As a busy lab manager or purchasing agent tasked with outfitting your new lab with a tight budget and a short timeline passing up the cheap option manufactured in places like Mexico and China can be a difficult pill to swallow.
However, there are valid reasons to purchase American made lab tables, workstations, fume hoods and benches. Here are a few for you to consider while outfitting your laboratory projects.
Products manufactured in America have long been associated with quality and excellent craftsmanship. When you purchase foreign products, you risk getting lower quality products that may not last as long and end up costing you more in the long run.
Many foreign manufacturers are set up to churn out product without regard to the quality of construction that we are used to here in the United States.
American manufactured products are known to be made according to higher standards. Depending on the furniture, you will often see laboratory furniture made to one or more of the following standards:
- ANSI - American National Standards Institute
- BIFMA - Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association
- SEFA - Scientific Equipment & Furniture Association
- UL - Underwriter's Laboratory
For products that require electrical assemblies, product safety is paramount. Companies that manufacture UL listed products agree to rigorous examination, testing, follow up surveillance of the manufacturing process and procedures and maintain compliance with nationally recognized safety standards.
This ensures that the both the assemblies and the components are held to exceptional safety standards. Studies performed by UL Labs estimates that well over 50% of imported products will not pass their safety standards without significant correction. From a UL Study:
“UL’s Field Evaluations - Deficiency Statistics Tell a Story Since 2006, UL has been collecting compliance information at the time we conduct evaluations of equipment in the field.
Of the more than 25,000 pieces of equipment evaluated as part of our Field Evaluation services, over 17,000 of these - or 63% - have been found to have deficiencies. These deficiencies include serious fire and shock hazards, as well as other issues, such as incorrect or missing markings or misapplied components.”
Why is this important to you?
If you manage a lab that houses expensive and sophisticated equipment, or works with combustible chemicals, do you really want to risk an electrical fire because your tables and workstations are manufactured with shoddy materials and faulty assemblies? Absolutely not.
Working with a United States manufacturer that holds itself accountable by maintaining standards set by UL and the Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association (SEFA) will minimize the risk presented by shoddy manufacturing standards.
Lead Times and Transit Risk
Picture this scenario, you place an order for your product and it finally comes in, however there are issues with your delivery. The color of your cabinets is wrong, the size is off and doesn’t fit with your available wall space or part of your shipment is lost in transit. Your initial order took 8 weeks to manufacture and deliver, now what?
Unfortunately, these are risks that you must accept when you work with an international manufacturer.
Shorter lead times are one of THE primary benefits of working with a domestic manufacturer of your lab furniture.
Your order is placed, your product is manufactured and then your order is delivered to your facility quickly when and where you need it.
Simply put, working with a domestic manufacturer eliminates international shipping from the equation. No containers, no ships, no extensive customs process, no delays due to a strike at the port. All of these issues add a degree of risk to your project. You won’t have to wait long time frames to get your furniture, which is especially helpful if you have any degree of customization, or if you are working with a tight deadline to get your project completed.
If there is an issue with your delivery a domestic manufacturer can turn your replacement parts around quickly or solve your problems to keep you on schedule. International manufacturers struggle with these types of issues, costing you precious time.
Access to Replacement Parts
Let’s face it, accidents happen in a busy lab environment. Doors get broken, sometimes busy lab technicians are in a hurry and are not careful when pulling out plugs from the socket. Things happen and sometimes your furniture needs replacement parts.
What happens if you break a runner on one of your drawers? Are there replacement parts readily available? What if you project was custom, is a foreign manufacturer going to quickly get your custom replacements to you?.
Maybe you can wait the 6-8 weeks to get your replacement parts, but at what cost? How would potential down time in your lab, employee aggravation and excess costs of shipment affect your productivity?
Working with a manufacturer based here eliminates much of that concern. Replacement parts are readily available and easily shipped to you for quick repairs.
Other Reasons To Buy American Made Products
Here are some other reasons to buy American:
- Jobs for Americans
- Boosts American Economy
- Promoting American Independence
- Guaranteed Fair Working Conditions
- Lower Carbon Footprint
A Good Business Decision
Settling for inferior products that are produced in factories that are set up with limited or no standards is not smart business. The front end costs of purchasing a foreign product may be cheaper, but the decision may end of costing your more in the long run.
Buying quality American manufactured products is good business. They provide you with high quality, good performance reliability and quick lead times.
When it comes to expensive laboratory build outs, you can’t afford the risk of inferior products or long lead times to get your product. From a quality and safety standpoint American made laboratory furniture are superior to cheaply manufactured imports. With hundreds of thousands or millions invested in your labs, why take the risk!
Image: Photo by Jeff Turner / CC BY