Over recent years, there’s been a great effort among church seating manufacturers to control their production costs. Church seating is a very competitive arena in our day so any dollars saved on the production side aides in providing a competitive advantage. One of the major ways that manufacturers have tried to lower their production costs is to acquire or produce church furniture from overseas. However, there’s a huge range of quality levels on the church seating we now have arriving in North America from overseas. Let me share with you what I have found is the primary determiner of that quality through this story.
Church Furnishings Manufacturer “One” decides to lower their costs and acquire worship chairs from overseas. They contact various overseas manufacturers and select one to produce a worship chair for them. Within several months, chairs are being shipped from overseas and marketed though North America. However, over time, Manufacturer “One” becomes troubled by the growing quality issues these chairs are exhibiting. Yes, production costs are down, but warranty costs are increasing dramatically.
Eventually Manufacturer “One” decides to invest in their own manufacturing facility overseas. They desire the cost savings that are available, but they need to take steps to raise the quality level. So they increase their level of involvement and oversight. Key personnel are trained in North America and then relocated overseas to insure that needed quality standards are adhered to and maintained. A substantial financial investment take place. And eventually, these worship chairs are being provided to churches in North America and the manufacturer has achieved its goals of both lower costs and improved quality.
The story does not end here though. The previously used overseas manufacturing facility is still set up to make worship chairs. Since Manufacturer “One” now has their own facility, the rejected facility begins to look for other North America manufacturers and even “dealers” to market their worship chairs that have now been “rejected” by Manufacturer “One”. Eventually one or more agree, and the inferior chairs are once again available to churches in North America. These chairs look very similar to potential customers, yet there are substantial quality issues that have been addressed by Manufacturer “One” in their own facility that are not addressed in these worship chairs, leaving church customers often very disappointed when they are not aware of the entire story.
Church Furniture Partner has researched manufacturing practices for most of the church seating available in North America today. While these practices are always in flux, we do have those manufacturers that we would recommend to churches and those we would caution you about. Feel free to contact me with any thoughts are questions you might have regarding church seating.