How Does a Desk Get From You to Me? April 29 2014
We don't often get asked this exact question, but MANY of the misunderstandings about the timing and process of procuring office furniture are centered around this idea. How, literally, do you get your desk? Let's say you order this great looking desk from Sharelle Furnishings.
How does this cool desk go from some warehouse somewhere to your workplace, or your home office? Good question--I'm glad you, um, asked. :)
Here's how it works:
1. We receive your order over our secure order processing system and immediately place the order with the appropriate warehouse. The vast majority of our orders ship from warehouses of the manufacturers of the items. We sell so many hundreds of desks that we couldn't possibly warehouse them adequately, so we ship them out from one of around 100 warehouses we have access to and frequently ship from.
2. Once the warehouse confirms an item is in stock and available to ship, they charge us for the item. We have already bought the item at that point. Usually the warehouse will still let us back out of the purchase if it hasn't shipped yet, but they will almost certainly charge us some sort of cancellation fee if we do back out on your behalf.
3. We then must wait on the warehouse to "pull" the item. This means they literally put it into their "to-do" list for the workers in their warehouse. Those workers "pull" many items every day from the stores in their warehouse and prepare them for shipment. If that "to-do" list is long, it might be a couple days before your item is pulled and prepared for shipment. If it is a light day or week, they might have your item pulled in an hour or two. Once the item has been pulled and prepared for shipment (typically this means it is put on a wooden pallet, shrink wrapped, and tied down tightly so it will not move in transit), we are then notified by the warehouse that it is ready to ship.
4. We then get to work on the next phase, which is procuring freight. You see, a desk like the one above cannot just ship with FedEx or UPS. We can't just schedule a pickup and be done with it. We have to work with LTL (less-than-truckload) companies, since most of our desks are too large or heavy to ship with small parcel companies. Anything over 150 pounds or larger than certain dimensions cannot go with FedEx or UPS and must ship with an LTL company. So we call a myriad of LTL companies to get freight quotes on your shipment, go with the one that is best overall (not necessarily always the cheapest), and get it scheduled. Usually we can get those out the next day.
5. The next day your desk, which by now is all packed and is waiting on the loading dock of the warehouse, is picked up by the LTL company and loaded onto their truck along with many other shipments going to various places. Typically pickups occur in the mid-to-late afternoon. Your tracking number typically then posts by that evening, and we send it to you the next day.
6. Then your shipment is "in transit." At some point in the next few days while your shipment is on the way, the LTL carrier will give you a call to schedule a delivery day & time with you. What you should know about this time frame is that this carrier might be delivering 20 or 30 other shipments that are either on the way or sort of on the way. It is not a straight line from the warehouse to your home or office.
7. Then delivery occurs, with the services you have requested. As we've explained in this article, standard LTL shipping does not include inside delivery--that is an additional service that must be added on.
Hopefully after this process you are EXTREMELY pleased with your desk and it lasts you for years to come! But, as you can see, it is a complex process. We have been a bit spoiled by the crazy logistical skills of companies like Amazon and FedEx, who are able to get an item to you the day after you order it like it's nothing. That is literally impossible when you are dealing with items like large office desks. As you can see above, they must be pulled, prepared for shipment, picked up by an LTL company after freight is lined up, and shipped to you. I often tell customers to expect about a week time frame from order to delivery, and that is pretty remarkable speed when you think about all that goes into this process. I hope this information has been helpful!