Struggling with Material Changes and Supply Chain Issues in your Furniture Manufacturing?

Date of post: January 12, 2023   By: LINC Systems

The experts at LINC Systems can help.

Supply chain impacts from the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine, port shutdowns in Asia and trade policy turbulence have disrupted the manufacturing sector, with many businesses scrambling to source parts and materials.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), 78.3% of manufacturers have reported supply chain challenges as a primary business challenge in the third quarter of 2022, including:

  • Supply shortages
  • Price increases
  • Fulfillment delays
  • Higher freight costs
  • Higher raw material costs
  • Difficulty attracting and maintaining quality workers

Only 10.8% believe improvement will occur by the end of the year and furniture manufacturers are no different.

The rising costs of lumber and diminished availability of various tree species have caused furniture manufacturers to switch gears, choosing thinner wood or different species of wood altogether for availability and cost.

The rapid adoption of ecommerce has also changed manufacturer output requirements. Fully constructed furniture has been replaced by thinner and more lightweight pieces that are easier and less costly to ship and often assembled upon delivery.

Related: 7 Ways to Tackle Rising Supply Prices and Cut Costs in Your Manufacturing Operations


Overcoming Material Adaptations in Furniture Manufacturing

Supply challenges and changes in consumer behavior have led to the need for material adaptation in final products like upholstered furniture and case goods. The war in Ukraine has drastically reduced the supply of Baltic plywood (also known as Russian Birch), a primary lumber used in manufacturing furniture, especially in the upholstered furniture market.

What’s more, the government-imposed tariffs as high as 50% earlier this year on Russian birch following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This has had furniture manufacturers — primarily upholstery fabricators — looking for new sources on these raw materials. According to Tom Russell, editor of Home News Now, an increase in proposed duties — as high as 184% — on China-made products being transshipped from Vietnam will further increase the pricing of these hardwoods.

As a result, furniture manufacturers have had to adapt to material changes including the fasteners used in framing, production and assembly. For example, many manufacturers turned to eucalyptus wood or composite options due to supply constraints. While these options may be similar in strength and performance, they do require different fastening solutions. Whereas one manufacturer may have used an inch-and-a-half staple to secure Baltic or a thinner sheet, they now must use a staple with a shorter leg length to prevent blow through.

It’s not just hardwood, plywood and laminated plywood that have been impacted by recent events. Everything has changed. Those outside the industry often don’t realize these changes include the very seat, deck, foam and fibers required to manufacture furniture. For two years, fiber (industry standard) has been near impossible to procure. Manufacturers have since moved to foam. Not only does foam have a shorter wear life, but it is also denser, meaning traditional staples don’t drive through as well. As a result, manufacturers need to increase the leg length of staples for secure and reliable fastening.

More adhesives are being used in place of traditional staples as furniture manufacturers select thinner, lighter materials. When using adhesives, dry times remain a critical factor in production rates and shipping times. The faster the dry time, the faster that piece of furniture is off to shipment.

The experts at LINC Systems have the industry knowledge to help you meet these challenges and ensure you’re selecting the right tools, fasteners and adhesives for any new materials.

What’s the Best Upholstery Staple?

Gone are the days when price and availability were the only things to consider when procuring fasteners. Many times, material changes in production require a fastener change as well.

Matters to consider in fastener selection:

  • Type of material (woods, fibers, plastics, foam, vinyl)
  • Hardwoods versus softwoods
  • Thick versus thin materials
  • Staple gauge requirement
  • Staple leg length requirement
  • Staple crown requirement
  • Location of staple (hidden from view, prominent)
  • External conditions (exposure to moisture, sunlight, saltwater)
  • Color of staples

LINC Systems meets your needs with a variety of standard and specialty fastening options, including:

  • Fine wire, medium wire and heavy wire staples
  • Frame building and spring up staples
  • Furniture clips

LINC Systems Recommendations: What’s the Best Stapling Tool for Furniture Manufacturers?

When making a material adaption, you’ll also need to consider the power, speed and torque capabilities of your current pneumatic tooling. Does it have the power to drive a staple into the substrate? Or is it too powerful?

Adding to the complexity is the ever-changing supply chain. Judging by the past few years, supply chain disruptions will be a continual thorn in the sides of manufacturers for some time, and material adaptions will be the norm. Fortunately, you have options and we can guide you through them.

Looking for the right pneumatic tool for your furniture manufacturing and assembly needs? We have you covered with our top recommendations:

Check out our Fastener Selection Guidelines: Tips for Choosing Nails, Screws, Staples and More.

How to Get Stapling Tools Ordered and Repaired Efficiently

Did you know that LINC Systems can service and maintain your pneumatic tools?

You can purchase pneumatic tools from big supply houses but with them, you’re limited in the type of service and support you receive. Typically, they don’t offer onsite and offsite tool maintenance programs or consultative services that help you dial-in operational costs and performance.

LINC Systems can help your tools operate to their highest level of performance possible, minimizing costly downtime and increasing your overall profitability. Rapid Repair, our power tool repair program, is a fast and efficient way to repair and service tools of all kinds including small body tools, pneumatic tools, gas-powered tools and strapping tools, and much more.

Did you also know you can save money by sourcing all your manufacturing needs in one place?

Increase your purchasing power and consolidate your suppliers with the LINC Express Program. With LINC Express, you can have a single vendor partner for all your fasteners, industrial supply and packaging supplies AND your tool repair. This cuts down on the number of invoices to process, reduces strain on your back office, improves inventory management and delivers better pricing and lower freight.

Improving Worker Safety with Pneumatic Tool Safety Training

When was the last time you looked at your pneumatic tool safety program? As your fasteners and tooling needs change, so should your workplace safety procedures.

Not all pneumatic tooling operates the same way. Any confusion about proper usage can result in injury or property damage. Any time that your pneumatic tooling is swapped out is a great time for a hazard assessment.

Additionally, if you’re struggling with high employee turnover or have an influx of new hires, they may not be familiar with how to safely operate pneumatic tooling.

We take safety seriously and have a vested interest in the health and safety of your employees. That’s why we designed a free pneumatic tool safety training program to help your employees feel confident and safe on the job. Not only do we offer safety training, but we also educate your team on the correct type of trigger to use on pneumatic tooling, minimizing the risk of injury.

Learn more about our Stay Safe Safety Training Program.


Packaging Improvements Can Protect Your Bottom Line

With rising production costs and supply chain limitations, protecting your finished product is more important than ever. Product damage during shipment is a serious problem. Replacing damaged product inflates operating costs, doubles shipping costs, creates unhappy customers and puts even more of a strain on your already limited inventory.

It’s why we recommend customized packaging options and materials to protect from dust, dirt and moisture and curb product damage during shipping, storage and transport. For furniture applications, we offer a variety of packaging equipment, such as stretch wrappers, shrink wrappers and palletizer, and related supplies, including:

  • Polypropylene bags for large furniture items
  • Packaging seals and clips
  • Packaging tape
  • Polyester, polypropylene and woven strapping
  • Strapping tools
  • Staple crown requirement
  • Stretch film
  • Corner protection
  • Foam and inflatables

Streamline Your Furniture Production with the Right Supply Partner

LINC Systems can help you streamline production with the right tools, fasteners and supplies as well as expert advice. We offer:

  • Fasteners & Tooling Recommendations
  • Packaging Equipment & Supplies
  • Material & Application Analysis
  • Labor Reduction with Equipment Analysis
  • Product & Process Consultations
  • Industrial Supplies and Packing Products

We can help you adapt to material changes and provide application-specific advice on fastener selection to increase efficiencies throughout your operations. We aren’t limited to a few brands either. We are a premier distributor for many top-rated manufacturer brands, so we can source the best solutions and industrial supplies that are right for your needs.


Interested in automating your production and packaging lines? We can help.

Contact us to schedule an on-site evaluation with a knowledgeable LINC Systems representative who will arrive on-site to assess your state of operations, identify bottlenecks and provide detailed tooling recommendations to help you cut labor costs, reduce rejects, and improve plant processes. We can demo our tools and fasteners on-site so you can see how they will perform with your applications.

LINC Systems is here with the tools and advice to help you work safely and efficiently. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an on-site consultation for automating your production line, please click here to contact us or give us a call at 800.513.9918.

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