How to Select a School Science Lab Furniture Manufacturer
By: Albert Cappello
If your school is in the midst of building or retrofitting old science classrooms, finding vendors with the right products and the ability to produce those products cost effectively and on time is paramount. Let's take a look at the most important attributes when selecting a science lab furniture manufacturer.
There is no way around it, competitive pricing will always be an important factor when selecting a vendor for large-scale building projects. But, should it be the most important factor? Probably not!
There is a lot of cheap, poorly manufactured laboratory furniture on the market that will make your project balance sheet look good, but will become a problem down the line when it does not live up to the heavy demands of a high school environment.
Product Quality and Safety
American manufactured products have long been associated with quality. When you purchase cheaply made products manufactured in regions with low standards and a poorly trained workforce, you are subjecting yourself to lower quality products that may not last as long and end up costing you more in the long run. This is extremely important in a heavy-use high school environment.
Which Materials to Use for Lab Countertops
There are many different materials that you can use for your lab countertops. Some of them include phenolic resin, epoxy resin, stainless steel, chemical resistant laminate, and high pressure laminate. These are considered some of the top materials to use for your countertops, and something to keep in mind when selecting your school's science lab furniture.
Manufacturing Lead Times
For make-to-order products, manufacturing lead time is the time taken from the release of an order to production and shipment.
If you are working with a tight deadline to get your project completed, getting access to your furniture quickly may trump price in the level of importance, and may be the primary factor in deciding your manufacturing partner. Shorter lead times are one of the primary benefits of working with a domestic manufacturer of your lab furniture.
Once your order is placed, your product is manufactured and your order should be delivered to your facility quickly when and where you need it with a local or domestic transport company.
Products Built to Industry Standards
Standards make things better: safer, higher quality and easier to use. Increased attention to detail in the manufacturing process to meet high quality standards and produce reliable products increases costs to both manufacturers and consumers alike.
Whether it's for products that require electrical assemblies, or the quality of your laboratory seating, look for companies that are certified by SEFA, ANSI BIFMA and Underwriters Laboratory.
Companies that manufacture to these standards agree to rigorous examination, testing, follow up surveillance of the manufacturing process and procedures and maintain compliance with nationally recognized safety standards.
Your project may require a custom solution that a mass produced piece of furniture or equipment will not provide. The words "custom" and "manufactured" are not what one would necessarily expect to see together. When most people envision the concept of manufacturing, they picture assembly lines where identical products are mass produced.
Given the rapid improvements in technology and processes, manufacturing is becoming a bit more complex and exciting. This allows manufacturers to take on more and more work that could not have been accommodated before. This includes smaller jobs with higher requirements, which result in the production of custom products to be produced to meet very specific needs and functions.
Make sure that your manufacturing partner has the engineering capability and experience to meet your customized requirements.
Selecting the right manufacturing partner means moving beyond price. Product quality and safety, building to standards, predictable lead times and a manufacturer that can customize when needed are all factors that should be considered to ensure that your project is completed on time and with a minimum of hassles.
Albert Cappello is chief executive officer of Workstation Industries, a manufacturer of industrial, technical and laboratory furniture based in Southern California, www.workstationindustries.com.