Choosing the right workstation manufacturer to provide you with this important piece of workspace equipment is just as important as the furniture itself.
It’s the first major decision you will need to make when shopping for a workstation, and it’s arguably the most important one.
That’s because who you select directly impacts the quality of the product you receive, what customer service experience you receive, when you receive your order and how your company’s needs are addressed.
When buying a workstation for your laboratory or manufacturing space, here is what you should look for in a manufacturer to ensure your purchase goes as seamless as possible.
Experience In Your Industry
Every company has its own set of challenges and needs that must be addressed with the purchase of a workstation.
High school laboratories may have different requirements than highly specialized laboratories, such as a coronavirus test lab or a pharmaceutical lab. A dental lab bench is going to have different requirements than a ESD workbench. Manufacturers may design production workstations differently based on what is being packaged or assembled.
Working with a manufacturer that has experience in your particular industry can help offer reassurance that the company knows what your business needs to help maintain efficient workflow and any safety requirements that you must follow.
When designing a workstation, you’re going to be faced with a lot of choices. Working with a manufacturer that offers an extensive list of customization opportunities will help to ensure you receive the workstation you want and need.
Companies that DON’T offer customization opportunities typically have cookie-cutter processes in place where workstations are mass produced. If you have any specific needs or requirements that your workspace must meet, it’s best to work with a manufacturer that can guarantee the final product will meet these needs.
So what delete can be customized? Your choices typically begin with the countertop and storage options, but also include colors, finishes and load capacity.
Why are these important? Every piece of your workstation must be able to withstand the conditions present in your lab or manufacturing space.
For example, the countertop material you choose is an important consideration that is often dependent on the conditions of your lab. Materials like phenolic resin and epoxy resin are found in environments where harsh conditions, such as bacteria and chemicals, exist.
On the other hand, solid surface countertops are non-porous, making them a great choice for environments where high moisture and water exists.
Our article, Top 5 Materials To Consider For Your Lab Countertops, breaks down some of the most common lab countertops found in workspaces today.
Other customizations you’ll want to consider include:
- Weight load capacity
- Workbench construction
- Utility options including access to electrical panels
- Organizational tools like bin rails and shelving
However, some of your decisions may also reflect your company’s preferences and style. Customizations like the edging and color of your countertops can reflect the feel of a workspace and match your branding.
Although some manufacturers may consider this a customization, it’s important to work with a manufacturer that considers ergonomics a priority in the furniture it designs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that sprains, strains and tears collectively are the leading type of injury in manufacturing. While at first glance these seem like minor injuries, they can still impact time on the job, worker efficiency and overall productivity.
How a workstation is designed can prevent the likelihood of these injuries occurring. Ergonomically-designed pieces of furniture, from the workstation itself to the chair the employee sits in, focus on keeping the body in its natural position. After all, when employees must continuously bend, twist and turn, they are more prone to painful injuries.
These injuries can have a ripple effect. Consider this scenario:
A worker suffers a lower back injury when stretching for a piece of equipment at his workstation. He schedules an appointment with a doctor, who advises physical therapy sessions. The worker must now take time off from work to attend these sessions. If the injury is severe enough, the doctor may need to clear the employee before returning to work. In the most severe cases, surgery may be required. Now you’re left not only facing a worker’s compensation claim, but working with an employee down, having other employees work overtime or replacing that worker with a more inexperienced temporary employee who likely isn’t as efficient and productive.
Design features of your workstation can have a significant impact on preventing this scenario from happening. For example, ergonomically adjustable hydraulic benches allow workers to choose whether they want to sit down or stand up at the bench simply by using a manual, hand crank or electric control.
Industrial chairs that are ergonomically supportive feature sturdy frames, adjustable heights and comfortable backrests and seats.
Manufacturers can even design the placement of drawers and utility features so that employees do not have to extend in an unnatural position to reach them … ensuring that the health of your employees is prioritized.
Reliable Lead Time And Delivery
The time it takes to design your workstation project and deliver it to you are two important considerations when evaluating workstation manufacturers.
The most important aspect of this is honesty. If you are working on a tight deadline, it’s critical to work with a manufacturer that is upfront with you on how long it will take to receive your workstation. With many companies experiencing shipping delays due to supply chain issues, the accuracy of this information is more important than ever.
One item to watch for as well when determining the quality of the manufacturer is how the company ships its product. When a product is shipped to a different state or across the 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 important to ask the manufacturer how it packages its products so that they are protected on that truck. Even if a manufacturer will replace a damaged workstation, it will still impact the completion time of your work area.
Great Customer Service
Finally, the customer service you receive from the moment you make contact with a manufacturer is an important sign of what it will be like to work with that workstation manufacturer.
While some customers prefer to simply send their workstation specifications to the manufacturer for a quote, others may need higher levels of customer service if the workstation is just one part of a lab or manufacturing space redesign.
The best manufacturers will think of details you aren’t even considering, including how your workstation will complement and fit in with the objective of your entire workspace. A manufacturing representative will answer your questions from the beginning, work hand-in-hand with you to design the best workstation for your space and ensure the final product meets each and every requirement of your company.