The truth is that kitchen cabinets that are in stock, on the shelf and ready to sell have far superior delivery logistics over cabinets that need to be fabricated, stained/painted, inspected, packaged, etc. In stock kitchen cabinets pretty much originated with the Kitchen Kompact style of unassembled cabinets also known as flat packs. The efficiencies of warehousing a ready to ship inventory of cabinets was slow to catch on. Consumers were quite leary of the limits in sku, limited color and finish. With no modifications or semi custom choices, there was severe limits to acceptance, even into the new construction and low end of the remodel market. As the housing boom of the 90s began heating up, a demand was building for a quicker, more efficient cabinet package. With Chinese imports ramping up and the demand for factory cabinets was pushing manufacturers to the very limits of production, It was obvious that the time was right for a change in the cabinet industry. Of course now we know them as RTA Cabinets or ready to assemble cabinets. Containers full of Chinese RTA Cabinets have proliferated into just about every niche of the cabinet business. What started out as a small segment at the low end of the market is now pretty much a mainstream, “American Cabinet”. You can now walk into any Home Depot and select from Factory Made (semi custom) cabinets with a 2 month lead time or you can select from the RTAs and walk out the door with a Kitchen in a Box!
by Granger Davis