Manna delivers opportunities for profits
En route inventories have best value
-- Casual Living, 9/14/2009 8:18:00 AM
Robert Masters, senior vice president of Manna Distribution Services, has seen economic cycles come and go over the last 25 years. At every point during a cycle there are both dismal statistics and golden nuggets of opportunity.
“I saw this in the electronics industry at the bottom of the 2001 recession,” Masters said. “Manufacturers pushed efficiency throughout their supply chains and on to retailers, and that included speed and efficiency in the home delivery. Both buyers and sellers wanted it faster and more predictable and those that couldn’t cut it lost the business.”
Masters thinks furniture retailers are in the same position now as electronics retailers were eight years ago and are rightly demanding more from their supply chains. One of those demands was to find expedited delivery options that add value and allow retailers to capture profit from cutting the inventory down to virtually zero.
Manna was an early player in expedited home delivery and captured 20% of the flat screen delivery market.
Exhibiting in booth 8-1079 at the Casual Furniture and Accessories Market, Manna leaders will be giving away a 42” Toshiba LCD TV and talking about the opportunities furniture retailers have to make higher profits.
“We are moving toward a mobile goods warehouse in this country,” Masters said. “Inventories are increasingly in route rather than in place – whether they are autos, electronics or groceries. Casual furniture inventory has similar characteristics to perishable food. Retail floor and onsite storage space is tight, and the selling season is typically short, so it’s time to push that cost back on the road or up the supply chain.”
Manna has an annual growth rate of 22% over the last four years. That growth is the result of investments in logistics technology and talent on the road, recognizing the delivery is essentially the last link in the selling process. To that end, the company launched www.ScheduleMyDelivery.com, which allows buyers to select the most convenient date and time window in which to take the delivery at home.
The company also created a Web outlet to drive consumer attention to home furnishing products at www.roominations.net. The site features bloggers and articles from across the industry.
Masters believes there are several factors at play that bode well for furniture markets. Those include:
1) Rebound in consumer confidence
2) Bottoming of the economy with modest growth
3) Slower home price rebound boost for remodeling and first-time home buyers
4) low interest rates
5) greater integration of furniture brick-and-mortar and online sales
These factors are expected to help boost furniture sales in the coming 12-24 months.
“Homeowners are accepting they will likely not see huge increases in home values stimulating an increase in remodeling,” Masters said. “The pent up consumer anxiety and demand to have a feeling of something new will turn consumers’ attention to changing the inside of their homes.”
The Remodelers Index shows all measures for future expectations in the remodeling market increased significantly. Remodelers report in the second quarter of 2009 jumps in three key areas:
1) 15% jump in calls for bids
2) 20% increase in backlog of jobs
3) 15% boost in appointments for proposals
The industry is aggressively promoting home furnishings with the World Market Center’s multiyear, multi-million dollar advertising campaign that has a significant online presence with its Home Yet Web site at http://www.homeyet.com/. All these factors are clear indications of opportunities to grow sales and profits.
For more information, stop by booth 8-1079 or visit Manna’s Web site at www.Manna.com.
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