Office Equipment: Manufacturer vs Importer
Buying quality office furniture at competitive prices requires some homework on the buyer’s part. A quick Google search used to point us in the right direction for well-known office furniture suppliers, but with so much competition it is hard to find the truly best price possible.
Generally speaking, though, is it better to buy from a manufacturer of office furniture, or a retailer who imports their furniture? There are always pros and cons to any possible scenario, so we’ve weighed them up below:
Office Furniture Manufacturers
The possible biggest benefit of buying your office equipment from an office furniture manufacturer is that you are supporting locally-made goods, and thus proudly South African goods.
Another great benefit of buying from a manufacturer is that you should be able to fully customise your furniture order to suit your style, your space and your needs. That being said, there are some major pitfalls when choosing to support locally made office furniture.
If the supplier is new, or has not had a long-standing history of product quality, it’s hard to determine if your office furniture is going to be able to stand the test of time. It may be a good idea to try find other customers, or at least some online reviews pertaining to the manufacturers furniture, and see if it would be a wise investment or not.
If the manufacturer is small, they may not be able to offer you as expansive a range as a larger supplier or importer might; this may inadvertently drive up the price of your furniture – something you may want to consider whilst on a budget.
However – if the manufacturer is in good standing, has a reputable name and can offer warranties or guarantee on their work – opting to “:look local” is an excellent choice – especially for lover of customised furniture.
Office Furniture Importers
Imported office furniture is sourced globally from some of the finest and most well-known brands. There is often an unspoken rule that imported office furniture carries a lower price as opposed to locally manufactured furniture – for a couple of reasons; imported furniture requires no on-site set-up or work, and there is typically no middle man involved in the buying process from seller to importing. When a retailer doesn’t have to cover those types of overheads, they can easily pass the saving along to you in the form of a cheaper piece of furniture.
In terms of customisation – it may take a little longer to have customised items delivered to you (for obvious reasons) – but these customised items would generally be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. Fully customised pieces that the manufacturer does not normally commission may be hard to find, and will likely carry a higher cost – so if this is an area of concern to you – you may want to opt for manufacturers over importers.
What are the biggest benefits of imported furniture? Possibly the biggest benefit is the double mark of quality. Locally manufactured goods only need to undergo a single safety-standard test, while importers are typically required to undergo testing in their country of origin, as well as the country of export.*
Because imported furniture is usually bought from large suppliers, you are safe in knowing that you are not being taken advantage of by an unethical supplier.
In short, if you prefer to have fully customised furniture– it might be best to choose a local manufacturer who can make your furniture just the way you want. Remember though, that they also have limitations. You won’t be able to commission a fully customised ergonomic chair from a supplier who specialised in wooden tables, so some shopping around may be necessary.
However if you enjoy the freedom of being able to tweak an existing deign to have it customised to your liking, you don’t want to spend a fortune on name brand items that have exceptional generic options, and you want the peace of mind of buying from a known supplier, it might be worth your while to seek an office furniture importer.
We hereby indemnify ourselves of an error or omission stated herein.