How do you optimally invest in your office furniture during the life cycle of your organisation? And how do you deal with maintenance and replacement? That is the challenge that the facility manager in an organisation faces as operational, and the CFO and controller tactically and strategically. A number of choices are important to consider, to provide a good answer to these challenges.
Office inventory, buy or lease?
First, the choice between purchase and lease. As an organisation, do I choose to purchase the furniture so that maintenance and replacement come under my own management? Or do I opt for leasing furniture, where I do not buy a product, but buy a service and with that outsource responsibility for maintenance and replacement?
Short or long lease
And after that, my stress as a result of too many choices is not yet dealt with completely, because if I opt for a lease, I am again faced with the choice: short lease or long lease. The first is more flexible and therefore more expensive, the second cheaper. Facility managers, who have been fleet managers within an organisation in a ‘previous professional life’, will remember that they once made the same considerations in regard to cars.
Whether you choose to buy or lease the office inventory, in both cases, it is all about the moment of replacement. An important consideration is the state of maintenance of the furniture. Is it new, as good as new, slightly damaged, badly damaged or unusable? Each condition has a different replacement time.
And not only that but there are also several choices for maintenance:
- Reactive: replace a piece of furniture when it is broken.
- Planned / preventive: replace a piece of furniture at a specified time and before it breaks.
- Condition-based: replace a piece of furniture when the condition of a piece of furniture demands it.
- Just-in-time: the optimal strategy, combining the best of the first three.
A CFO / controller who has to make strategic decisions about the above choices ideally needs a dashboard with useful data, existing of:
- A full list of all furniture, including the moment of purchase
- An overview of usage
- A summary of the condition
Only then will he be able to choose which investment delivers the optimum return for his organisation.