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How Quick Ship Programs Work

Sponsored By Sherrill Furniture

The LA Express program from Lillian August for Hickory White offers unique benefits to designers.

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LA Express Quick Ship Program

In the last couple of years, many industries have been hit with supply chain delays leading to a shortage of in-stock products. The home furnishings industry was unfortunately not immune. But some manufacturers have taken matters into their own hands to create inventive ways to get product to designers and retailers quickly. One of these manufacturers is Lillian August for Hickory White (a division of Sherrill Furniture), which is offering its best-selling upholstery through its quick-ship LA Express program.

Read on for some insights into the program, how it works and what customers have to say about it.

What is a quick-ship program?

A quick-ship program like LA Express offers a curated collection of some of the line’s best-sellers and the enviable ability to ship products out quickly. Once a client selects the product and finish or upholstery, the manufacturers in Hickory, North Carolina, start work and ship out the product within 12 to 14 weeks for in-stock fabrics.

The key to success for LA Express comes from selecting the right products that have been popular in their lines and choosing the customization options that clients love best. This includes fan-favorite fabrics as well as finishes.

Clients love having the ability to customize their home furnishings to their exact tastes, but providing those options isn’t always easy for manufacturers. It usually requires storing a large amount of raw materials with few guarantees that all of it will eventually sell. While some fabrics and finishes will fly off the shelves, others will take time to show returns on investment.

Quick-ship programs minimize the inventory risk manufacturers face without compromising their ability to offer customization. By limiting the products, fabrics and finishes to best-sellers, manufacturers like Lillian August feel confident stocking up on these raw materials because their numbers show that they will sell well and fast.

Of course, this also benefits clients, many of whom are tired of long lead times and excited to enjoy their new furniture. They still receive a tailored piece that fits their homes at a lead time that fits their needs.

How does a quick-ship program work?

Quick-ship programs live up to their names. Because clients have fewer choices, they need less time to make their selections, and because Lillian August has these styles, fabrics and finishes stocked and ready to go, the shipping time dramatically decreases.

Clients first work with showrooms to choose their pieces and select the upholstery and finishes they’d like. Once their choices have been sent to Lillian August, the factory’s team of artisans get to work right away.

After they’ve finished, the product is sent out right away to the client. Shipping times do vary depending on where the client lives, which pieces they’ve chosen and how many products they’ve ordered, but many pieces are arriving within weeks, not months, from the date of acknowledgment.  
What do customers love about it?

The quick-ship program has been a lifesaver for customers at Heenan’s in Oklahoma City, Okla. As store manager Dallas Bargas explained, current lead times for most manufacturers can be between 30 to 40 weeks, but with LA Express, customers have their new pieces in about 12 to 16 weeks.

Over at Hoffman & Albers in Cincinnati, Ohio, president and co-owner Ann Hoffman has placed countless orders with LA Express in the three years they’ve been using the program. She has been a client of Lillian August for decades.

“The Lillian August brand is just so exciting from a design standpoint. It’s always one of the first showrooms that I want to go into,” she said.

Heenan’s has been doing business with Lillian August for over 60 years since the store opened in 1959, Bargas said. The store started using the LA Express program about a year ago and has placed about 10 orders. Customers love the great designs, fabric choices and, of course, the fast shipping.

What Hoffman particularly loves about the program is the variety of fun and unique fabrics and designs. With many quick-ship programs she’s used, the manufacturers offer their “bread and butter” designs with basic fabric options. Not Lillian August. While clients can find their favorite neutrals, they’ll also find bright blue, pink and yellow shades available. The program even includes beds, which has pleased Hoffman’s customers.

“Lillian did just a tremendous job."

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