When it came to furnishing this dynamic new work area, team leader Brigadier Richard Cary was guided by core principles:
“We were seeking furniture that was fit for our purposes, promised relatively long life, was clearly aesthetically pleasing and comfortable and above all provided value for money. We have a team of subject matter experts within the MOD who took our requirements and created very specific criteria for suppliers to match”, he says.
The specification was put to public tender through Buying Solutions, the national procurement partner for UK public services, an Executive Agency of the Office of Government Commerce in the Treasury. The potential suppliers were put through a rigorous and thorough initial tender process which evaluated criteria such as sustainability, corporate reliability, technical match and value. The resulting six shortlisted suppliers were asked to set up and present show suites to allow further scrutiny of the proposed products.
“The reason we chose Kinnarps was that it met all the measures we were looking for,” says Brigadier Cary. “Kinnarps was marked consistently highly on technical compliance, its products were aesthetically amongst the best and its seating is very well designed and very comfortable. The overall package met our needs superbly and value-for-money was clearly demonstrated.”
Following the award of the contract Kinnarps has now installed over 1500 workstations and chairs, with complementary soft seating and meeting room furniture. The workstations are the new evolution of its highly successful Series(E) range. Designed by Wills & Watson in London and manufactured in Kinnarps’ main production facility in Sweden, the Series (E) One desks offer enhanced durability and strength with greater flexibility and aesthetic lines.
The project has been overseen by Major Philip Wilde, Officer in Charge of Infrastructure, who has been delighted with the efficiency of the Kinnarps fitting team.
“The flexibility and attitude of the installation teams has impressed me”, he explains.
“What I have found particularly refreshing is the opportunity to talk to any of the fitters and find they are empowered to get on and do it – any last minute changes that are needed just get done.”
He continues: “Of course, with a project this size, we have had to adapt and have changed our minds many times over the course of the planning. Dates have been brought forward or put back and, within the constraints of an efficient ordering system, Kinnarps has always had a ‘we’ll see what we can do’ attitude and just made it happen.”
The Brigadier is equally impressed with the results. “I am very confident this was the right decision and as staff move in I am delighted with their response. Desk chairs are always the most personal and often divisive element of an office but I can honestly say that since people have moved in I have not heard a squeak of complaint. The chairs are built with adjustability to suit anybody; big, small; they’re all happy. Even some of my senior officers who had planned to keep some old, nostalgic piece of furniture for their personal office are now rethinking,” he says.
“With regard to the install I am impressed with how quickly, efficiently and professionally the Kinnarps teams have done their stuff. During the installation you could turn around and they’ve done another floor. I have to say I am very impressed with the company overall.”