Should You Buy Laboratory Furniture From India Or China?

Apr 29, 2020 11:00:00 AM / by Albert Cappello

When purchasing laboratory furniture, it can be tempting to look for the cheapest price, especially when on a tight budget. 

However, the cheapest prices doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best value. In fact, when it comes to lab furniture, the cheapest options that are manufactured in places like India or China can be more expensive choices in the long run.

Ensuring that the industrial furniture you purchase is responsibly manufactured, durable, cost-effective and safe are important considerations when evaluating your options.

Here are just a few of the reasons why you should avoid lab furniture made in countries like India and China, and why buying from American companies provides more benefits for your company in the long term.


Quality And Safety


lab furniture indiaWhen ordering lab furniture from companies located outside of the United States, inferior parts and glue can be significant concerns. Poor glue process control and inferior parts can lead to quality problems, and that can be costly in the long-term when products do not hold up to the conditions often found in laboratories.

American-made furniture, on the other hand, is often constructed to meet third-party quality and safety standards. Many manufacturers seek third-party certifications to guarantee their products have been evaluated by an independent organization and meet all safety and quality standards. 

For example, a popular and highly sought-after third-party certification is Underwriters Laboratory (UL). UL is a well-known organization that helps companies demonstrate safety, compliance, sustainability, transparency, quality and performance. 

When a product is UL-certified, it has been guaranteed that the product is safe for your specific environment based on specific testing and standards upheld by UL.


Shipping Issues And Times


Time is money, and shipping problems can, at best, create a headache for your company. At worst, it can mean potential costly disruptions to your operation. 

Sourcing your lab furniture with a foreign manufacturer can mean extensive shipping times, and therefore add significant time delays on completing your laboratory project.

There are also several risk factors that could impact how quickly you receive your product:

  • Potential disruptions to the supply chain, caused by political instability, global pandemics, terrorism, natural disasters and changes to trade policies
  • Labor issues when shutdowns or slowdowns occur at ports due to labor disagreements or strikes, causing your products to sit at the docks
  • Communication delays due to time zone or language differences, which can impact the quantity, contract negotiations or shipping expectations

With longer shipping distances, your product may be at a greater risk for damage as well. For example, when receiving a product from overseas, the journey that product takes to the United States may look like this:

  • Loading of the product onto ground transportation
  • Transport to a shipping company
  • Loading of the product into shipping containers
  • Loading of that container onto a shipping vessel
  • Transport at sea
  • Unloading of the container at the port
  • Unloading of the product from the container
  • Loading of the product onto ground transportation
  • Transportation to your site
  • Unloading of the product at your site

When taking a look at what domestic handling might look like, the journey is much shorter:

  • Loading of the product onto ground transportation
  • Transport to your site
  • Unloading of the product at your site

If damage occurs to your product during shipping, you may have to repeat the same process in order to get a new product. If shipping internationally, that second journey can add even more time to shipping.


Problems With Repairs


lab furniture indiaAny time a repair is warranted, dealing with a manufacturer located in another country can produce numerous issues.

Language barriers and extensive shipping times can get in the way of receiving a replacement part. And, for some parts, getting them quickly is the difference between business as usual and a long, costly shutdown of your lab. 

Working with a U.S.-based manufacturer eliminates many of those concerns. Replacements are more readily available and can be quickly shipped to you for repairs.

Purchasing an American-made product also improves the likelihood you’re getting a higher-quality product and will not require continuous repairs. If repairs are extensive enough, it may warrant the purchase of an entirely new product. 


Potential Tariffs


While lab managers may choose laboratory furniture manufactured overseas in an effort to save on costs, potential tariffs may increase prices on foreign goods … narrowing the cost gap between domestic and foreign products.

Although the current administration has looked into substantial tariffs on imports, the truth is that foreign policy and how it relates to product imports is often unpredictable. The global economy will be on the rebound for years, and in order to revitalize the American economy, it is possible we will see an increase in tariffs from goods manufactured abroad.


Short Term Vs. Long Term


Although we live in a global economy, there is a push to buy products manufactured in the United States to help boost the economy. After all, supporting American businesses means supporting American employees and the communities where companies do their business.

However, working with a U.S. lab furniture manufacturer has many long-term benefits for a company as well. 

Shorter lead times and faster shipping times mean a laboratory’s downtimes are likely reduced. A need for replacement parts can typically be filled more quickly, and companies can expect a much greater quality of product due to third-party certifications. 

These benefits are more cost-effective in the long-term, allowing you to feel confident with the furniture you incorporate into your workspace and the peace of mind needed to move forward with your laboratory’s mission.

modular laboratory furniture

Topics: 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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