inventory, the no holds barred approach to reducing the backlog achieved a lead time of 4 weeks for their customers.

“It is the lowest average lead time across the board in my 25 years with the company,” comments Tim Newlin, vice president of product at Flexsteel.

Another Flexsteel strategic initiative provided a distribution center in Pennsylvania, serving the Northeast markets to satisfy the need for quicker delivery. The company also recognizes the value of special-order business in today’s environment. Special orders flow in and out as opposed to stocked products that require warehouse space.  

In an effort to sell more customized products, Flexsteel invested in digital capabilities such as draping and AR. The user can first cover the product digitally in the fabric selection of their choosing, and then use their mobile device to visualize it in their home. Buyer remorse is reduced, and it adds an element of fun to the process. This has quickly become one of the most popular features on the Flexsteel.com website. 

As a result of rapid success with the investment strategy and falling lead times, Flexsteel saw additional growth in all product categories, but especially within their South Haven collection. This curated collection of fabrics across hundreds of Flexsteel items with simplified pricing has long been a hit with retailers and consumers. As special-order business came back with lead times dropping, that led to the
addition of new and existing products to the collection. That included motion groups, recliners, stationary groups, accent chairs, poufs, and a fresh fabric selection launched at April 2022 High Point Market. 

“Our lead times on domestically made Flexsteel products continue to improve as we invest in our growth and ramp up our North American manufacturing capacity. This led us to double down on our already popular South Haven program and our retailers responded immediately with new placements, recovers of existing frames and by adding new categories. It was great to see the excitement over these
changes.” said David Crimmins, vice president, sales, at Flexsteel. 

With the current supply chain challenges happening around the world, Flexsteel is a leading expert in manufacturing comfortable well-tailored furniture in Mexico. The company has had a growing presence in Juarez which was established in 2006. Juarez has grown from its original factory within the last two years to include a second and third facility in close proximity.  These expansions facilitated the growth of all product categories and a reduction of the already mentioned lead times.  

Continuing the momentum of a customer focused vision, Flexsteel engaged their retailers with in-person, phone, virtual and written engagements on what is working and more importantly what needed improvement.

David Crimmins commented on the outcome.

“In recent months our retailers participated in Voice of the Customer feedback. In total, we completed over 600 live interviews and 500 surveys. Throughout this process, we have implemented the ideas we collected for improvement where attainable for our retail partners.”

As a result, the company has already actioned updates to their backroom customer portal. Those updates included new order status communication and visibility, track and trace capabilities and price list updates to improve retailers and ultimately the consumers’

With great dedication, Flexsteel intends to continue to focus on providing retailers with transparency regarding customer orders and delivering to the consumer exactly what they want within a reasonable amount of time. All this leads to a happy customer and happy retailer. That is a win-win!

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