By 2002, 80 percent of the lighting industry’s products were being manufactured in Asia. So it was serious business when a labor dispute in October at 29 West Coast ports provoked a shutdown that stranded hundreds of ships and their cargo while threatening to topple an already withering economy. Federal intervention held the conflict to just 10 days, but lighting manufacturers and showrooms were still feeling its effects for months afterward.
With most lighting companies bringing in Asian-made products through West Coast docks, the shutdown caused a backlog that snarled the product pipeline for weeks. The timing was especially bad; American Lighting Assn. (ALA) President Dick Upton said a significant number of the group’s manufacturer members had product on the stalled ships, including new designs destined for the January 2003 Dallas Market. Upton sent letters to President George W. Bush throughout the entire ordeal, warning him that a prolonged stoppage would severely impact the $10 billion lighting industry.
Because the situation had been worsening over a period of months, some manufacturers prepared for the worst by beefing up inventory ahead of time.
But many others faced a long wait. Days after the docks reopened, Craftmade reported it still had 90 containers on ships waiting to be offloaded.
Looking Back: 2002
Bob Heimrath, a longtime employee at H.A. Framburg and 1997 recipient of the first Residential Lighting Industry Leadership Award, dies in October.
Market Center Management Co., parent to the Dallas Market Center, announces a multi-year management agreement with Shanghai Mart, China’s first and largest international trade mart.
A Residential Lighting survey of lighting manufacturers finds the industry predicting a lackluster 2003, with moderate sales growth expected. Cutting payroll and trimming overhead were steps taken to control costs.
Connecticut Lighting donates more than 400 tickets for a UCONN basketball game to local charities and the Connecticut Assn. of Schools.
Philips Lighting is named Energy Star® Partner of the Year at a special 10th anniversary awards celebration. The company was the first U.S. lamp maker to become an Energy Star Building Ally.
Licensed to Sell:
Residential Lighting editors declared 2002 as “The Year of the Licensing Program.” Backed by large furniture companies, coordinated product offerings from a range of manufacturers hit the right chord with marketers in search of greater brand awareness. The movement included lighting and fan companies such as Fanimation and Sedgefield by Adams (Hemingway), Murray Feiss (Williamsburg, Gear, Bob Mackie), and John Richard (Bogart Collection). Kathy Ireland also debuted her collection for Pacific Coast Lighting.