While human cloning is still the stuff of science fiction, office furniture cloning has been taking place for quite some time. Cloning companies mimic an OEM office cubicle’s design to create knock-offs of the original product for business owners who want to save some cash. It’s kind of like buying a faux Coach bag – only with cubicles.
The Clone Difference
These manufacturers advertise their products as being just like the real thing at a significant discount off OEM pricing. They also claim that their cube parts are fully compatible or interchangeable with those of name brand manufacturers such as Herman Miller. This would theoretically allow a company with a current fleet of HM workstations to add on cloned cubes without paying full price for an actual Herman Miller product. That’s a tempting prospect for employers who are faced with a tight budget for office space planning and provisioning.
Of course, any patented office cubicle’s design features would not be duplicated in the clone (if the cloner doesn’t want to be sued). In addition, cubicle cloning companies admit that shoddily constructed overseas replicas of mid-grade furnishings have given their industry a reputation for poor quality materials and workmanship. Many U.S. clone dealers are now providing extensive guarantees and warranties to build trust with their client base.
What’s In a Name?
There is no question that some of what you pay for when purchasing new cubicles from companies like Haworth, Steelcase, and HM is the name tag. Of course, these companies have earned their reputation for extremely high quality and durability. It is certainly possible that some of these features can be duplicated by less well known manufacturers and reasonably sold at a lower price. This is something purchasers must evaluate on a case by case basis.
Cloned vs. Refurbished
Cloned cubicles are advertised starting at 25-35% less than new, name brand office cubicles. Design features and materials are promised to be similar to the OEM products. This is in contrast to a cost savings of up to 50% for an actual name brand cubicle that has been restored to like-new condition. Ask yourself this question: Which would you rather spend your money on – a brand new KIA or a certified, pre-owned BMW?