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Office Furniture Reliability

  /  POI Perspectives   /  Office Furniture Reliability
The importance of office furniture reliability

Office Furniture Reliability

Customers often ask us about the reliability of the office furniture we are designing into their space. They also ask about the importance of their furniture’s reliability and how we know what furniture provides the best reliability for their particular application. We love these questions because reliability happens to be one of the six strategic office furniture abilities we prioritize for every project. You might say it’s in our DNA to provide reliable furniture.

How Do We Define Office Furniture Reliability?

Reliable office furniture operates or performs consistently as expected. With reliable furniture, file cabinets and desk drawers open and close smoothly, task chair casters roll effortlessly, and ergonomic chairs and desks adjust easily and hold their settings. In other words, office furniture reliability means your furniture works how you want, when you want, so that you barely think about it each time it’s used.

Consistently Performing as Expected

Few people use the word “performance” to describe office furniture. For example, the basic need of a wire-framed stacking chair is to be able to support a seated person. Even though expectations for such a chair are low, Haworth’s Very stackable chair exceeds performance expectations with its ease of stacking, minimal parts count, durability, light weight, elegant design and comfort.

Users expect even more from furniture with moving parts, adjustability and technology built into them, and the furniture we recommend from our Premium Partners similarly exceeds every performance expectation.

Flexible Spaces Demand Reliability

Many of our clients in the education, corporate, hospitality and healthcare industries want to be able to use the same space in many different ways — what we call flexible spaces — which enables the organization  to do more with less space. How do you make flexible spaces work? By furnishing them with furniture designed specifically for frequent reconfiguration.

Examples of adaptable, flexible furniture that performs as expected include the Haworth Planes flip top tables, engineered for storage by flipping the work surfaces up and nesting them compactly with other Planes tables in a closet, storage room or against a wall. Haworth has designed and built these tables for years of reliable operation.

Compare the Planes table with products from lower quality manufacturers and you will find that their tables may look similar, but are built using different manufacturing processes and lower-quality materials.These practices reduce the likelihood of long-term, reliable operation as connectors loosen and parts bend or break.

Even though these lower quality nesting tables may cost less to purchase, they cost more over time:

  • Storing lower quality tables like these when they do not nest properly takes more time and labor, which translates to dollars and cents for your organization every single day.
  • Less reliable furniture can also lead to using more force than necessary to move or store the furniture, which in turn can lead to damaged furniture.
  • Damaged furniture and furniture that breaks more often can lead to injuries and all its related costs
  • Lower quality furniture will need to be replaced sooner than higher quality furniture.

Warranty – A Reflection of Office Furniture Reliability

Manufacturers’ warranties are excellent indicators of office furniture reliability. The warranty length, coverage and terms reflect the company’s confidence in the reliable operation of their furniture. The better the engineering, materials and manufacturing quality, the longer the warranty.

Take furniture industry leader Haworth as an example of excellent furniture warranties:

  • Contact surfaces like chair and panel coverings carry a 1-year warranty against staining, tearing and wear.
  • Moving parts like casters, drawer guides, and task chair adjustable components have a 5-year warranty.
  • Haworth warrants the structural integrity of their furniture for the life of that piece.

In total, Haworth provides the best warranty in the industry, and when it’s backed by Pacific Office Interiors’ superior service and support, it’s even better.

The importance of office furniture reliability

Replacement Parts Coverage

Low-quality manufacturers may sell replacement parts if they make them; however, many don’t make spare parts available because they don’t expect their furniture to last. They keep costs and prices low by not offering any replacement parts coverage at all.

Many mid-quality manufacturers provide covered parts at no charge, saving you the cost of the parts. However, they often do not cover the service labor to install the parts, leaving you with the bill for the labor required to replace the part.

Premium companies like Haworth offer exceptional coverage for parts breakage. For example, if your Haworth Fern ergonomic chair’s caster breaks while under warranty, Haworth sends POI the part, and we install it with Haworth covering our labor costs.

This is about as good as warranty coverage gets. 

Why do companies like Haworth offer these generous warranties? Again, it reflects their confidence in their engineering, design, materials and manufacturing processes. They manufacture their products to last, so they are comfortable providing a superior warranty, expecting infrequent use. Warranties like Haworth’s give you confidence that your furniture will perform reliably for years.

The Intangible Costs of Poor Office Furniture Reliability

When furniture fails to perform as expected, it steals the user’s focus and reduces productivity. Imagine you are a highly respected law firm, and important clients are visiting. While trying to make a presentation, the technology-enabling features of the conference room furniture malfunction. The presentation stops while the issue is handled, incurring lost billable time and productivity for the law firm and potentially a lost client.

Unreliable furniture also negatively impacts the organization’s image because it shows damage faster and deteriorates as users struggle to adjust it to their needs. Shoddy, broken furniture looks cheap and detracts from the image your organization wants to project.

The Tangible Costs of Poor Office Furniture Reliability

Poor office furniture reliability can cause health and safety issues. When ergonomic adjustment features fail, employees lose the health and productivity enhancements of the furniture, potentially increasing medical costs. Task and meeting room chairs with broken tilt mechanisms can tip over, injuring the occupant, and leading to legal and medical expenses.

Poorly made, unreliable furniture always seems to need some form of triage. The costs for parts and the replacement labor for issues excluded by the warranty add up quickly. Employees waste productive time while their furniture undergoes repairs, not to mention losing their focus and impacting their job satisfaction.

Finally, buying unreliable office furniture leads to buying furniture more often to replace broken pieces or to improve the look and image of the space. Reliable office furniture helps your space look new after years of use and consistently performs as expected at any age.

Talk to Us About Office Furniture Reliability

Office furniture reliability needs to be a requirement of every new furniture project. To add reliability to your project specifications, contact us today, and we’ll show you how more reliable office furniture is better for your bottom line.

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