Wednesday, March 23, 2011

To Use A Carpenter Or A Specialist Bespoke Furniture Maker

Trying to decide if bespoke is really worth it?

Article taken off

To Use A Carpenter Or A Specialist Bespoke Furniture Maker

Six arguments so far in favour of using a specialist fitted furniture company, and the seventh? Project Management.

Sure you expect the installation of your fitted wardrobes or home office furniture to run smoothly and be right first time but, in the best of all possible worlds, problems do occur.

A professional bespoke furniture supplier will have a sophisticated project management system in place and will employ a team of people, each with an allocated role in the process, typically: designer, draftsman, surveyor, production scheduler, bench joiner, sprayer/finisher, quality controller, delivery driver, installer/fitter and administrator. That's ten individuals, each with a key role to play in ensuring that the process runs smoothly, fits in with your programme and achieves a result that meets, and hopefully exceeds, your expectations.

In today's difficult trading conditions, no supplier can hope to stay competitive without the leanest possible infrastructure, and yet, all ten of these key roles must be fulfilled and their functions coordinated or customer satisfaction is put at risk. The independent carpenter cannot be expected to wear ten hats at once and, although their partner may act as administrator and some functions, such as delivery driver and installer can be combined, much functionally within the project is put at risk by not having independent oversight.

There is an old carpenter's adage that says 'measure twice, cut once' and it is a sound principle when applied to making and installing anything custom-made or bespoke. However, the protection provided by this practice is far greater when the second measure is conducted by a third party. it's far too easy to repeat an error when checking you own work. Effectively, an efficient fitted furniture maker take the measurements four times: the designer on the first visit, the draftsman who 'closes the survey' by adding together all the designer's measurements and angles: wall, window, right angle, wall, alcove, right angle, wall, doorway, right angle, wall, pillar wall and, hopefully arrives back at the same place. If correct, the survey closes, if not a miss-measure is suspected. The job is then re-measured by the surveyor before manufacture and finally, for the fourth time by the fitter, on-site, before he begins the installation.

Management of the project is the key role of the administrator whose job it is to coordinate the functions of the other nine members of the team, ensuring a smooth process and a delighted customer.

That's a lot to ask of even the most talented carpenter.