What Goes Into Making a MultiTable Standing Desk?
by Kenny Rhoads
From the drawing board to customer delivery, MultiTable designs its manual standing desks to be manual, unlike competitors that merely convert electric standing desks. That’s an important distinction, according to Drew de Weerd, President of MultiTable.com. “If you choose to go with a manual standing desk, you won’t find a better one than ours,” he said. “It’s an amazing product, it does exactly what it says that it should. That’s the feedback we get from our customers – they’re all amazed at how our desks work.”
As you can imagine, it takes a lot of hard work to bring a new MultiTable height adjustable standing desk to market, but you may not realize the attention to detail that goes into the process. It begins with putting yourself into the minds of consumers and from the time they began working together in 1997, de Weerd and MultiTable engineer Tom van Duinen have approached their work from that perspective.
Something as seemingly mundane as getting a desk to a customer takes planning. “Since our standing desks are consumer standing desks – we design products for the end user – there are specific things that come into play if we want to transport something – the size, weight, the packaging has to be UPS-proof,” said de Weerd. MultiTable offers free shipping within the contiguous United States so it’s important to keep those costs down to a minimum and because they’re designed to be assembled by consumers, they have to be easy to put together. “Jokingly, we used to say we had to make our desks ‘mom-proof’, because I used to ship things to my mom and say, ‘can you do me a big favor’ and she would curse me, massively, because she knew that she had to get into a box that was fifty pounds,” said a smiling de Weerd.
Attention to detail is key. Something as simple as designing the correct size bolt has to be carefully planned along with making sure customers have the right tools. “You can’t expect everyone to have a metric allen wrench, so you include one with it,” van Duinen said. “Most people, if they don’t like tools, they don’t like putting stuff together, they’re not going to buy stuff they have to assemble. We try to make it as easy as possible for people who never played with tools, even as children.”
“We pre-drill all of our standing desk tops, so someone doesn’t have to use an electric drill,” added de Weerd. While he and van Duinen learned from mistakes made along the way, this was a decision made intuitively. “We never actually made the mistake of not having pre-drilled holes. We’re selling to end users and we cannot expect them to have a drill.”
Getting back to shipping MultiTable desks, de Weerd says that issue was on their radar early on. “One of our challenges was, how much can we assemble and still put it in a shippable box?” he said.
For engineer van Duinen, the solution was a simple one that took some ingenuity: making the parts to be shipped just a tad smaller. For example, he said, “cutting a 60 inch desk top down to 57 inches meant we could save quite a bit on paying a shipping premium.” That seemingly minor adjustment meant big savings, making it possible for MultiTable to offer the industry-leading policy of giving customers free shipping on products.
Remaining a small business has paid off for MultiTable. For example, for a time the company outsourced the manufacturing of desk tops. When the quality proved inconsistent, they began making the parts in-house. “The added bonus is we can do custom desk tops and conversions. If someone wants a conference table or a custome desk conversion, or extra slots, we can deliver it to them,” continued de Weerd. “That’s one of the advantages of being a small business – whatever we have to do, we do.”
To see the entire product line of standing desks and accessories and discover how you can live the Height of Healthy Design, go to MultiTable.com.