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  • Organic Cotton Backing Cloth

    Chieftain Fabrics and Sustainability

    At Chieftain Fabrics, we are aware of how important it is to look after our planet.  We insist on only the best REACH compliant ingredients going into our vinyl fabric and we want to make as little impact on the environment as possible. For this reason, we use 100% organic cotton for the backing cloth on our faux leather Lionella range.

    What is “organic cotton?”

    Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. 11% of all pesticides used in the world are used on just one crop: cotton.

    Also, in order to gain organic status all organic cotton is grown from non-genetically modified seeds.  Organic farmers use crop rotation, compost, cover crops and weed by hand or machine.  They rely on the seasons for defoliation rather than on toxic chemicals.

    Water

    As a result of increased organic matter in the soil, water is retained more efficiently.  Also, as there are no pesticides or fertilizers used in its production, organic cotton farming does not lead to groundwater contamination.

    Emissions

    Organic cotton produces far fewer CO2 emissions to the air than the production of conventional cotton with only 3.75 kg of CO2 being emitted per ton of spun fibre. Conventional cotton production produces 5.89 kg of CO2 on average.

    Why choose organic cotton?

    Supporting organic agriculture is essential to creating improved working conditions for farm workers.  By choosing organically grown cotton, we reap all the benefits of cotton, its strength and beauty while minimizing harm to both humans and our planet.

     

  • Product information: Chieftain MultiStretch

    Performance fabric – Chieftain MultiStretch Rosemary

     

    At Chieftain our passion is producing the best vinyl fabrics possible. As part of this process we work closely with specifiers, designers and members of the upholstery community. This group helped us at every step in the development of MultiStretch, an eight way stretch fabric ideally suited for seating where comfort is paramount.

    Technology fabric
    All of the Chieftain MultiStretch range consists of a backing cloth which is 92% cotton and 8% Lycra.
    Lycra (also known as Spandex or elastane) is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity. It is stronger and more durable than natural rubber and is a polyester-polyurethane copolymer that was invented in 1958.
    With this mixture, we have virtually eliminated directionality, making the fabric easy to use and superb in upholstery.

    Performance fabric
    In situations where comfort needs to be at a maximum, the fabric must also remain practical for both the patient to use and staff to clean and maintain. We add silver zeolite based Ciba IRGAGUARD B5000 which inhibits the growth of bacteria, mould and yeast. Furthermore, these protective ingredients have allowed MultiStretch to counteract C.difficile, E.coli as well as MRSA and the vast majority of bacteria

    Colour palette
    MultiStretch consists of nine colours ranging from lighter to darker shades which provides beautiful tonal balance within the range while providing uncompromised durability. Although a limited spectrum, we have carefully focused the range to ensure it works where required.

    Conscious Design
    MultiStretch is REACH compliant, according to the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), REACH is a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals.


    References
    Wikipedia, (2015). Spandex. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spandex [Accessed 26 May 2015].

    Echa.europa.eu, (2015). REACH – ECHA. [online] Available at: http://echa.europa.eu/regulations/reach [Accessed 27 May 2015].

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  • The Challenge of Specification

    Increasingly large clients want bespoke items, such as this custom ‘Santander Red’ fabric designed and manufactured by Chieftain Fabrics for Pledge, pledgechairs.co.uk

    Recently, Design Insider noted that a smooth specification process can help ensure a project impresses while saving time and money for client, designer and supplier.

    Although we live in a world of constant change, both sides need to retain a level of flexibility.

    Design Insider also notes how;

    Traditionally there has been a lot of bespoke work…but that hasn’t really been the case for fabrics, which are much more intensive to set up. This has changed – and not just at the top end of the market. Big franchises want something unique for their brand.

    Gordon points out that ‘supplier performance excellence gives companies competitive advantage. To the extent that suppliers perform well, companies enjoy a competitive boost, since this performance is reflected in lower costs, improved responsiveness to customers, better-quality goods and services and technological advantage’. Design Insider also notes that the specifier should consider whole-life costs when selecting various products for a fit-out. Products can appear cheaper in the short term, but often they won’t come with sufficient warranties or guarantees. In specification it tends to be all about value for money as opposed to bottom-line costs.

    Keeping up with a fast moving marketplace is also a challenge to many designers who have an opportunity to offer innovative solutions. One recent development, according to the telegraph.co.uk, is the phenomenon dubbed ‘showrooming’, in which people use their phones to examine whether their prospective purchases are available cheaper online or elsewhere. This places conventional Contract suppliers with a real challenge as ‘showrooming’ offers immediate transparency. However, this can also lead to problems as contract suppliers specialise in ensuring their supplied products meet the special requirements and regulations that apply to all furniture used for commercial purposes – fire regulations, levels of usage, resistance to abrasion, pilling, soiling, seam strength, etc.. This also forces suppliers to be more flexible too. According to Design Insider, ‘The whole relationship between supplier and client has changed. It’s much more stressful but much more creative’.

    In summary,  there is a challenge of specification, but a clear, knowledgeable, specification process can ensure a project impresses and ultimately saves the client time and money.


    References

    Slideshare.net, (2015). The Art of Planning and Writing Specifications and Requirements . [online] Available at: http://www.slideshare.net/Tanel/the-art-of-planning-and-writing-specifications-and-requirements-ism-conference-0410 [Accessed 28 May 2015].

    Thebcfa.com, (2015). Design Insider. [online] Available at: http://www.thebcfa.com/res/Design%20Insider%202015%20Smaller1.pdf [Accessed 28 May 2015].

    Gordon, S. R. (2008) Supplier Evaluation and Performance Excellence: A Guide to Meaningful metrics and successful results. Florida, USA: J. Ross Publishing.

    Warman, M. (2013). The future of shopping: from high street to iStreet. [online] Telegraph.co.uk. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9821702/The-future-of-shopping-from-high-street-to-iStreet.html [Accessed 29 May 2015].

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  • Do low prices = poor quality?

    Benjamin Franklin said that “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.

    This is something we see on a daily basis with contract fabrics.

    Should you complete a search for ‘poor vinyl furniture’ you will be served a collection of images where vinyl fabric appears to be cracking and falling apart. Naturally, owners become very annoyed and then vent anger on various websites, enraged that the colour is fading, rubbing off or that the material is flaking – telltale signs of poorly manufactured vinyl products.

    With the power of social media, consumers are now fully empowered to express their dissatisfaction with poor quality products and express their unhappiness. YouTube hosts an assortment of videos from irate customers, one titled ‘Don’t buy a sofa from DFS until you have seen this!’ has over 83,000 views. The video gives an indepth review of the poor quality fabric used in a couch and viewers with a similar experience are able to add comments and show support.

    In 2010, BBC News reported on how a court sanctioned £1,800 payouts to 408 claimants in a multimillion-pound compensation battle over so-called “toxic sofas”. Certain couches sold in the UK contained chemical sachets with dimethyl fumerate – or DMF – placed inside the sofas to stop them from going mouldy during storage. However, when the sachets got warm, the chemical evaporated into the air causing painful blisters and sores for people sitting on the sofa.

    Time Magazine published an article asking ‘Does a Low Price Mean Good Value or Bad Quality?’, the article notes that;

    because consumers can’t know everything about a product, we fill in the gaps with our own (naïve) theories to help us make decisions about whether the cheaply priced product is a terrific deal or a piece of junk.

    When we choose a product or service exclusively on price, we have to ask if the low price = poor quality as people end up always paying more in the long run, as the lowest price tends to force shortcuts at some point, especially in relation to products that are manufactured. Unfortunately, these shortcuts may not be be initially apparent.

    But what do buyers actually want ?

    According to Brooks, the top three reasons that people buy from a particular suppliers are:

    1. An Easy, “No-Brainer” Relationship
    2. Reliability and Dependability
    3. Predictability

    An Easy, “No-Brainer” Relationship is when you provide your prospects and customers with a relationship in which they get what they want, when they need it, on time and in good shape. Reliability and Dependability is ensuring People know that they can rely on you. Predictability is when all of your actions and behaviours have been consistently professional and always handled effectively and efficiently, customers will be able to say you are “predictable” based on your past relationship and reputation.


    References

    Tuttle, B. (2015). Does a Low Price Mean Good Value or Bad Quality?. [online] TIME.com. Available at: http://business.time.com/2012/11/14/does-a-low-price-mean-good-value-or-bad-quality/ [Accessed 16 Apr. 2015].

    Eyesonsales.com, (2015). 12 Things Your Buyers Want Other Than Lowest Price. [online] Available at: http://www.eyesonsales.com/content/article/12_things_your_buyers_want_other_than_lowest_price/ [Accessed 18 May 2015].

    BBC News, (2015). ‘Toxic sofa’ claimants win payouts over DMF – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-11998238 [Accessed 19 May 2015].

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  • Fabric Technology Changes

    Side Profile of Just Colour Vinyl fabric at 100x

    Since coated fabrics such as vinyl were invented in the early 1900’s, the industry has constantly been reinventing itself with fabric technology changes. Coated fabrics are engineered composite materials, produced by a combination of a textile fabric and a polymer coating applied to the fabric surface. As the material is engineered and involves technical processes, research and development departments are always looking for ways to improve.

    Fung points out that fabric and coating lamination draws on several disciplines, including textile technology, chemistry, polymer chemistry and engineering skills. Chieftain Fabrics have been refining the process since the company was founded in 1954 and over the past number of years have made some significant enhancements to the process, our most notable achievements include:

    Polyvinyl chloride

    By adjusting the mechanical properties of our PVC, we have achieved better thermal stability and additional resistant to acids (citrus fruit, vinegar etc.) & bases (bleach, cleaning agents, etc.). In addition, we use a higher quality of PVC,  so that it is easier to recycle our vinyl when the product reaches the end of its working life.

    Antimicrobial additive

    By adapting constituent antimicrobial elements we are able to achieve a dual improvement with our vinyl. First, our antimicrobial elements were brought inline with  REACH requirements, REACH is a European Regulation and is an acronym for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals in the EU.

    Second, the improved formula increased performance against the spread of a large number of bacteria, molds, mildews and yeasts, making the fabric perform better in situations where this is a priority such as healthcare, retail & transportation.

    Backing cloth

    By slightly adjusting the standard weave technique, Chieftain strengthened the cotton yarn significantly in the finished product to have elevated strength parameters in all strength tests performed on our fabric.

    Plasticiser

    We removed phthalate plasticiser from our vinyl and now use only phthalate free materials which meet and exceed current REACH requirements, without affecting any of the performance properties. Phthalates are additives added to some plastics and are noted for having possible side effects in humans.

    We also improved the plasticiser barrier of vinyl to offer better performance during use.

    Stabilisers for PVC and pigments

    By carefully adjusting the portion of stabilisers in our fabric, we now obtain better UV (ultra violet) resistance to degradation, which enables higher performance against sunshine and weather conditions.

    Lacquers

    By working in close partnership with our supplier of lacquers, Stahl BV, who are headquartered in the Netherlands, Chieftain have been able to suggest formulation updates to provide better adhesion, abrasion, flexibility and anti-soiling properties.

    In relation to production, Chieftain is dedicated to a continual improvement process from both a technical and aesthetic perspective, we constantly evaluate new methods and practices.

    For instance, currently, we are conducting research into 3D printing, a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, where our unique cotton backing cloth is used as a base layer. Potentially, this could allow us to ‘print’ fabric on demand in any colour, texture or pattern.

    Initial results are mixed, but to quote Edison;

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.


    References

    Fung, W. (2000) Coated and Laminated Textiles. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing Ltd.

    Kumar Sen, A. (2008) Coated Textiles: Principles and Applications, Second Edition. Florida: CRC Press.

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  • Chieftain Vinyl Colour Ideas

    A question we often get asked at Chieftain Fabrics is what colour do we recommend to match to a particular vinyl? The simple answer is, it all depends.

    Certain colours work well together, yet contrasting colours can be used to give effect.

    Complementary Colours Schemes
    According to ‘On The Theory of Light and Colours’, complementary colours are pairs of colours which, when combined, cancel each other out. This means that when combined, they produce a grey scale colour like white or black. When placed next to each other, they create the strongest contrast for those particular two colours.

    Some complementary colours in our Just Colour range include:

    Analogous Colour Schemes
    Tigercolor.com highlights that analogous colour schemes use colours that are next to each other. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs. Analogous colour schemes are often found in nature, are harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

    Some analogous colours in our Just Colour range include:

    Triad
    Again, Tigercolor.com, indicates that a triadic colour scheme uses colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. Triadic colour harmonies tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues. To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colors should be carefully balanced – where one colour is used to dominate and the two others for accent.

    Some triad colours in our Just Colour range include: 

    We also asked our inhouse design team to pick some suggestions from our ranges and suggest colours that work well together, some Chieftain Vinyl Colour ideas include:

    Colours vary from screen to screen as no two viewing configurations are the same. To learn more about this phenomena we suggest reading this short article ‘Is Your Computer Colour Blind?’.

    Finally, Wikipedia notes that a person’s perception of colour is a subjective process whereby the brain responds to the stimuli that are produced when incoming light reacts with the several types of cone cells in the eye. In essence, different people see the same illuminated object or light source in different ways.

    Edit: 19 June 2015
    Also worth reading in relation to colour: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121843/philosophy-color-perception


    References

    Young, T. (1802). The Bakerian Lecture: On the Theory of Light and Colours. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 92(0), pp.12-48.

    Tigercolor.com, (2015). Color Harmonies: complementary, analogous, triadic color schemes. [online] Available at: http://www.tigercolor.com/color-lab/color-theory/color-harmonies.htm [Accessed 21 May 2015].

    Wikipedia, (2015). Color vision. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_vision [Accessed 22 May 2015].

  • The Good and the Bad Vinyl Fabrics

    Side by side comparison, a poorly produced vinyl fabric will ‘look’ the same as a highly engineered version.

     

    A known idiom reminds us not to be ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ and in almost any purchase or specification decision we can easily get seduced by a lower price and not fully realise the actual cost. We have all experienced this in one form or another, but is this apparent in a fabric specification decision? Surely fabric is fabric?

    Unfortunately, not all fabrics are created equally and vinyl fabric is no exception. As vinyl is a synthetic material, it can be manufactured in many ways. The marketplace has both ‘The Good and the Bad Vinyl Fabrics’. Matkovic ́ et al highlights some of the factors that contribute to good quality vinyl production which include;

    • using good quality raw materials,
    • ensuring precise control of how PU paste with the paper passes through the dryer at the correct speed of 10 mm/min,
    • how the temperature needs to be adjusted to 80℃ to allow drying of various solvents which need to evaporate.

    Not correctly managing any of these steps can have dramatic effects on the end product. Unfortunately, to look at the product, even in a side by side comparison, a poorly produced vinyl fabric will ‘look’ the same as a highly engineered version. The difference only becomes apparent after some use.
    In ‘Coated Textiles: Principles and Applications’ Sen points out that upholstery fabric is made up of layers fixed to a cotton base fabric;

    These fabrics contain a knitted base fabric, a polyurethane foam middle layer and a wear-resistant top coat…The composite is then foamed, cross-linked, and laminated to a textile base…An important requirement of the upholstery fabric is that it should have proper flame-retardant additive to reduce the ignitability of the products.

    Additional ingredients can also be added to improve the fabrics performance. For instance UV (ultraviolet) stabilisers can also be added to protect the fabric in direct sunlight. Again, from looking at a highly engineered fabric, compared to a poor grade one, there is no way of knowing if the product has UV stabilisers included and again this will not be known until the fabric starts to fade or flake after exposure to sunlight.
    Even the quantity used in each layer has a massive impact on the vinyl and the cost associated with producing it. Coated Textiles: Principles and Applications points out that;

    Upholstery-grade cloth has a thick foam layer ranging from 360 to 480 grams per meter squared, a top layer of 180 to 360 grams per meter squared.

    Producing vinyl fabric below these tolerances, which is common practice in cheaper grade vinyls, will naturally result in an inferior product, yet may remain unknown to the buyer. Typically, cheaper vinyl manufacturers use less expensive ‘fillers’ and as Sen further points out, ‘the primary role of a filler in PVC is reduction in cost’. Extensive use of filler in the production of a fabric will again have no initial visual indication.
    Again, performance would only become apparent when in situ.
    One major furniture store in the UK, DFS, came under heavy criticism for supplying poor quality furniture recently. The knock on effect was damage to the DFS brand and an investigation by BBC TV who pointed out that due to the poor quality fabric being used in their leather and faux leather sofas, they failed the necessary standards for UK fire safety regulations and were therefore shown as illegal for sale in the UK. Secondary costs such as the re-upholstery and transport are never factored in along with the damage caused to the brand and negative publicity generated. As a specifier, supplier or manufacturer of furniture, is it worth the risk? If you visit a restaurant, store or office and notice poor quality upholstered furniture where the colour is fading, rubbing off or the material is flaking, what impression does this create? What does this communicate about the organisation or brand?

    As highlighted in Mix Magazine March 2015 edition, as dealerships evolve and respond to a marketplace that views furniture as part of brand identity, contract furniture companies, are under constant pressures to deliver quality products with the correct margins. They can easily be seduced by a lower fabric price. However, for their customers, they are the centre of knowledge and excellence and must examine their client’s needs objectively and supply a coherent solution. Thinking ‘fabric is fabric’ can easily lead to poor quality selection with the end result being threefold:
    damaging the relationship with the client,
    weakening the ‘consultant’ position,
    having to absorb the additional cost of having to collect, transport, re-upholstery and re-deliver.

    • damaging the relationship with the client,
    • weakening the ‘consultant’ position,
    • having to absorb the additional cost of having to collect, transport, re-upholstery and re-deliver.

    All of which epitomises ‘penny wise, pound foolish’.


    References

    Matkovic, V, Cubric, I, and Skenderi, Z. (2014) ‘Thermal resistance of polyurethane-coated knitted fabrics before and after weathering’, Textile Research Journal, November 2014 vol. 84 no. 19. pp. 2015-2025.

    Sen, A. K (2007) Coated Textiles: Principles and Applications, Second Edition, Florida, USA:CRC Press, pp.148

    BBC, (2015). Your Money Their Tricks – DFS sales tactics – BBC One. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/r5pvRcspQH8jjJ5JJpNkvq/dfs-sales-tactics [Accessed 16 Apr. 2015].

    Furniturenews.net, (2015). Furniture retailers implicated in BBC’s fire regulation investigation. [online] Available at: http://www.furniturenews.net/news/articles/2014/01/1675215348-furniture-retailers-implicated-bbcs-fire-regulation-investigation [Accessed 16 Apr. 2015].

    Mixinteriors.com, (2015). Spotlight: The Dealer Market | March 2015. [online] Available at: http://www.mixinteriors.com/march-x2015/i/630/desc/spotlight-the-dealer-market/ [Accessed 17 Apr. 2015].

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  • OVS Via Dante – experiential retail store for the 21st century customer

    A recent study of the European e-commerce industry conducted by RetailMeNot and the Centre for Retail Research, suggests that e-commerce sales will increase by 18.4% in 2015, while offline retail sales will decrease by 1.4%. With e-commerce chewing into brick and mortar sales year on year, PwC reports that “most traditional retailers are facing the biggest challenge in their histories: How do they meet consumers’ expectations of a seamless shopping experience?”

    The answer lies in cross-channel integration. VP of Marketing & Business Development at Shipwire, Nate Gilmore says “retailers with a tightly integrated online and offline experience are winning by perfecting the buyer experience on the buyer’s terms.” Some of the examples include

    1. ‘Health kiosks’ within Lloyds Pharmacy stores. The kiosks are “interactive touchscreens and printers that allow customers to browse its entire product line, place orders and pay for goods via credit card”, says Christopher Ratcliff, Deputy Editor at Econsultancy.
    2. Macy’s iOS app Shopkick that alerts the customers who enter the store about deals and items they may be interested in.
    3. The OVS Digital Experience corner within the OVS flagship store in Via Dante. It gives customers an omni-channel experience that includes “a new virtual changing room, sales assistants supporting clients with iPads, multi-media totems and click-and-collect services” says Maria Cristina Pavarini, Senior Features Editor at Sportswear International.

    We have looked at how the OVS Via Dante store serves as an example of how e-commerce, digital marketing and retail can be successfully merged to deliver a unique customer experience.

    March 2015 issue of Design: Retail Magazine featured the store as one of 10 retailers worldwide “who are challenging the paradigm with thoughtful, inspiring and new ideas.” The three-storey boutique spreads over 900 square metres with a large wall mirror with light cuts connecting the floors. The new architectural design by Vincenzo De Cotiis Architects brings together new expressive codes such as the small, free‐standing furnishing units, and pre‐existing features on the first floor that have been taken back to their original colours.

    Source: milandesignagenda.com

    The OVS Digital Experience corner is situated on the first floor. It was designed by agencies NARAI and Nuvò. The interactive Kiosk enables customers to read the bar code of an item of interest and immediately verify its availability, along with sizes and colours. Additionally, they can purchase and pay by credit card, and ship the product home or pick it up at the check outs, says Monica Gagliardi,e-commerce and CRM Manager of the Gruppo Coin. OVS partnered up with Google Enterprise to make this a reality.

    Source: behance.net

    Totem concept render. Source: behance.net

    OVS Via Dante store provides an experience that cannot be delivered by e-commerce. Its success confirms the opinion of Neil Masterton, design director of ARM Architecture who believes “retail isn’t exactly about functionalism, it isn’t specifically about ease and isn’t specifically about straightforwardness… what people want in retail is actually a set of different kinds of urban experiences.”

    This article is based on the official information surrounding the OVS Via Dante store.

  • Extended Lionella Range

    Lionella ‘Airforce Blue’ faux leather fabric launched in March 2015

    Chieftain Fabrics has been a market leader since incorporating in 1954. Chieftain has achieved many ‘firsts’ in the industry such as computer aided colour matching and developing one of the first antimicrobial vinyl fabrics.

    In May 2015 Chieftain will add twenty colours to the existing Lionella range, making Chieftain’s portfolio one of the largest on the market. The extended Lionella range is the closest alternative to natural hide available and is now offered in forty colours from ‘Airforce Blue’ to ‘Hulk Green’ and all shades in between.

    Managing Director of Chieftain Fabrics, John Kinsella;

    For quite some time the marketplace has valued Lionella although we have received feedback from users regarding the colour choice. We listened to our customers, involved them in the development process and launched the newly expanded range.

    Feedback to date has been tremendous. The expanded range now offers architects, designers and consultants further flexibility in relation to interior schemes and arrangements. For whatever brief, Lionella is beautifully executed in projects and add the luxurious touch with minimal impact to the environment during and after it’s production. John further explains

    As we move to producing more sustainable products, we are delighted to be able to make Lionella ‘Phthalate Free’ and REACH compliant without losing any of the performance characteristics that are required by our customer base

    Currently phthalates are used in a wide variety of products from building materials, personal-care products, medical devices and textiles. Phthalates can be released because they are not chemically bound to the plastics and this may lead to human exposure. Certain phthalates have been restricted recently in the EU and as a safeguard, Chieftain have began removing them totally from products.

    The new range available is phthalate free and sample cards can be ordered directly from Chieftain.

    To view the newly extended range of Lionella, visit the recently updated website at chieftainfabrics.com.

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  • What happens to your project if your supplier runs out of stock?

    Poor risk management can have serious knock on effects on your project. According to the 2006 publication Risk Management in Design, “the most obvious areas of design risk involve three standard categories – errors, omissions, and scope definition.” This article will be dealing with omissions as part of the risk management function of avoiding pitfalls and managing opportunities.

    The UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), say that “most of your attention to risk will be to avoid or reduce the likelihood of events that might cause your project to be thrown off course. To manage and mitigate risks, you first need to identify them, assess the likelihood of them happening and estimate the impact they might have on your project.” In terms of risk management planning, some of the steps BIS recommends include prevention, risk reduction and having a contingency plan in place.

    Should none of the above steps be in place, you might find yourself having to deal with the knock-on effects of unforeseen events. In their 2011, book “How to Manage Project Opportunity and Risk: Why Uncertainty Management can be a Much Better Approach than Risk Management,” Stephen Ward and Chris Chapman (linked to the book chapter) outline the following example of a knock-on effect: When things go wrong in activity A, the cost of activity A goes up and the delays impact on activity B. The cost of activity B then increases as a consequence. Other variables affecting the cost of activity B are knock-on effects that might occur. For example, resources set aside may no longer be available, and attempts to catch up lost time may lead to double or triple shift operation or changes to more expensive technology.

    One such chain of unplanned events might occur if your supplier discontinues the line you had specified for the project at hand, and you don’t have a substitute in place.

    If we translate Ward’s and Chapman’s example into our out-of-stock scenario, it is safe to say that a supplier running out of stock may slow your project down, as well as affect other areas of your project. To avoid not delivering on-time and on-budget, and consequently letting your client down, a specification manual listing specified manufacturers and noting quality standards as outlined by Cindy Coleman, the editor in chief of Interior Design: Handbook of Professional Practice, would be highly recommendable. Coleman also says “customers expect good experiences, and they deserve them… goods and services are not enough.”

    Numerous factors contribute to and influence an interior designer’s service delivery – alliances, partners, contractors, and subcontractors. A well-researched choice will inform you on the probability of your supplier running out of stock. If the probability is low, The President of Passionate Project Management, Belinda Fremouw feels it is sufficient to develop a contingent response strategy designed to only be implemented if the risk event occurs as opposed to taking proactive action on the risk. She further recommends documenting a “Plan B” well in advance as that “will ensure that the project team is able to react to the risk in an expedient manner while hopefully minimizing any type of negative impact.” To conclude, don’t let your client down by letting your supplier leave you stranded.

    This article is based on the best project management practices.