Archives for the month of: September, 2017

Most products that we use in our daily lives go through some form of testing before they are launched into the market. This is an important step to verify user safety, environmental compliance, and ultimately a positive overall experience. Have you ever thought about how your office furniture is tested? Here at HON we have an A2LA Certified Product Test Lab, an A2LA Certified Pack Lab, a Parts Approval Lab and a Color Lab, so you could say we take our testing very seriously!

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HON engineers test Empower Benching above and beyond BIFMA with 7900 lbs on 20 stations!

The first test we conduct is part-specific, and it takes place in what we call our Parts Approval Lab. For this test, we scan our parts with a laser and the software generates a 3D color map that will tell us exactly how much, if any, the part varies from the print. For example, when we model the back of a chair, we scan those parts to verify that all contours are exactly how we modeled it.

The second test validates our colors, and this takes place in our Color Lab. Dedicated members verify the colors of each part match the exact color composition that is specified, regardless of the material that is used. We check for consistency so parts don’t vary, which gets us the same great look every time.

The third test is shipment testing, where we simulate what could happen during the shipping and handling process. This category has three areas:

  1. Compression testing – simulates products being stacked in a warehouse
  2. Drop testing – simulates the possibility of products being dropped during a delivery or installation
  3. Vibration testing – simulates placing the packaged product in a semi-trailer to make sure the packaging doesn’t cause any scratches

We pay attention to details and obsess over small things, so we even go as far as testing in both freezing and humid climates to make sure our packaging can withstand any end destination.

The fourth test is structural and fatigue testing to ensure the safety of the end user. This testing simulates different situations in which the end users may find themselves, such as an individual putting books into an overhead in a panel system.

To deliver long-lasting products, we also test fatigue scenarios, such as the “caster durability” test.  In this test we simulate the chair rolling for a pre-determined distance to ensure the casters will remain dependable through the lifetime of the product.

These are abusive tests, meaning the forces we use are beyond what would be generated in normal use. Using both BIFMA test standards and our own, we make sure the safety of the end user is not in jeopardy.

The fifth test looks at the user interface and it includes standards that HON created to guarantee the consistent comfort of our products. For example, have you ever thought about the amount of force required to push the button for raising and lowering your task chair arms? Well, our engineers did, and alas a test standard was written for it! We standardize on this to make sure the user experience is as comfortable as possible.

The last test is what we call Live Environment Testing. Considering we work in an office ourselves, we are often asked the question “would you use this product in your own office?”. So, to answer this question, we made it a test requirement! As part of our full test plan, our engineers seek out members in the office with fresh eyes to the product and ask them to test it out. For example, I was once asked to use a prototype Ignition® 2.0 task chair at my workstation for a few days and provide feedback. This test is also a fun way for HON to engage with our community, such as getting feedback from the local community college or doctor’s office. After this process, the project teams compile the feedback and make any final improvements to the product. This type of testing is very important to make sure we can deliver the best possible product.

So, now you know the science behind what it takes to deliver the best office furniture on the market. If you would like to see inside our test lab, check out this video and be sure to visit hon.com to view our product brochures!

“BIFMA” stands for “Business + Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association”, and it is the “not-for-profit trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers”. They create and maintain the industry safety standard, as well as sustainability standard, and educate customers on the importance of product performance. You can read more about BIFMA here.

“A2LA” stands for “American Association for Laboratory Accreditation” and it is an organization that gives accreditation to all types of laboratories in accordance with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards. At HNI we place such a high value on quality assurance that we go through this accreditation process and gain the accountability of this third-party. You can read more about A2LA here .

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business strategy development concept at the office

For many of us the workday starts at 8 AM, if not earlier. From the time our eyes open to the moment we walk into the office, there are already so many tasks to be accomplished. The hustle and bustle to get to the office can feel draining when you are racing a clock that was preset for you. The weariness is only amplified when you delay the inevitable by snoozing over and over. So, why not take charge? Set your alarm earlier and allow yourself time to truly wake up and smell the coffee. By following these 5 tips, you can set the groundwork for a winning morning. And when you win the morning, you win the workday!

Plan Ahead: Before bed, take a peek at your calendar and prepare for tomorrow.  Set yourself up for success by laying out your clothes and avoiding the stress that comes with ‘not having anything to wear’. Hop into bed at a reasonable time (without your phone!). Science repeatedly confirms that a good night’s rest is key to being your best.

Quiet Time: Don’t rush to turn on the television, read e-mails, or log into your social media accounts. Starting your day off with glum news and chaos does not set the scene for serenity. Spend some time with your thoughts and review your intentions for the day. This peaceful moment will shape the rest of your day and you will be more likely to be focused, content, and optimistic.

Get Moving: By stimulating blood flow you are also releasing endorphins (hormones that trigger a positive feeling in the body). Don’t torture yourself by engaging in an activity that doesn’t appeal to you. Be sure to choose an exercise that you really like. It can be as simple as a bedside stretch or walking the dog around the block.

Breakfast: Start off with a large glass of H2O; this is crucial as you are the most dehydrated after a long night’s rest. You’ve already heard it’s the most important meal of the day. So, “let go of the Eggo”! Try proteins and slow carbs, such as scrambled eggs and avocado, for a healthy kick start.  And, of course, a cup of joe might lead to an extra pep in your step.

First Things First: Get big work done early. By doing this, you hammer out the hard stuff while your brain is wide awake. It’s not ideal to save the hard stuff for later in the afternoon when your brain is fatigued. Mark Twain recognized this concept and wrote, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Craft a routine that you look forward to. And, remember that routines take time to perfect and habits are not formed overnight. Repeated smalls wins lead to big wins and lasting change. Have you always been a morning person? Or have you started implementing habits that have increased your productivity and positivity?  Share your tips!

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