One of the problems with buying office furniture is that it happens so rarely. Few organisations are large enough to need to think about their furniture more than about once or twice a decade. So what happens when they do? The guy who dealt with it last time has left or retired and no one remembers the name of the supplier or why they were chosen. And was the decision a good one? Did we get good value for money? Who knows?
So when the time to look for office furniture comes around, we have to start from scratch every time. What a bore. That used to mean going to Yellow Pages; today it’s a web search. Equally haphazard. Do we look for a dealer who should be able to offer a wide choice from different manufacturers, or do we compile our own list of manufacturers and be prepared to devote lots of time and resource to repeatedly explaining our needs, sifting
What is required is a clear understanding of the features and benefits of the furniture and supporting services we need and the amount we should need to spend, and the ability to cross-match that to the suppliers and products available. We need to think about our use of office technology and working practices we are planning to employ, the space we have available and how we want to use it, the appearance and image we want to portray, ergonomic and environmental issues, continuity of availability of the furniture we choose service levels, cost, and a host of other factors.
In theory, a dealer will give us independent advice but in practice, the best, most professional dealers are tied to one, or perhaps two manufacturers. Few dealers will work with more than a few manufacturers; they just don’t have the time or resources to manage more than that. And there are hundreds of possible suppliers out there from which you can make your choice. And because dealers, quite naturally, want to sell you as much as they can, at prices as high as possible, their interests and yours are really not aligned.
So what should you do about office furniture when you decide to move offices, to refurbish, or when technology or business pressures push you into buying new?
How about going to an independent specialist who has the skills, experience and market knowledge to ensure you make the right, logical, commercial decisions? An advisory service which is genuinely independent of all manufacturers and whose job it is to assess a client’s needs and match them to suppliers’ and their product ranges that are available. Their knowledge of the market will also, almost invariably, allow them to negotiate a deal on your behalf better than would otherwise be available. And the savings will more than cover the fees you pay them.