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3 Bad Ways to Buy Office Furniture

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Office furniture design is critical to the success of an organization. Poor strategies for planning, purchasing and management can drain budgets, detract from productivity and be of detriment to overall corporate culture. In this post, we examine how to buy office furniture effectively by thinking like your CFO. With proper planning, purchasing and management, to buy office furniture can be considered an investment rather than an expense. So,  let’s look at using the best-value approach to procurement when you buy office furniture. We’re going to learn how to plan it right, buy it right and manage it right.

Poor Office Furniture Planning

Begrudging Buy-In: your biggest challenge will be garnering buy-in from all the affected parties, which translates to grievances filtered all the way to your brain trust. You’ll need to involve key stakeholders in selection, so here are some things they should know. Establish a budget that includes installation and freight allowances. Buying in bulk will save money on shipping – many manufacturers will even waive the freight fees at a certain volume. Account for the warranty on your furniture – dealers can even provide a warranty when you buy office furniture that’s pre-owned. The most important thing? Begin your research and planning early. Allot for longer than you expect and more hang-ups than you can imagine.

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Accommodating Work and People: we believe workspaces should work as hard as you do. More specifically, we believe the workplace should attract/motivate/retain employees, as well as support their work processes. Unfortunately for our marketing department, there’s not a cut-and-dry solution to achieve that in every organization. We’ve found that identifying the work styles and individual preferences of separate work groups is a good place to start, and that accounting for wellness and sustainability is almost unilaterally recognized as bonus points. There’s another resource you can read about outlining four key components of your workplace transition.

Bad Habits When You Buy Office Furniture

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Accommodating Work and People: we believe workspaces should work as hard as you do. More specifically, we believe the workplace should attract/motivate/retain employees, as well as support their work processes. Unfortunately for our marketing department, there’s not a cut-and-dry solution to achieve that in every organization. We’ve found that identifying the work styles and individual preferences of separate work groups is a good place to start, and that accounting for wellness and sustainability is almost unilaterally recognized as bonus points. There’s another resource you can read about outlining four key components of your workplace transition.

Pitfalls of Picking Lowest Price: The pitfall of prioritizing lowest price is that the specifications do not address the original need. Purchase commercial-grade furniture (designed for 8-10 hrs a day, 5-6 days a week). Furniture from big box stores tend to fail quickly with normal commercial office use and has no resale value. Additionally, most commercial relocation firms will not move furniture from big box stores without a waiver of damage for it’s proclivity to falling apart.

Sporadic Spending is Expensive: aggregate your office-related spending by prioritizing interchangeability. If you have multiple locations, select finishes that match or complement one another. Buy non-handed furniture (configurable as right- or left-handed) to boost workspace flexibility. Strive for a “timeless” look – not too trendy, but not to be outdated in the next few years;. Additionally, stick with the same furniture system to ensure an easier reconfiguration when things inevitably change. Many furniture systems have OEM or “clone” components available, which will boost the cost-effectiveness of an expansion.

Recycling and Resale: The last component of effective office furniture buying is what you’re going to do with your old furniture. Can it be reconfigured? Does it have resale value? Will your dealer mitigate costs for disposal? Buying new commercial office furniture will afford you liquidation value down the line if you decide to replace. Buying used commercial office furniture can help preserve cash flow, and can afford credit toward green building certifications.


When Office Furniture Management is Missing

The validity of office furniture is always changing. New work processes, a multigenerational workforce and a changing landscape in many industries make for tumultuous facilities management. To articulate the value of office furniture management, let’s ask ourselves a few questions:

What do you do during a project? Do your employees have an interim space to work, or the ability to work remotely? Have you estimated the cost of downtime incurred in different scenarios? How are you going to coordinate space planning, logistics and storage? How are those costs distributed?

What happens when someone leaves? Or, when someone new arrives? Allocated space for storage of furniture to be redeployed can be a hard solution to come by.

What do you do with broken pieces? Do you replace them, or have them fixed? When they’re being fixed, do you have a temporary solution to deploy?

What happens in the event of a disaster? Having an asset inventory will help recoup the full value of your investment as outlined in your continuity plan.

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Proper management helps ensure you maximize the value of your furniture assets. First, establish a formal process for measuring your workplace investments. Then, conduct an audit of your current furniture. While facilities management typically takes this responsibility on, it’s crucial to involve ownership and finance for support. Mapping your investment out will afford you the ability to reuse resources and minimize waste. Taking stock of your assets will allow you to more accurately measure, depreciate and plan future investments.

Why You Should Think Like Your CFO

To effectively buy office furniture, consider the lifecycle costs. That’s because utilizing furniture over inflexible building materials is less expensive in the long run. Furniture normally accounts for 24% of initial costs in a buildout. However, over 5 yrs, furniture amounts to only 6% of facility-related costs. Additionally, office furniture’s classification as a non-fixed asset affords organizations greater tax benefits through accelerated depreciation.

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Thanks for Reading!

Maximizing the value of your furniture assets is essential for any enterprise, and it’s what Office Furniture Warehouse is all about. Our mission is to make your workspace work as hard as you do. We are, in fact, here to help you make informed decisions about how you buy office furniture. Want to stun your CFO with purchasing savvy? If you’ll click the button below and tell us a bit about yourself, we’ll send you our presentation on “Maximizing the Value of Furniture Assets”. Sound good?

Got a project on the horizon, or just on the brain? You can tell us about your project here and one of our workspace consultants will put time on the board per your request. Thanks again!