Office Furniture Decommissioning and the Pre-Owned Furniture Lifecycle

Dec 9, 2021

Rework has been repurposing office furniture since the early 90s and we take pride in our dedication to sustainability. It should come as no surprise that many of our customers feel just as strongly about protecting the environment. Some of our most loyal clients eagerly await the monthly “ Just off the Truck ” emails which are full of a variety of treasures just waiting for their next home. This furniture is great for so many reasons, one of which often gets overlooked: there is little to no lead time! Just off the Truck items are available pick up in our Chicago showroom and is often available same day. If you need the item shipped, lead times vary but we can often ship within the US very quickly. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of searching for the perfect piece, but have you ever wondered how this furniture ended up at Rework in the first place? Keep reading to learn more about our office furniture decommissioning process and the magic that happens the moment a trailer of furniture shows up at our warehouse.

What does decommission even mean?

What exactly is “decommissioned” furniture? Well, when a business decides to close or move locations, they often liquidate or even dump old office furniture in a landfill. That’s where we come into play. Rework specializes in facility decommissioning services of assets nationwide, with an emphasis on landfill diversion. Rather than dumping old furniture, Rework’s goal is to tag items for “reuse” by sending the good stuff to our warehouse. Items that aren’t up to our stringent standards are either offloaded and sold as wholesale to other furniture dealers or donated to local charities within the market we’re working in. In fact, YTD we have diverted over 4M lbs of landfill waste (equivalent to the weight of 10 blue whales!). As an industry leader, we have differentiated ourselves as a consistent and reliable national furniture liquidation partner dedicated to the responsible diversion and disposition of furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

From the moment a decom shipment is received, it’s our goal to get it on our showroom floor within five days. As you can imagine, this “Five Day Onboarding Process” includes a substantial amount of internal coordination and effort. Each step is dependent on the one before, so if anything is out of sync, the entire process can be delayed.

Days 1-2: Receive and review

The first day consists of receiving the furniture at our docks in Chicago. More often than not, multiple trailers of furniture arrive with hundreds of different items so the unloading process can take considerable time. Our team is lean yet nimble – there are three dedicated warehouse employees – and they work hard at making sure everything is unloaded efficiently and safely. When the product is completely unloaded and inside our warehouse, quality control begins. The QC process starts with a super detailed inventory and thorough inspection of each piece. Furniture that doesn’t meet our stringent criteria goes to another team for repairs at our onsite repair facility. Our goal is to unload and QC every piece of furniture on day one.

During days one and two, acceptable furniture is brought up to our showroom and cleaned up. We sanitize and wipe down all surfaces so that furniture is ready to begin a new lifecycle, or “second act,” as we have lovingly coined this stage. After inventory is officially accepted and received, photography begins. This might sound straight-forward, yet the process of capturing detailed images from all angles to upload to our website takes considerable time, especially the editing process.

Days 3-4: Research and stage

Once images are captured, a detailed description is written for each piece which includes measurements on day four. Our writers are veterans at creating these descriptions and because a lot of this furniture is discontinued or “one off,” constructing these can be quite a challenge. Luckily, our team’s familiarity with furniture and manufacturers helps us research the brand and provide an accurate portrayal of each SKU. For larger decom jobs — think about those huge corporate offices with rows of cubicles — multiple SKUs are processed for all those products, so our warehouse team works diligently to appropriately account for every item.

In parallel to descriptions being written, photography edits are typically complete and back in the hands of our talented showroom coordinator on day four. This is when the magic happens. Furniture is cleverly staged and placed in ways that truly lets our customers think outside the box. Our showroom consists of multiple vignettes of furniture that mimic a variety of workspaces and functions. It’s truly a treat to walk through our showroom and take in all the different configurations of quality, pre-owned furniture. The goal is that our customers can envision this furniture working for their unique workspace. We always encourage our clients to come into the showroom to test out the product. Online purchases are also great, but nothing beats getting to see pieces “in person” prior to purchasing. Concurrent to staging, we also start pricing each item which again can take time - considerable market research must be completed to make sure we are appropriately tagging each SKU.

Day 5: Tag and SKU

And finally on day five, our showroom coordinator prints a tag for each piece which includes a QR code to view the listing online. When the SKU is officially created, the product is considered live and up for grabs! Just off the Truck furniture moves fast, so we always encourage customers to call us immediately if something catches their eye or purchase directly on our website.

Helping our clients get great deals on name brand pre-owned office furniture, and doing great things for the environment, are core to what we do at Rework. It’s such a treat to see customers find just what they were looking for when shopping our selection of quality, pre-owned furniture. We look forward to seeing you in our Chicago showroom and can’t wait to help you plan for your new space!