Managing Cost and Quality When Buying Office Furniture

The office fittings budget, particularly in relation to office furniture, is one of the areas of office management which can become a real nuisance. The usual scenario is “Do we really need to spend this much on furniture?” followed by a largely theatrical debate on saving money, business operating costs, etc., which is really largely irrelevant in terms of the realities of buying office furniture.

The cost and quality issues of office furniture explained:

The issues are anything but simple, and a purely cost-based argument is likely to miss all of the problems comprehensively.

These are the problems:

  • Low quality furniture must be replaced more often- Some of the “office furniture” on the market is certainly cheap, but it’s also appallingly bad quality. The lightweight office chairs, for example, are a bad joke in terms of their ability to support the weight of an average human being for more than a few months before causing ergonomic problems, and basically falling to bits. They need to be replaced far too often to be economic.
  • Expensive is not a synonym for quality- Ironically, some of the pricier furniture isn’t much better than the El Cheapo variety. It looks good, but they’re actually prone to shift their balance over time, creating problems for users. The fact is that if the balance of any piece of office furniture moves, the immediate effect is to realign the spine. That’s a recipe for trouble, and it’s also the cause of things like slipped disks in the neck and back.
  • Workstations and desks- Older workstations and desks shift positions over time as a result of continual weight being put on them, extra loads put on them and other basic wear and tear. High quality desks are a bit better in terms of managing their age, but it’s easy to check- if the desk shifts up and down when a new weight is placed on it, it’s off balance.
  • Appearance- If any type of office furniture has cleaning issues and normal commercial cleaning services can’t fix the appearance, the furniture quality is pretty low, and the cost is therefore too high. Good quality furniture is easy to clean.

Balancing cost and quality of office furniture

It is possible to achieve a good mix of quality and cost for office furniture. The trick is to find a good one stop shop supplier. These suppliers tend to be experts in the field, and they’re very fussy about their product quality.

This is how you do that:

  • Exclude the El Cheapo suppliers and the overpriced suppliers- Preferably forever, because the costs in both cases are unjustifiable. One is only cheap in theory, and the other is always expensive in practice.
  • Look for good full service office furniture providers- They provide a full suite of office furniture, and provide additional support and advisory services
  • Look for good warranties- This alone can save a fortune
  • Look for package deals for any office refit- You can save unbelievable amounts of money, particularly compared to knee-jerk, unplanned purchasing

The best suppliers always give good deals on good quality furniture. You save money upfront, and in real costs over the product lives of the furniture.

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