Navigating the Supply Chain Crisis - in Conversation with Jenny Zhu

Jenny Zhu- Lush Decor, Triangle Home Fashions

The COVID -19 pandemic, in early 2020, initially slowed the global supply chain as manufacturers shut down until they could implement safety precautions. Today, global trade continues at a severely reduced capacity, despite the increase in demand across all industries. Companies everywhere have had to quickly learn to adjust, pivot, and adapt to this new world order. We talked to Jenny Zhu, Triangle Home Fashions | Lush Decor Founder and CEO, to learn how the company is navigating supply chain challenges and attaining growth during this crisis.

How did the global shutdown due to the COVID 19 pandemic affect Triangle Home Fashions’ (THF) operations?

“We anticipated some of the issues in the supply chain brought about by the pandemic. As standard practice, Triangle’s strategy is to always keep favorable inventory and stay far ahead of orders on best sellers so that they are never out of stock. Our favorable inventory positioned THF for growth as brick-and-mortar stores opened back up. Retailers were low on inventory, and we were able to step in and help them fill their shelves. Both during and post pandemic, we maintained a mid-to-high 90% delivery rate.”

How do the current issues in the supply chain impact your business?

“Supply chain delays have impacted every business — whether large or small — and THF is no exception. From securing containers and freight to navigating port delays and labor challenges out of our control to bring our shipments to our customers or to our warehouse, we have had to re-evaluate our options and priorities. Demand for our products has increased steadily since the pandemic hit and we’ve had to make changes in our strategy to address supply chain challenges and keep the business growing.”

How are you navigating the supply chain challenges?

“THF has taken several steps to manage supply chain issues and innovate for growth. One of our biggest advantages is our office in China and our dedicated team there. They help to negotiate and find favorable freight rates as well as secure containers and follow up to make sure our shipments get on the water as planned. In addition, our forecasting and planning team is proactive — staying on top of orders so they’re working ahead of freight delays and mitigating rate increases. With warehouses on both the east and west coasts, we can be much more flexible with shipping options. With the port delays in LA and more restrictive sailing dates overseas, we have worked around this by shipping containers to the east coast to fulfill orders and meet delivery dates. We have also expanded our vendor network across the US, India, and China to help expedite the process and negotiate the best rates.

“We are not expecting this situation to change much over the next 8–12 months so we’ve taken additional steps to minimize challenges in this new normal. We are purchasing our own equipment so we can finish certain operations in the USA. And, in many cases, we’ve leveraged our strong relationships with our retailers to help problem solve. By bringing them into the discussion and consistently communicating both strategy and challenges, together we have navigated through these tricky waters — literally!”

What next steps are you taking to further address current and future supply chain challenges?

“As a data-driven company, we understand the importance of taking an integrated approach to managing our business. We are upgrading both our ERP and warehouse management systems to accommodate anticipated growth that will take us to the next level in our business. These new systems will give us even more visibility to every step in our process– from design to understanding our customer’s needs and wants — and help us innovate our full-cycle processes. We have a strong, focused team experienced at creative problem solving and uniquely positioned to guide us through the next phase in THF’s growth.

“In 2008, we launched Triangle Home Fashions in the middle of a struggling economy. We quickly learned the importance of adapting and finding the right solutions given the environment and circumstances at hand. It helped to shape us and create an approach that we still employ today — that challenges make us stronger and enable our Company to not only operate but succeed and grow even when the headwinds seem almost insurmountable.”

Thanks for sharing, Jenny.

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