6 Things to Look For When Evaluating Lab Casework Manufacturers

May 22, 2024 11:30:57 AM / by Albert Cappello

Your company is expanding or building a new lab, so naturally you turn to the internet to look for a manufacturer to provide your lab casework. 


The search results are endless. With so many from which to choose, how do you decide white casework manufacturer is best for your facility? 


It may take a little detective work, but there are some clues that will point you in the right direction. Here are 6 things to look for when evaluating lab casework manufacturers, and how you can spot red flags before you make a significant investment:


  1. Product quality
  2. Customer service
  3. Manufacturing lead time
  4. Price
  5. Shipping
  6. Customization



Product Quality



For most companies, furnishing a lab is a long-term investment. Typically, lab casework, countertops and equipmentlab casework should last for at least 15 to 20 years.   


Purchasing quality lab casework is the only way you can get this type of life span, especially if it is in a high-use area.


American-manufactured products are known to be made according to higher standards. When you purchase cheaply made imported products, you are subjecting yourself to lower quality products that may not last as long and end up costing you more in the long run. You can read more about the benefits of buying domestically-manufactured furniture in our article, Why Should You Buy American Made Laboratory Furniture?


As you’re evaluating lab casework manufacturers, how do you ensure a company is providing a quality product?


Ask manufacturers about the standards they are using. When it comes to metal lab casework, inquire about gauge of steel, the paint process, type of hinges and how it is constructed. For wood casework, ask about the type of wood, type of hinges and finish that is applied.


All electrical options within the casework should be UL listed as well to ensure quality and safety, so it’s a good idea to ask about any relevant certifications. 


Ask if you can look at the product you are considering onsite at one of the company’s existing customers. This is a great way to look at the quality and how it is holding up, and it gives you a chance to talk to a customer about how they like the product.


Red flags: If a manufacturer is vague or hesitant to discuss the materials used in their casework construction, it could be a sign that they’re cutting corners on quality. A reputable manufacturer should also be able to provide information about any relevant certifications or standards their products adhere to, as well as offer warranties that guarantee the durability of their products.



Customer Service



Some customers prefer to send their specifications to the manufacturer for a quote. This works great if your project islab casework simple and straightforward.  


However, when you are building a lab from the ground up, it is beneficial to use your manufacturer as a resource to make sure all the details are being considered in the design process. After all, there’s a lot to consider, from making sure the cabinetry fits, you’re choosing the right countertop material for the conditions in your lab, and what utilities are needed, just to name a few.


Here’s where customer service is key. A quality manufacturer will take the time to send one of its manufacturing representatives or a dealer representative to your site if you need assistance. A top manufacturer will also have a design staff member available to help you with the details.


Quality manufacturers design labs day in and day out. They will often think of details you aren’t even considering.


Red flags: If the manufacturer is slow to respond to inquiries or requests for assistance, it may indicate a lack of priority placed on customer service. A top manufacturer should also offer support and guidance throughout the entire design process. If you find yourself receiving limited support, it may be time to move on.



Manufacturing Lead Time



Time is always of the essence. How long you have to wait for your product could impact the completion time for your project.


Most lab casework is made to order, so you have to allow for the time it takes from the release of your order to production of your product. One area that customers don’t take into account is the shipment time. 


If you are purchasing from a company located overseas, your manufacturing lead time could be longer. Not only will you have to account for the time it takes to ship a product from the other side of the world, you’ll also have to consider factors that could extend that shipping time, from customs issues to other unforeseen logistical challenges.


If you are working on a tight deadline, it’s important to choose a manufacturer that can work with you on lead time that is right for your project.

Red flags: A major red flag is when a manufacturer provides you with vague or inconsistent lead time estimates. This could indicate a lack of reliability or organization in its production process. Another red flag is simply a lack of transparency regarding potential delays. Delays can happen for various reasons, but a trustworthy manufacturer will communicate openly about any potential delays and work to mitigate them.






Price is always a factor in deciding a manufacturer. In general, the old adage still holds true … you get what you pay for.  lab casework


This is particularly true when it comes to buying cheap imported products. You typically get products that are inferior quality, don’t stand the test of time and need to be replaced fairly quickly. In the long run, it ends up costing you more money.


On the other hand, if a manufacturer is charging an unreasonably high amount of money, then it is worth getting another quote to ensure you’re getting a fair price.


What kind of factors can impact price? The materials you use, customization options, the manufacturing location and shipping can all impact the price you are quoted. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the cost of a product isn’t necessarily the upfront cost. It’s important to consider what you will pay over the lifetime of the product, and inferior products can cost you a higher price tag in the long run.


Red flags: If a manufacturer’s quote seems too good to be true compared to competitors, it probably is. This could indicate that corners are being cut in terms of materials or production processes, resulting in inferior quality products. Another red flag is hidden fees or charges. Be wary of manufacturers that provide initial quotes but then add on unexpected fees or charges later in the process. 






From where a lab bench or other casework product is sent isn’t your only concern when it comes to shipping. 


Many companies are not aware of how important it is to ask how the manufacturer ships their product. More care is usually taken if the manufacturer is delivering their product using their own truck or a trucking company that they use all the time.


When a product is shipped into a different state or across country, common carriers are often used. If your order isn’t large enough to fill the entire truck, the trucking company will pick up products from other companies to make the trip financially feasible.


It is extremely important in these situations that the manufacturer packages a product so that it is protected on that truck. A manufacturer may agree to replace a damaged laboratory cabinet, but that process could impact the completion time of your lab.


Ask the manufacturer how it packages its products. Low price and short lead time won’t mean anything if you can’t get your lab up and running in the time frame you need it because a manufacturer didn’t protect your order.

Red flags: A reliance on unreliable carriers can mean bad news for you as the customer. That’s why it’s important to inquire about the carrier’s track record and reputation for reliability. Another red flag is limited insurance coverage during transport. If a manufacturer cannot provide information about its insurance coverage or offers inadequate coverage, it could leave you vulnerable to financial loss.






No two labs are alike. Depending on your design, standard size cabinets may not work, and depending on the applications performed in your laboratory, you may require a specialized lab countertop.


A quality manufacturer will have the technology and ability to manufacture custom products at a reasonable price. This includes custom sizes, paint colors, special materials and unique design features.


Does your manufacturing partner have the engineering capability to meet your custom requirements? It’s an important topic to discuss with your manufacturer before placing your order. Custom manufacturing allows companies to continue to produce large quantities of products, but they can manipulate their designs to produce a unique product for your specific project.


You will get the bonus of a unique custom product, but they are also able to benefit from a lower cost of production.


Our article, How To Customize An Industrial Workbench With Storage, offers some of the different ways you can personalize your casework to meet the needs of your workspace. 

Red flags: Limited flexibility in customization, a lack of engineering expertise and inadequate collaboration are all red flags to look for in a casework manufacturer. A top casework manufacturer should be able to offer you these solutions to ensure you get the product you want and need.



modular laboratory furniture

Topics: Laboratory, Laboratory Furniture

Albert Cappello

Written by Albert Cappello

Albert Cappello is the CEO of Workstation Industries, Inc. WSI is a manufacturer of Industrial, Technical and Laboratory Furniture based in Southern California.

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