The Best Value vs. Lowest Price: A Deep Dive into Dispatch, Healthcare, and Utilities Desks

Posted by Doug Herman on May 22, 2024 7:33:42 AM



Building or remodeling the space for the lifeblood of an organization is a serious investment in material goods and services along with employee health and morale. Critical functions take place around the clock at 911 dispatch centers, radiology imaging rooms, telemetry labs, utilities and transportation control centers, and the like. The professionals who work there need spaces and desks designed for their specialized equipment and 24/7 operations.

Creating spaces for critical operations is not cheap, so the key is to focus on long-term value over lowest price. Evaluate the project costs from a wholistic standpoint that considers products, services, and installation—because it all needs to work together. Read on for details.

High-Quality Products

Sit-to-stand desks are the norm in 24/7 operations with long shifts and critical work. But these desks vary significantly in quality, construction, design, and features. For a space that meets equipment needs and enhances employee health and morale, look for the features listed below. (Tip: Don’t just look for the features on the RFP response—get receipts in the form of third-party certifications. Lower-priced desks may claim to be “ergonomic” without actually meeting the government standards, for example.)

  • Quality Construction: The No. 1 thing you want in a sit-to-stand desk is a guarantee that it doesn’t wobble under use and won’t tip over under weight. Look for proof of third-party testing of structural integrity and durability by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA). The BIFMA certification also ensures long-lasting doors, drawers, and structural design.
  • Healthy: The height-adjustable range, shape of the desk, dual surfaces, and edges all contribute to an ergonomic environment that can help prevent musculoskeletal issues and improve productivity. Look for proof that the desk meets or exceeds the ANSI/HFES100-2007 ergonomic requirements.
  • Safe: The raw materials in desks and panel systems need to be safe in terms of off-gassing, fire retardant, and sound absorption. Look for certifications from Greenguard (air quality testing), Underwriters Laboratories (fire safety), Canadian Standards Association (electrical safety), and the American Society for Testing Materials (sound absorption and fire safety). In addition, confirm that the desktop material, such as 3D laminate, is easy to clean without harsh chemicals.
  • Functional: Providing ample desktop space, ability to handle multiple monitors, and expert cable management is essential to critical operations with specialized equipment. To ensure this, a salesperson and designer should partner closely with you when selecting the desk—including measuring the equipment, analyzing a typical user’s desk organization, and possibly providing a mockup. Given how rapidly technology evolves, also consider whether the desk will meet future needs, such as more monitors.
  • Cool: You want desks that look cool but not trendy as they tend to be in use for 10 to 20 years. Look for more timeless designs and colors. Desk manufacturers offer many cool options that are not necessary but frequently pay off in morale and productivity. Consider the availability of personal climate controls and lighting, charging stations, cupholders, and even under-desk treadmills and stationary bikes. For height-adjustable desks, the ability to save settings allows each user to quickly raise or lower the desk to his or her proper ergonomic height.

Evaluating desks, panels, and other products in terms of their construction, health and safety, functionality, and cool factors leads to selections that favor long-term value.

Specialized Service

The equipment, workflow, and communications are highly specialized in 24/7 environments such as dispatch and healthcare. The services a manufacturer provides—and the people who provide those services—need to be specialized as well. Here’s what to look for in service when evaluating estimates for a new build or remodel.

  • People: The salespeople, designers, and engineers you work with should understand your field, whether it’s energy, transportation, security, dispatch, or radiology. This allows them to help you select the right desks, add panels, control sound, and layout the room in a way that works for your organization. Request employee bios in your RFP, read them, and maybe check their LinkedIn profiles as well.
  • Design: Look for complementary services from an experienced interior designer to align the furniture purchase. A dedicated designer helps meet requirements, including fitting the desks in the room and complying with ADA, fire, and electrical codes. Plus, the designer’s experience can really come into play for creating a specific look and feel with the layout and color selections, adding morale-boosting features such as coffee stations or fish tanks, and enhancing communications with thoughtful desk placement.
  • Warranty: The warranty must show the manufacturer’s confidence that the products are made to function in a 24/7 environment and last for years to come. Review the warranty carefully to see how long the manufacturer guarantees parts they manufacture vs. parts from third parties, whether they charge for labor and shipping, and what you can expect in terms of service.
  • Customer Service: 24/7 operations need 24/7 support options and responsive service so they can get back to providing critical care as quickly as possible. Find out what the manufacturer offers—then test the options and ask other customers about their experiences.

Specialized services such as these don’t necessarily cost more, but they do ensure more long-term value.

Seamless Installation

The experience of the project manager and installers is the final factor to consider when evaluating manufacturers. An experienced project manager accounts for everything, from scheduling with manufacturing and the customer, to fitting the equipment in the elevator, to managing contractors on site, to training the end users on the installed desks. Ask for examples of Gant charts or other installation plans, and ask them to describe experiences with new builds, phased-in installations, and live cutovers.

Value Drives the “Best” Price

Blending quality products with expert service and installation is key to creating long-lasting value. The cost of the desks may seem high, but if you annualize it over 15 years, the yearly cost becomes reasonable. (To determine the annual cost, divide the entire cost of the project by 15.) If you make a decision on price alone, you could end up with a poorly built product, inadequate design, or misaligned installation. Those factors can lead to a workspace that simply doesn’t last and needs to be replaced in 5 to 7 years. When you compare the annual costs of a project, the higher-quality, more expensive product is generally the better financial choice. As you review RFPs and prices, keep in mind that value drives the best price.

When the time comes to calculate your project’s value vs. price, Xybix is here to help!

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Topics: Installation Information, Healthcare, Pricing, Dispatch, Command Centers, Xybix vs. Competitors