In previous posts we have covered several furniture asset management best practices including life cycle planning and working onsite. We have also touched on the premise that investing in high-quality furniture underpins good furniture asset management.
When it comes to furniture there is a cost related to poor quality. Budget holders may be tempted to buy sub-standard wooden furniture, under the illusion that spending less at the point of purchase will save overall budget. Instead, poor-quality furniture is expensive in the long run.
Cheap furniture is frequently made out of composite wood materials. Composite materials, or fillers, are man-made through the process of binding strands together with different adhesives. They are made by combining wood fibers with wax, resin or glue then applying heat and pressure to create panels. The resulting materials include medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard and chipboard. These are common in furniture as veneered, low-cost alternatives to authentic and solid wood.
For businesses or organizations with the necessity for high-quality furniture, buying furniture made of these wood composites is far from a cost-saving exercise. While composite-based furniture may have a lower initial purchase price compared to high-quality solid wood furniture, the financial benefits are short-lived. First, composite-based furniture is not robust enough for heavy or long-term use. Second, composite-made furniture is not suited to renewing processes such as refinishing, re-upholstery and remanufacturing. As a result, composite furniture cannot be updated when it becomes worn or outdated, and heads to the landfill after a very short shelf life.
Compare this to the lifespan of solid wood furniture. In the industries we work in:hospitality, education and government – the average furniture lifecycle of solid wood furniture is seven years. This figure is doubled when furniture asset management is well-planned and executed, delivering a strong return on initial investment.
So, we urge purchasers, facilities managers and general management to consider the long-term benefits: both financial and sustainable, when buying furniture assets. It’s important to stress that furniture is an investment, and needs to be managed as an asset.
For more information about how to plan and manage your furniture assets, please contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.