Purchasing dispatch furniture is not an easy task, which is probably why it only happens every 10-15 years. There are a lot of steps and parties involved, from radio vendors to flooring teams, it’s not exactly like trip to IKEA!
When you’re about to request your purchase order, it’s tempting to let your foot off the gas pedal because it feels like you’ve done all the hard stuff. Many Comm Center Managers will agree, you’re only just getting your engines started.
Imagine buying a new car without going over all the paperwork and reviewing your checklist beforehand. Surprise! You ended up with the yellow car when you wanted the white one! So why would buying dispatch furniture be any different? This is exactly why you should talk to your sales representative about what to expect when it comes time to actually receiving the furniture.
Here are a few tips to prepare for your next dispatch furniture update and make it a success:
1) Is your equipment size and quantity correct?
Sometimes you need to get a quote fast from your furniture vendor, and unfortunately small details can get missed that can have a big impact on the completion of the project. Go through the drawing again and ask yourself, is the monitor quantity and sizes correct? Do we have enough or too much space for CPUs? Are the monitor extension cables types right?
The size of your workstation is dictated by the size of the equipment and how much equipment it will house. You wouldn't want to install your furniture and say “Oh no! My monitors are too big and hang over the edge of the table!” (not good!)
2) Are all the vendors on the same page and timeline?
Furniture is usually just one piece of the Comm Room update puzzle. Often times you’ll also be doing a radio upgrade, or CAD update, or adding new flooring or all of the above! Make sure to get lead times from everyone involved in the project as well as coordinate who comes in and in what order.
3) Do you have a hole location plan?
If you’re on a raised floor and plan to reconfigure your room (or change out the flooring) you’re going to need to make a hole location plan. Your IT and electrical team will need to make sure they have enough slack to run the necessary cables and get the power to all of your positions. If they don’t line up exactly with your CPU cabinets...well, that’s a nightmare we’d rather not think about.
4) Have you decided on a cut-over plan?
In a perfect world, no one would call 9-1-1 for the few days you’ll need to update your Comm Center room. Unfortunately this is the real world and you have to plan out how to keep 911 dispatch running while you do this makeover. Do you have an alternate site where you can move dispatch and keep the room empty? If not, have you talked about a phase plan to keep some desks running while you breakdown others? Don’t forget nitty-gritty details either. Where will you stage the furniture? Do you have dumpsters onsite for disposal? We weren’t kidding about how much planning is involved.
5) Have you verified dimensions?
Even though your architect could be DaVinci himself, the reality is, plans can change! Last minute stuff does happen. It never hurts to verify dimensions of a new space once studs and drywall are up. If you’re working with a tight space to begin with, one miss-measured foot could make or break your configuration. Before placing an order, most vendors will require sign-offs on drawings that ask you to verify room dimensions. If incorrectly measured, install problems can arise and this can incur additional costs. You know the old adage"measure twice and cut once"? Let's do it!
To summarize, it’s not a bad idea to sit down and work out all of these questions. You don’t want to be ill-prepared come the day of installation. Once your furniture is installed you’ll have it for quite a while, it’s worth the extra effort to do it right the first time!