Posted November 16, 2018
Filed Under: FM, furniture, philosophy
Perhaps you have 500 workstations that are 20 years old, solid steel and indestructible. Over the years you’ve changed it up. You raised panels, lowered panels, raised worksurfaces to support standing, reduced storage, torn some of them down and put them back up again or any number of changes to suit the prevailing needs over time – and repeat.
Most contract furniture can be reconfigured in a number of ways to solve a variety of space planning problems. The initial financial investment in that furniture can be daunting and so replacing it is not something you can just do without an approval from the VP level. Furniture is an investment asset that needs to be managed.
So how do you manage your as-built and stored inventories of furniture? A capable space planner will maintain the as-built inventory in an autocad drawing which doubles as a database for the part of your furniture inventory that is in service. As for the furniture parts and pieces that are not in use, where do you store them? Do you have some worksurfaces in a storage room somewhere and panels stacked behind the air handler units? Perhaps there is a stash of small hardware pieces in a pile by the desk of the maintenance supervisor? Or maybe there isn’t even that much organization!
This makes it very difficult for the space planner to quickly determine if parts needed for a project are available and what might need to be purchased. Some companies store their parts and pieces with their furniture dealers and use their space planners who are not always in on your companies long range plans and don’t know how your population will impact layouts. Some companies store their furniture at a storage and moving company.
Both of these types of companies will use an inventory tracking system that adds and subtracts furniture parts as they come into and out of storage. These can be checked online by whoever does the space planning at your company. Other companies store all their furniture parts and pieces on site without a system for tracking the inventory and then when a big project comes along, that inventory must be located and hand counted before it is determined whether parts need to be purchased. And of course, your customer wants that quote yesterday!
Our recommendation is to store most of your furniture with a storage and moving company. A small “rotational inventory” can also be kept in a single well organized area on site for everyday projects so you aren’t calling your storage company every week and paying a truck charge for 2 worksurfaces to be brought over.
An in-house space planner will act as your representative and advocate when furniture needs to be purchased. They will keep your long range goals in mind and make sure your furniture will be serviceable throughout changes in trends. Also when purchasing a new line of furniture, they will work with your furniture dealer to make sure that the new furniture isn’t going to cost a fortune or be too complicated to reconfigure. They will always be focused on your bottom line and know how to maximize your usage of existing furniture while minimizing the need to purchase new parts.