Office Cupboards Buying GuideContents

Introduction

Why choose office cupboards

Workplace organisation – the 5S methodology

Questions to ask before shopping for office cupboards

Choosing an office cupboard

Types of office cupboards

Implementing an office filing system

General best practices when buying office cupboards

Further information

 

 

 

Introduction

The humble office cupboard is often an afterthought when it comes to selecting workplace furniture. However, the right cupboards can look great and can help reduce inefficiency in your organisational practices.

There are countless styles, materials and colours of cupboards available nowadays, and selecting the right one can seem bewildering at first; that’s why we’ve created this buying guide to help you. By following this guide, you’ll not only get a handle on what’s available but also how to narrow down your choices; and you might just get some helpful organisational tips too!

We’ll start by explaining a little about why the office cupboard is such an important feature of the workplace and why it makes sense to choose the right one. We’ll also give you a useful section on a workplace organisational methodology that’s been imported from Japan and is being implemented by increasing numbers of companies worldwide; the 5S method.

Then we’ll get to the bulk of the guide; we’ll give you a list of questions to ask before buying which will help you to get an idea of your specific requirements, then we’ll give you some help with choosing the right cupboard, as well as some tips on maintenance once it’s arrived.

We’ll also break down the vast range of office cupboards available, taking you through the various great ranges we stock at Equip4Work, explaining the benefits of each kind. Once you have your chosen cupboards in place, you might want to look at implementing a new filing system, so we give you some tips on that too.

When you’re making capital purchases for the business it pays to make sure you’re protected, especially when you’re buying online; that’s why we’ll also give the low-down on how to make sure you choose a reputable, legitimate supplier and how to make sure you’re getting value for money.

There might be a lot of choice out there, but by following this buying guide we’ll help you to work out your needs, narrow down your choices and get the best product at the best price.

 

Why choose office cupboards

Office cupboards are ubiquitous in the workplace, but do we really spend much time thinking about them?

They’re often an afterthought when we move into new premises and start the process of decorating and ordering furniture. We spend time and money selecting stylish desks and ergonomic chairs, but when it comes to cupboards, they often get short shrift. It can often be seen as an area to cut costs; after all, one cupboard is much the same as the rest, isn’t it?

However, that’s not actually the case. The humble cupboard does a significant amount of heavy lifting (pun intended!) in terms of office organisation. It is not designed to safely and securely store your paperwork and equipment but, used properly, can also help you to become more efficient.

There’s a huge variety of cupboard styles available, which we’ll breakdown later on, but it’s worth thinking about what the cupboard does for the office. Choosing the right cupboard can add to your overall décor by injecting a bit of colour or by supplementing the clean lines you’ve chosen elsewhere; it can be disappointing to see a modern office kitted out in the latest desks and chairs only to spot a sad, dusty metal cupboard that looks like it’s been sitting there since the 1970s.

Not only that, but the quality and durability of the cupboard can affect efficiency and productivity. If your cupboard contains too many files and the shelves are sagging under the weight, it’s not just a potential health and safety hazard; over time you could find that files go missing as they slip through the gap created where the shelf dips, landing on a shelf below in an organisational area they no longer belong in.

Multiply that one event by many similar occasions over the years and you have an organisational system that is slowly succumbing to chaos. Robust, well-designed cupboards can help you to keep everything where it needs to be. Cleverly chosen colour combinations can help you to colour code filing systems making items retrievable at a glance.

Of course, there are also other needs for cupboards. If you’re storing cleaning products or janitorial supplies, for example, the budget wood veneer cupboard just won’t cut it. Spills will cause stains, with potential health and safety issues, and there will also be increased disorganisation. In such cases, it’s better to purchase cupboards that have been designed for purpose; heavier duty units that are colour coded, have perforated doors or have organisational additions in the interior to help you sort items more easily.

 

 

 

Workplace organisation – the 5S methodology

Organising your workplace can seem like a never-ending uphill struggle; you just get in top of things when something else starts to slip. Part of the problem is that many companies lack a satisfactory underlying structure for their workplace organisation. Without that, all you’re ever doing is spinning plates.

However, the 5S methodology that has come to us from Japan could be the answer to your problems. We’ll warn you in advance; this methodology isn’t a quick fix. Instead, you’ll need to rebuild your organisational structure from scratch. However, the benefits in the long run far outweigh any expenditure of time upfront. Read on to find out how 5S could be the answer to your organisational woes.

5S was developed in Japan, although certain principles related to it have been used in both Eastern and Western companies prior to its introduction. The system is based on the use of 5 Japanese words which have been transliterated into Roman script. They are: seiri/sort, seiton/set in order, seiso/shine, seiketsu/standardise and shitsuke/sustain. Some companies add a 6th ‘s’, ‘safety’, to their systems.

The 5S’s

Seiri (Sort)

This stage involves sorting everything in the workplace into some kind of order that is mainly focused on the practical use of items. When everything is sorted, order is achieved, which makes the sustainability of the whole system much easier. There are some key elements outlined in the sorting approach:

  • Eliminate obstacles to make work easier
  • Remove unnecessary items that can lead to distraction
  • Prevent the accumulation of those unnecessary items in the future
  • Evaluation of necessary items for value, cost and other factors
  • Remove all items or tools that are not in use
  • Segregate useless material from the workplace
  • Define red-tag areas; these contain unwanted items that can’t be immediately disposed of
  • A competent supervisor should check sorting regularly
  • Waste should be removed
  • The work floor should be cleared of everything that isn’t in current use

Making these adjustments leads to a work floor that only contains relevant and useful materials, with a system in place for segregation and disposal of unnecessary items.

Seiton (Set in Order)

The main organisational stage that can be achieved when there is a proper prioritising of items and waste management:

  • Arrange items that are regularly used in such a way that they can be easily retrieved when needed
  • Arrange work stations in such a way that priority items are also nearby
  • Work on a FIFO (First in first out) basis
  • Make workflows smooth and easy
  • Do all of these steps regularly

Seiso (Shine)

The stage involving upkeep and general cleanliness:

  • Clean workstations and the entire workplace daily or with a set frequency
  • Inspect while you cleaning, using the time to make necessary adjustments to the system
  • Maintain, repair and replace equipment as needed
  • Keep the workplace safe and easy to work in
  • Keep the working environment clean and pleasant to work in
  • Visitors not familiar with the environment should be able to spot problems in the system within 50 feet in 5 seconds

Seiketsu (Standardise)

  • Standardise best practice on the work floor
  • Maintain high organisational standards at all times
  • Ensure that everything is where it should be
  • Keep processes to their own standards for inspection
  • Standardise a system of colour coding for items that are regularly used
  • Make sure all staff know the processes that relate to their specific jobs

Shitsuke (Sustain)

  • Processes should not be harmful to anyone
  • Includes the principle that employees should be able to manage the system without being told to
  • Regular audits should be performed
  • Ongoing training and discipline is a key part of sustaining the system
  • Training should be goal-oriented, with monthly feedback
  • Employees should be encouraged to develop self-discipline
  • Order should always be maintained
  • Defined standards should be understood and implemented; if not, either training and discipline is required, or adjustment of the process
  • Processes should be followed, but room should be allowed for ongoing improvement

While 5S was initially developed in the manufacturing industry, it’s easy to see from the steps above how the process can be implemented across almost any workplace. It is now being adapted for use in healthcare, education and government.

However, by carrying out a full audit of your current processes and organisational systems, you should be able to see how the 5S process is a solid framework that encourages efficient organisation with built in management and sustainability.

Bringing employees on board is key to developing and implementing the 5S model successfully; such wide-ranging changes will be difficult to adapt to without employee buy-in and a sense of ownership. It should also be pointed out that if the model is implemented successfully, there is a large degree of built-in autonomy involved. As Daniel H. Pink outlines in his book ‘Drive’, increasing amounts of research shows that humans are driven more by intrinsic factors of mastery, purpose and, importantly, autonomy, than they are by extrinsic factors of reward and punishment.

While training and discipline are both key to ensuring that 5S is completely implemented and sustained, it’s telling that self-disciple and “doing without being told” are also key factors; in the modern workplace, employees increasingly want to be treated as independent, autonomous beings.

Get their buy-in by explaining that full and successful implementation of 5S should free them of the need to be constantly micro-managed and that, if they carry it out correctly, they should also see a boost to their own performance and productivity.

That’s great news for the company overall, too. Inefficiency and poor organisation leads to stagnating levels of productivity and, thus, profits. Take as an example: an employee’s job involves fetching a file, processing it, recording it and putting it back, before selecting another one. To do this, they have to walk across to the other end of the work floor, look through thousands of files, which are in order, but the volume of files means this takes some time. Then they walk back. They sit down and start processing the file. They have to click in and out of several different programs, print things off, wait for them to be sent to the printer, go to the printer, which is half as far away as the files, then come back, sort them into order, complete the file and return to the filing cabinets at the other end of the work floor, where they put that file back and select another one.

It should be easy to see from that one long paragraph what proportion of those tasks involves actual work, and what proportion is organisational. From this one short example, there are several ways in which this could be improved. For example, if each employee was assigned a certain section of files to work on and they were able to select all the files they need for the day when they arrive to work, they would save time walking back and forward to the filing cabinets. If they have pre-printed version of all the forms they needed, or if they had a small printer on their desk, they could save even more time.

Scale this up and you can see how implementing an entirely new method of organisation, where each task and item used is assess for efficiency, could add up across the workforce to massive productivity gains.

Not only that, but the efficiency involved would also reduce a large amount of stress and frustration, leading to a calmer, more harmonious workplace environment.

There are training courses available as well as websites outlining the details of 5S and how to implement it. If your workplace currently lacks a well-functioning organisational structure, we’d highly recommend taking a closer look at 5S might benefit you.

 

Questions to ask before shopping for office cupboards

Before you make any decisions on an office cupboard, you need to know what your requirements are first. This will not only help you to narrow down your choices but also help to ensure you get the absolute best products for your needs.

Work your way through the following questions, jotting down your answers as you go, and you’ll build up a list of requirements that will help when you come to start browsing products.

How much space do you have?

The first thing you need to do is ascertain how much space you have for your cupboard. Measure the space appropriately, ensuring that you include enough room for employees to load items into the cupboard and retrieve them. Measure the ideal footprint (width and depth) and also the height, ensuring that you take into consideration how people will access higher shelves if you choose a taller style of cupboard.

What will you be storing?

The type of cupboard you choose will be partly governed by the types of items you plan to store in there. If you’re storing paperwork or lever files, for instance, you can go with a fairly lightweight cupboard. However, if you plan on storing heavy items, you’ll need a heavy-duty storage unit. At this point you should also try to work out how many of each item you plan to store. This will govern the number of shelves required and the weight duty of each.

What kind of material do you need?

Solid wood is perhaps the most sought-after material for office furniture, but it has its downsides. While it very attractive, it is also more expensive and needs a lot of care. Even with regular maintenance wood will wear over time, although this can be attractive in itself, but without it, nicks and stains will grow. Real wood can also warp with both weight and heat.

Metal is durable but it is also heavy and can look utilitarian and had largely fallen out of favour except for industrial storage, where security is a higher concern and in some modern offices where the décor has a utilitarian slant. However, there are some new steel cupboard designs that are incredibly modern and attractive, including semi-translucent tambour doors in a variety of bright colours.

Metal carcasses can also be selected in a variety of colours now thanks to advanced powder coating techniques, so there’s no longer any need for metal to equate to “no-frills”.

For many though, the best compromise of price, quality and durability remains veneers, either MDF with substrate with a wood veneer, or MFC (Melamine Faced Chipboard).

Does it need to be secured?

If you will be storing expensive items or confidential documentation, you should consider one of the many lockable office cupboards available. These come in varying degrees of security with central locking systems, and are usually supplied with two keys, so you always have a spare.

How many shelves?

When you were considering your dimensions, we looked at thinking about how many items of each kind you’ll need to store in the cupboards. This will determine how many shelves you need. It’s important to think about this in advance; some cupboards have adjustable shelves that will allow to add or reduce the number of shelves as you need to, while others have fixed shelves and when the cupboard is full up you won’t have the option to add more.

Choosing an office cupboard

Planning

It’s a good idea to plan ahead for your cupboards. The easiest way to do this is to create a diagram; you can either do this by hand or using a CAD programme (or talk to our Sales Team about our CAD service if you need help with your planning). Either way, take the required measurements of the space and draw out a diagram of how you expect the cupboard(s) to fit.

This will let you know how much space the cupboard will take up, as well as how much space there is around it to allow for access. If your cupboards will be situated near to desks and chairs, make sure you allow around three feet of space around chairs so that employees can comfortably move away from their desks.

Once you have all your measurements on the plan, it’s a matter of selecting a cupboard whose specifications match. Try to get the biggest possible cupboard you can for the space as it’s highly likely that you’ll need more space as the business grows. However, don’t buy a cupboard that’s too big either; there are health and safety considerations as well as merely space issues.

If you’re buying your cupboards flat-packed make sure there is enough space in the room to build the cupboard in situ. If the cupboards will be delivered assembled, ensure that there will be enough space to get the unit through the door frames and corridors of the office, paying particular attention to corner turns.

Budget

Before you start browsing, think about your budget. It’s tempting to go for the cheapest items available but, when it comes to office furniture, you don’t want to skimp on quality. Budget units are fine for storing most standard, fairly light items, but they may not stand up to regular, daily use. If you’re storing heavier items, never cut corners on cost; you’ll need quality, well-built furniture that will ably support the weight of the items you plan to store.

That said, you also don’t need to opt for the most expensive items. It’s perfectly possible to balance budget and quality, especially with the advances in manufacturing of so-called budget materials. Mass-market manufacturing now produces items of much higher quality than they once did, so it’s likely you can find a cupboard that meets all of your requirements at a great value price.

Aesthetics

There’s a massive range of choice available to you now when it comes to office furniture, including cupboards. That means that you can choose something that matches the overall aesthetics and interior design of the office.

Whether your existing décor is traditional or modern, there are cupboard ranges to suit. Everything from trendy white and colour panel combinations to clean, modern steel in a range of colours and a variety of wood veneers for the more classic look.

The ideal cupboard design is usually fairly clean and subtle, sitting back in the room while the desks and chairs play a larger part in the overall décor. However, it’s also possible to choose cupboards that make a bold statement, with colour accents or bright translucent doors for that Silicon Valley look. Whatever kind of impression you’re going for, you’ll find there’s a cupboard range to match.

Materials

Solid wood is considered to be the best material for furniture, but it’s not always practical for the average modern office. They are heavy pieces that require a lot of effort to move, are expensive due to their hand-crafted nature, and can warp in extreme heat and cold. They also require maintenance and upkeep; real wood can chip and mark easily so the general bumps and scrapes from storing items can take their toll. That said, in the right office and with the right care, real wood looks sumptuous and executive.

Metal furniture used to be largely cold and utilitarian, but recent advances in style, designs and powder coatings mean they now look modern and stylish. Metal cupboards can also be heavy but on the plus side, they can be very secure, making them ideal for storing confidential information or valuable items.

Wood veneer is now made to a very high standard. MFC now outstrips MDF in quality and the finish is often modern and luxurious, giving the look of real wood with none of the expense or disadvantages in upkeep.

If you’re looking to bolster your environmental credentials, you could opt for pieces that are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, which is designed to identify furniture that has been made for products produced from well-managed forests or reclaimed or recycled materials.

Maintaining your cupboards

The kind of maintenance required to keep your cupboard in tip-top condition will be governed by the type of material. For solid wood, you should keep it out of direct sunlight and away from sources of heat such as radiators. You should dust them regularly with a damp cloth once a week. Use a wax-based polish, and buff the surface to keep the luxurious finish.

Wood veneer should be treated much the same way, although you can use standard polishes to clean them.

Metal can be cleaned with mild washing-up liquid and water and a soft cloth. Be careful to allow the surface to dry properly; if they do become rusted, just sand the area lightly and use a touch-up paint.

 

 

Types of office cupboards

Delivered Assembled Cupboards

If you don’t have the space or time to build cupboards yourself, avoid flat-packed options and choose from our handy range of delivered assembled cupboards. Each of the models in this range can be delivered to you already built, some with next day delivery as standard.

Make sure you check the description for each product; terms of delivery vary from one to another depending on the size, weight and quality of the cupboards, so we’ll deliver some to kerbside or ground floor only. If you’re not sure, talk to our Sales Advice Team who will be able to advise you on your options.

Best Selling Office Cupboards

Every product in this selection is a best seller, so you know they’re tried and tested by many satisfied customers. There’s everything here from sleek, modern desk-high cupboards to tough, durable steel. A wide range of colours and styles are available and many of them are available with next day delivery included as standard in the price.

Wooden Office Cupboards

We carry a wonderful range of wooden office cupboards that cater for every kind of office décor and interior designs. From the Malbec II walnut cupboards, with their luxurious dark wood finish, to the Next Day Eclipse in stunning jet black MFC, there’s something for everyone here. We even carry coloured edge cupboards that come in range of wood finish and coloured edging combinations; this means these cupboards are ideal for your office organisation. Simply choose a cupboard in each colour and organise the items by colour; at a glance, you’ll know exactly where to go to retrieve the item or paperwork you need.

Metal Office Cupboards

You’ll be surprised at the variety in our range of metal cupboards; we have the typical robust and durable steel cupboards you’re already familiar with, but we also carry a range of new, modern designs. From commercial cupboards with primary-coloured panelling and anti-bacterial Active Coat to the Silverline Two Tone tambour cupboards, where you can mix and match a variety of both door and carcass colours to perfectly match your brand identity or office décor.

Silverline Office Cupboards

Silverline’s comprehensive range of office cupboards. From standard free standing to combination cupboards including drawers and shelving, this range offers sleek modern finishes and loads of colour customisation options. They come with adjustable shelving, locks and full-length door stiffeners for added security. You can also choose from a range of interior add-ons, including extra shelves, shelf dividers, suspension filing systems and lateral filing frames.

Silverline Tambour Cupboards

If space is too limited to comfortably allow for hinged-door cupboards, Silverline’s fantastic range of tambour door units could be the answer. Tambour doors fold roll away instead of opening out, and the range includes a variety of style and colour options so you can find the perfect cupboard for your workspace. These are also fully customisable with the same range of add-ons as the previous range.

Express Delivery Cupboards

Do you need your cupboards in a hurry? If so, check out our express delivery range. Every model within comes with free next day delivery as standard to most mainland UK addresses. You don’t need to skimp on style and quality either with this range; from budget options to the most modern and up-to-date designs, there’s as much choice here as in our standard ranges.

Bisley Office Cupboards

Bisley is a well-know and trusted manufacturer and we stock a full range of their office cupboards. Built to full BS standards for strength and stability, you can be sure these products will meet all your health and safety requirements. The come in a range of colours and styles, with the option of securely lockable cupboards for storing confidential information.

 

Triumph Office Cupboards

Triumph is another leading UK office furniture manufacturer and we’re proud to stock a full range of their office cupboards. Available in standard, double door and stationery cupboards in steel or wood. You can also choose combination cupboards that include shelving with glazed doors for displaying books, merchandise or awards.

Tambour Office Cupboards

A full range of cupboards that come equipped with tambour doors allowing you to save space. You can choose from everyday wooden cupboards, Silverline ICE cupboards with bright translucent doors or the Jemini by Bisley range for full control of your filing systems.

Desk High Cupboards

Desk high cupboards are shorter in height than standard units and are ideal for placing at the ends of desks. Give each time or even every employee their own storage facility with these cupboards that are compact and integrate easily into your workplace. We carry a full range of style, including hinge and tambour doors, in a variety of colours and styles to match any décor.

Combination Units

Cupboards are great for storage, but if you have a variety of storage needs you don’t need to shell out for multiple units. Combination cupboards include shelved areas with doors and integrated bookshelves with glazed doors or even drawers for storing paperwork or small items. We stock a range of style, from traditional to ultra-modern models with contrasting white carcasses and bright, vibrant doors and details.

Commercial Cupboards

For some industries and departments, you need more heavy-duty storage solutions. That’s why we carry a full range of commercial cupboards. Built to be more durable, the range includes janitorial, cleaning and plastic utility cupboards, as well as wardrobe cupboards and units with perforated doors to allow visibility of the interiors for security and to promote airflow to reduce smells and improve hygiene. Many models come with Active Coat, an industry-standard anti-bacterial coating.

Premiershield Office Cupboards

When you need to store heavy items, standard cupboards just won’t cut it. They are designed to hold smaller, lighter items. Instead, you need one of our Premiershield heavy duty cupboards; with fully-welded construction and reinforced doors on fully recessed hinges, these are also secured with a locking handle and two five lever mortice locks, meaning they don’t just store heavier items, they’re also fully secure. The 100kg capacity shelves means they’ll easily take the weight of those heavier items too.

Shield Display Cabinets

If you’d like to display trophies or awards, we stock a range of fantastic Shield display cupboards. From wall-mounted displays to narrow and wide tower cabinets and a combination display cabinet and cupboard, there’s something here to suit every need.

LapCabby Laptop Storage

LapCabby is a great range of specialist storage for laptops. Ideal for storing laptops overnight, these are a range of trolleys and cabinets that include the option of overnight charging, wall brackets for security and full workstations that allow you to work at the unit while storing other laptops. There’s a full range of options available here, but if you’re not sure which model would suit you best, talk to our Sales Advice Team. While you’re talking to them, ask about the optional extended 3-year guarantee for added piece of mind.

 

Implementing an office filing system

Once you’ve got your brand-new cupboards in place, you’ll be keen to start filling them up with equipment and, most likely, paperwork. Before you do, you should consider taking this as an opportunity to refresh your filing system. But how do you go about starting a filing system from scratch?

Here’s our guide to starting up a new and effective filing system:

Look at the problems

If you’re thinking about implementing a new filing system, it’s highly likely that the old one isn’t functioning properly. The first thing you should do is ascertain why it isn’t working. In most cases, the answer is simple; there isn’t really a cohesive system in place.

If each of your cupboards of files has a different organisational method or there’s no intuitive sense of where you might find a file, a filing system is doomed to failure. The best way to tackle this is to start off with a plan.

Work through the rest of this section before you start filing so that when it comes time to file, you know exactly what you’re going to do.

Categorise

Filing systems are built on categorise, and the success of failure of each system rests largely on how intuitive, relative and easy to manage those categories are, so it’s important to get this part right.

Look through your current filing system and carry out a “workflow audit” so that you can work out what the most relevant categories are. If the majority of employees search for files upon dealing with a client, it might not make sense to have files categorised chronologically. Instead you should have ‘Clients’ as your main category.

When dealing with ‘named’ categorise, it’s usually easiest to sort alphabetically; it makes sense to most people and, because it allows you to group by letter, you can also colour code for easy separation of each section.

Subcategorise

You’ll probably also need to subcategorise within each file. If we stick with the example of Clients, each file might contain information on their initial contract or agreement, invoices, receipts, memos, specific requests, complaints or recommendations. Work through as many files as you can and note down the recurring subcategories. Use these to intuitively split up the information each file contains.

Colour coding

Colour coding can work with both categories and subcategories. For example, you could categorise each letter with a separate colour, although this would be unwieldy and hard to remember. A better way to do it might be to have the system alphabetised, but each Client file is colour coded to indicate whether they are a current, prospective or dormant client.

Within the files, you could colour code each section too so that, for instance, employees know to go to the red tab for accounting details and the green tab for payments received.

Label everything

Without labels, there is no filing system. Employees need to be able to see what each file and section contains without having to read through every file and document. Clear, legible labels that relate to the chosen categories makes it easy to flick through every file in the ‘A’ section to find Mister Armstrong’s file. Surname first, first name last is the most easily recognised and understood naming convention for individuals. For business names, first letter of the name suffices.

Start filing

Now that you have a system designed, you need start setting up the files. Take each file individually, make sure you have all the related paperwork, and fill the file according to the subcategories. Once this is completed for all files, start filling up the drawers in alphabetical order.

Take care to make sure that you order things correctly within each category. When sorting alphabetically by name, go with first letter of the name, then second, then third and so on. For example, ‘Armitage’ would come before ‘Armstrong’; the first three letters of each name are the same, the fourth letter differs. ‘I’ comes before ‘S’ alphabetically, so that gives you your proper order.

A filing list

Once you have your system in place, it’s a good idea to create a central filing list. This is a shared list that employees can search through at a glance to find the physical (or digital, if you’re storing on the network or cloud) of a particular file. They might be looking for a dormant client from 2015, so the list would tell them that it is contained in filing cupboard 4, Clients, under the letter of the client’s name.

These lists can also be live; that is, dynamically updated with the location of the file. For instance, if an employee is working on a file, they click on that file in the list, which attached their name to it. That means if a colleague is looking for that file, they don’t spend hours searching through filing cabinets for it. Instead, they can go directly to the person working the file and ask them to pass it on when it’s completed.

Such filing systems can significantly cut down on wasted time and inefficiency. They also reduce the possibility of files being lost and can provide a degree of accountability to staff.

Security

If you store confidential or sensitive information on individuals or entities, it’s worth investing in a secure storage system. Lockable cupboards are essential; make sure that the key is held by a named competent person. That way if someone tries to access the files, the competent person can check their clearance. If they are allowed to access the file, they can retrieve it for them; if not, they can deny them access and also investigate further into why they were trying to access the file.

It’s also worth considering backing up files in the event of fire or theft. Many companies do this by scanning all paperwork and keeping a digital copy on the network, which is itself backed up. More recently, many companies significantly reduce risk by having employees work on digital only files. That means physical files aren’t on the move constantly.

 

General best practices when buying office cupboards

Making any kind of capital expenditure for your business, including furniture like office cupboards, shouldn’t be done lightly. You need to follow best practice to make sure that you are protected when making your purchase, particularly if you’re shopping online. You’ll also want to get the best possible product from a great supplier at a fantastic price. Here are some of our top tips for getting your office cupboards in the best way possible.

Always research your supplier

There’s world of choice open to you when you’re making buying decisions, especially if you’re shopping online. From preferred existing suppliers or High Street Brands, to reputable suppliers you’ve never used before or even obscure internet only providers, there’s many options available to you, and there are no right or wrong answers here.

Just make sure that you do your homework so that you get your products from a legitimate, trustworthy supplier before you agree to hand over any money. Some key red flags to watch out for when you’re shopping online include:

  • Browser or anti-virus warnings; most modern browsers will flag up if a site is misleading or dangerous and you should always heed these warnings.
  • Most reputable retailers post their registered office address and/or their phone number on their website. If there are no contact details or just a PO Box address, you might be best looking elsewhere.
  • Companies invest a significant amount of time and money in their websites as one of the main modern marketing tools. If you see poor or outdated design, lots of broken images or links, or bad spelling and grammar, avoid buying.
  • Always look for the catch if prices seem too good to be true.
  • Be wary of shopping with very new or young companies or websites

It’s incredibly easy nowadays to ascertain the true owners of a site by using the ‘whois’ lookup service. Just input a URL or IP address and you’ll see the details of the registered owner, including their main address and how long the website has been running. People are able to hide their details behind their hosting company’s information, but this is usually used for the privacy of individuals. Registered companies shouldn’t hide their information so trust your instincts if you can’t see the full listing.

Scammers have become more sophisticated over the years and can now sometimes clone entire legitimate websites in order to phish for credit card details or other information. Watch out for warnings as most modern browsers can pick up on this, but go with your gut too; there are usually some tell-tale signs such as unusual uses of fonts or unexpected spelling mistakes.

Even when you’re found a legitimate website, you should be wary of buying from a very new or young company. They might be undercutting their competitors to gain a foothold on the market but this approach can lead to turbulence and you could find them going under before long. If they do, you could lose any warranties or guarantees your product was provided with, leaving you with no other option but to shell out more cash to replace your office cupboards should they become defective or faulty.

Shop around

Suppliers differ as much as products do and they won’t always sell products at the same price. That’s why it pays to do a bit of shopping around once you know what kind of item you’re going for. It’s easier than ever to do this; you could just visit a few similar sites, or use a price comparison website or browser add-on. Compare like for like products and always make sure you get a few different quotes before making a final decision.

It can be worth getting in touch with your prospective supplier if you have any questions about your intended purchase, for instance if you need more help with specifications or would like to know which product best meets your requirements. When you do, it could be worth asking for a discount if you’re a first-time buyer or you’re buying in bulk. Many suppliers will happily offer discounts like these, especially if you’re opening a credit account, as they can secure future business in this way. You never know if you don’t try!

While the headline prices are what we look at most, it’s always good to make sure that you are forewarned about any other possible costs involved in your transaction. Some of the most commonly encountered unexpected charges include:

  • VAT: This is 20% in the UK at present which is a large chunk of the total cost. Some suppliers post prices with VAT, some without; just make sure you know which is which when you are browsing.
  • Import or export tax: If you shop overseas you can sometimes get what seems like a great bargain on price. However, you might not know that the purchase is likely to be liable for import/export taxes. Such duty taxes are applied by Customs, so you won’t see them at checkout; in fact, you’ll only be made aware of these when you take delivery of the item, and they can be hefty, especially for large items. Do a search online to see if you can get a rough idea of costs before you complete your sale.
  • Delivery: Some suppliers can charge fairly expensive fees for delivery, especially of larger furniture pieces like office cupboards. Here at Equip4Work, we offer free delivery on most items to mainland UK addresses. If you’re using another supplier, always checking their delivery terms and conditions.
  • Express: If you need your office cupboards in a hurry, you could be charged even higher costs for express courier fees. We offer many products with free next day delivery; if you’re not sure which items fall under this category, talk to our Sales Advice Team.
  • Admin: It’s rare to see admin fees applied to purchases these days but it’s always worth keeping your eyes open for them, especially if you’ve opened up a credit account. Just make sure everything on your invoice matches what you expected to pay.

Remember too that price isn’t everything, especially when you’re purchasing for business. You also want excellent customer service, the best quality products and fantastic aftercare, including cast-iron warranties or guarantees. It can be worth paying a little bit extra to get these.

Only ever buy to match your needs

Once you’ve ascertained your requirements by working your way through this buying guide, it’s important that you stick to them. Don’t be seduced into spending more than you need to, by gimmicks, new technologies or flashy features. Your purchase should be solving a problem that you have; anything more than that is unnecessary.

Further information

Here at Equip4Work, we carry a comprehensive range of office cupboards for all kinds of environments and needs. Each of our products has clear photos, full specifications and upfront pricing. However, if you’d like some help with your purchase, or you want some advice on choosing the right office cupboards, talk to our Sales Advice Team who would be happy to help.

You can call us on 08444 999 222, email us at sales@equip4work.co.uk or complete the contact form on our site and we’ll get back to you asap.

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Last Modified / Updated on: May 31, 2018 at 11:00 am