When Should I start looking for new 911 Dispatch Console Furniture?
This is a loaded and tricky question for most people! And, with the ever-changing world of dispatch furniture products, starting your search for new 911 dispatch console furniture can often lead to “a kid in the candy shop” mentality, which can lead to wishful thinking and ultimately, frustration about your current situation. This blog will walk you through the initial purchasing steps, typical time lines and processes before, during and after you start your search for new 911 dispatch console furniture.
When thinking about dispatch furniture, here are some simple questions to ask yourself when thinking about the next 2 years of your comm center:
- Are you making any significant updates in the next 2 years? ( radios, CAD, phone)
This is the perfect time to update/change/add furniture as well! You’ll only need to install new equipment once!
- Are you combining with another comm center within the next 2 years?
Chances are you will be growing or moving into a new space.
- Are you outgrowing your current space? Is your call volume too much for your dispatchers to handle?
A possible solution might be a new space or adding more dispatch positions.
- Is a new building planned within the next 2 years? (Or 4?)
Many Comm Centers buy new furniture at this time because the old furniture no longer fits the current space or it no longer suits the specific needs of the new center.
- Are you coming into some grant money within the next 2 years?
Even if you are only currently planning on updating one thing, oftentimes, updating several items at once is a money-saver!
- Are your dispatchers complaining about their necks, backs, carpel tunnel or overall well-being?
It might be time for an update with some ergonomically correct furniture!
- And lastly, is your current furniture:
A. So old that it would take a miracle to fix?
B. Is it something that looks like it came out of the ice age?
C. Does it no longer support your day-to-day needs? (Do you want to take a baseball bat to it? Think…Office Space)
No need to explain this one (But, it might be time for some new dispatch furniture)
If you can relate to several or any of the above, don’t hesitate, you can start looking at dispatch furniture!
Some of you will take this permission and run with it. Others of you will need a little more information. Not to worry! I will break it down for you!
Why 2 years? Dispatch furniture, as a general rule, is custom. Every project is different not just the shape and size of the room, but also in terms of equipment, storage needs and general work flow. Since the furniture is custom, it would make sense that you need a custom design, and to start a custom design, you’ll need to meet with your friendly furniture sales rep to go over your needs, wants, and dreams! (They will probably also need to measure the room or will want to speak with your architect).
So, you might ask yourself: why can’t you do all this in three months? Well, miracles do happen, but wouldn’t you prefer that you have enough time that you don’t feel rushed and (this is key) that you don’t make any mistakes?
Here is a typical breakdown of the furniture-buying process. Please note: these are suggested time allowances and time can vary based on the project and circumstances.
- Initial Meeting (Time = 1 week to 1 month) Set up an initial sales meeting go over your needs, wants and dreams. (You may want to meet with several different vendors. Remember, due diligence is a wonderful thing!)
- Custom Interior Design Process (Time = 3 weeks to 2 years)
- Have a new space? The architect may not be finished with the initial design. Professional furniture Designers can give helpful input on the square footage needed for your space.
- Existing space or designs are already finalized? (Time = anywhere from a month to 1 year) Skip to Preliminary Custom Design.
- Preliminary Custom Design (Time = 2 weeks from date of first site visit)
- Design Revisions (Time = 3 weeks up to 1 year) This can be a lengthy process, with input from anyone or everyone involved. This ensures that the furniture selected will work for you and your equipment. Sometimes a Designer will have drafted exactly what you are looking for on the first time. Generally speaking, there will be changes and revisions.
- Procurement (Time = 1 week to 6 months) Are you going out to bid or can you purchase off of a contract? Buying off of a contract or sole sourcing can save a ton of time, but may not be for everyone!
- Finish Selection (Time = 1 week to 1 month) Colors should be the easy part! Sometimes they are and sometimes they are not.
- PO and Sign Off’s (Time = 1 week to 1 month) This is mostly dependent on purchasing.
- Production (Time = 8 weeks+) Most furniture manufacturers have an specific lead time to process the order through completion and install. (please check with your specific manufacturer for details)
- Installation (Time = 2 days to 4 weeks) This is dependent on the size of your project. Most companies can install around 2 complete workstations/consoles a day.
Are you still asking why 2 years? There are always exceptions to this rule. Sometimes jobs can be started and finished within 4 months and sometimes, they can take 4 years or longer. (Typically, these are new buildings/spaces) Planning for an existing space or remodel will take less time than planning for a new building.
If you know you are planning a new space that is 4 years out -- call! The sooner you start planning your project, the better prepared you will be! Every project is different, every time line is different. Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of time needed to successfully plan and implement your new furniture system.