The Bitterness of Poor Quality

When I was in college in the early 80’s I drove a 1970’s vintage Toyota Land Cruiser.  Having a limited budget, I struggled to afford maintenance and chose to purchase $15 retread tires for my vehicle.  This worked great while I was driving in town but I soon found out how expensive this decision was when I drove the 350 miles to and from school.  On multiple occasions I had tire failures in the middle of eastern Washington in the worst possible weather conditions in a time before cell phones.

What I learned was that the true “cost” of the $15 re-tread tire was about $75 with down time, repair and inconvenience.  This was about the cost of a good truck tire in the day.  The saying “The bitterness of  poor choice lingers longer than the sweetness of cheap price” rings in my head each time I consider a “low cost, low quality” solution for a product or service I’m purchasing.

Today’s office furniture market is loaded with choices.  In the past 10 years, many of the “trusted” brand names in the industry have set up production and sourcing from off shore manufacturers with inconsistent quality standards.   Although aesthetically pleasing, these products are not designed to support change in today’s rapidly evolving workspace.  As a facility services provider managing our clients' internal moves, adds and changes (MAC), we are constantly “fixing” these inflexible product choices (designs) and managing the quality problems.

Purchasing office furniture today can be a complicated process.  Too often the design of the space influences the buying decision rather than the functional capability of the product.  In addition, large manufacturers dominate the design community with their extensive marketing budgets limiting the product options presented to the customer.

At Apex Facility Resources we “disrupt” the traditional buying process by introducing workspace product solutions designed for change in the workspace.  Our approach considers the “Total Cost of Ownership” (TC0), which includes the purchase price, warranty, repair and out of use costs.  Our goal is to reduce the costly reconfigurations resulting from a “fixed in place” design approach.

The more things change the more relevant old sayings of our grandparents become.  “You get what you pay for” is alive and well.  With the current rate of change in the office environment the flexibility of workspace design is critical to the overall investment.  Office furniture choices must consider both form and function to support the today’s evolving workspace.  Avoid the “bitterness of poor choice” by designing with change in mind.  This will reduce the TCO increase utilization and deliver higher workforce productivity.

MATT WATSON is vice president of sales and marketing at Apex Facility Resources, which provides office furniture, project planning and design, off-site storage and inventory management, and relocation services. He can be reached at 206.686.3357 or