DistribuTECH is right around the corner. Are you building or updating a TOC or DOC with new command center consoles? What are some questions you need to be asking as you start the planning process? Or, if you are already in the process, what types of questions should you be asking now that can save you time, money and energy down the line?
Here are the questions you should be asking command center console suppliers:
EASY - Get a good feel for your supplier! These questions will help you get a good feel for the supplier, before diving into more complex questions and planning steps.
- Is that a console or a piece of furniture? Consoles are specifically designed to comply with the electrical needs of a computer, phone, radio--basically anything that sits on top of the desk.
- What are the color options? Examples are: warm wood tones, gray, black.
- How do I swap out a monitor? Make sure monitors should be easily swapped out or changed. With little disruption to the user. (With all the monitors in a DOC or TOC, you cannot have your operators not doing their job.)
- How do I replace a dead computer? Same as above. You’ll need to make sure a computer can easily be replaced with as little disruption to the user as possible.
- Where is the product manufactured? Knowing where the command center consoles are made can help determine the quality of the product as well as how accessible replacement parts and warranty needs will be handled.
Medium - Ask the Technical questions! This round of questions can be sued to determine if the product is something to realistically consider.
- Does that console come in multiple sizes? It’s imperative you know that the consoles will work with the space you have. Ask for designs from previous projects that they can show you. It is especially true that one size doesn’t fit all. Make sure your command center consoles come in various shapes and sizes.
- Can you fit it into our weird shaped room? Don’t settle for the quick “yes.” Get proof from previous projects. Now’s your chance to see the product in vivid detail, and a reputable supplier should be more than happy to accommodate your design needs to ensure it will work within the layout of your DOC or TOC.
- How do you keep the computers cool? Keeping computers operating at an ideal temperature is vital to prolonging their lifespan, and a quality console should have an effective cooling feature built in. Look for either passive heat extraction (lots of holes) or a fan (make sure it is quiet).
- Can I try it out? Sit at the console, stretch your legs out and make sure your toes don’t hit anything and that you have ample knee space (turn from side to side without bumping your knees). (Remember to consider any tall operators at your center as well.)
- Who designs the room layout? Find out if they design it in-house or if they ship it out to a design mill; in-house manufacturers often can accommodate custom needs (design, size, color, etc.) much easier than mills.
Hard -The advanced questions! Put the supplier to the true test with these advanced scenarios.
- Can you show me that you meet the five ergonomic standards from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society? These are the factors noted as contributing to comfort and productivity in the workplace, so if they do not know what you are talking about, that should be a big hint that the console is not designed with the user in mind.
- If I sit here, what will happen? Don’t just ask them; do it! Sit on the edge, sit on the top, etc. You know your night shift is going to do it, so make sure the material is sturdy and can handle it.
- What happens if a lift leg breaks? The lift columns are the heart of the console and provide the height adjustability. If they do break, find out how long it takes to swap one out.
- How do you manufacture that? The vendor should be able to talk about how the components are built, what material is used, etc., and knowing this information will help you properly assess the structure and durability.
- What about your warranty? What happens if I scratch that paint / tear the fabric / break the door? These inevitable occurrences do happen, so find out what, if any, repairs are covered by warranty. And while a quality piece of console should be made out of durable material you don’t want to be left out-to-dry should something happen.
- What are your lead times for new command center consoles? Find out how long it will take for you, once you’ve placed your order, to start enjoying your new consoles!
While there are many details to take into consideration when purchasing new consoles for a DOC or TOC, we hope you’ve found these questions a helpful starting point. DistribuTECH will be a great opportunity for the hands-on feel you’ll need to make a decision. You’ll be able to talk to the supplier’s face-to-face and give everything a test drive. And if you want, stop by the Xybix booth, Space 621 - across from the Delegate lunch space...well, you gotta eat!