It wouldn’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last, that during our first meeting with a client, we realize that the features they are telling us about do not correspond to the hardware that they are showing us. Testing furniture hardware correctly and coming to this realization can be a very delicate moment. But at IBHM, we make a commitment to our clients and we stay true to it from the beginning. We have to look out for their interests, and so we have to speak frankly. Luckily, in most cases, from that moment on the customer relationship is strengthened, and we begin a chapter in which promotion plays the leading role.
Unfortunately, and more often than you would think, the hardware that is marketed does not have the quality that you are paying for. Because of this, testing furniture hardware correctly is very important. You need to be able to do it yourself, and/or know someone dependable who can do it for you.
At IBMH, when we say we are “experts and specialists”, it isn’t just because we have spent 24 years working in the furniture and construction hardware industry, but because our entire team is highly qualified and truly experts in their field.
Step by step recommendations for testing furniture hardware correctly
Although performing furniture hardware tests may not seem very complicated, it is without a doubt a more complex analysis than many would believe. The variables that you should keep in mind are:
Before setting foot in the factory…
- • Remember that the test does not begin with the finished hardware product in the factory. The first part of the test must be the approval/confirmation of the raw materials that were used. You should require them to present the certificate of origin and/or a laboratory report proving the veracity of their claims.
- • At IBMH, our experience has shown us that this essential first step is sometimes left in the hands of the manufacturer, and is not always satisfactory. For this reason, it is very important to monitor and supervise this phase.
When you have the finished furniture and construction hardware in your hands…
- • Check the market for which the hardware is intended.
- • Verify the requirements that the customer has specified for each feature:
- • Thickness
- • Length
- • Diameter
- • Weight
- • Resistance
- • Pushing force
- • Units of measurements for force (Newton, Kilogram-force or Pound-force)
- • Determine if it is a unique design or if other equivalent ones exist. Sometimes, we are offered the “same” hardware at a better price, but it isn’t actually the same—it just looks like it. Summing up its differences, imperceptible to many, your products could wind up being in an inferior category.
- • Examine the different components.
- • Is it made of only metallic parts, or does it use other materials such as plastics or wood?
- • Does the hardware come with separate parts for installation (screws or other fasteners)? If they are needed, this will add more items and variables to the inspection.
- • Don’t limit yourself to verifying just the basic features of the hardware. We recommend that you also verify:
- • The type of plastic or other material used
- • Color
- • Resistance
- • Type of cord
- • Specifications of the screws that come with it. It wouldn’t be the first time that a screw was the cause of major headaches for the Sales Department managers.
- • Consider ahead of time whether the product will need a standard finish (zinc chromate or tropicalized zinc) or a specialized one.
When packaging the merchandise…
- • Finally, you need to review the packaging. It must meet the standard specifications of the manufacturer or the custom requirements requested by the customer. These customizations may involve:
- • Placement of a logo on the packaging
- • Incorporation of additional protective measures against bumps or moisture during shipping
All of these points plus ample knowledge are what is needed for testing furniture hardware correctly. We encourage you to internalize them and keep them in mind for your next test. Also, we’d love to hear from you! Without a doubt, IBMH can help you with your furniture and construction hardware imports. In the meantime, don’t forget that you need to start with the raw materials and end with the packaging. The manufacturing process itself is, of course, very important, but it is definitely not the only thing you need to examine.