Herman Miller Singapore Mass Order
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We have been conducting the Herman Miller Singapore Mass Orders to help the HWZ forumers purchase high-value bulky items for the past 10 years, with our overseas office located in New York. We also have offices in various parts of Europe. It was initially done out of goodwill but it slowly developed to become a disrupting trading module, that benefits us indirectly and tremendously even when there’s no direct monetary gain. This will be explained below.
Like a hydra, we will always be around.
How did it begin?
The first import was for ourselves in 2001 but actual mass ordering for the public started in 2008.
We always have containers of goods coming from the USA and different parts of Europe. Normally our containers are not totally filled. Fellow forumers from HWZ started to request to tag along with their Herman Miller orders to fill up out containers and we allowed. The requests never stop. If you do a reverse calculation, the shipping charges you are paying here is about US$100-US$250, pretty cheap for a pallet from across the globe.
Initially, it was done out of goodwill to help forumers, who wanted to purchase the chairs but couldn’t afford the local price tag. Or users who prefer to get a chair that is made in USA than those sold locally that are sometimes made in China.
Where did we get the stock?
We only conduct mass order for high-quality products that are hard to replicate and of high value. There are no fake Herman Miller chairs in the market.
For Herman Miller, we order the chairs directly from USA authorised websites, always delivered to our office in New York or affiliated company in Washington. Then shipped out from the nearest port. We only get from established sellers, including Amazon. Sometimes we walk in and order from the stores, sometimes we order them online. We are never fixed to one vendor to enjoy competitive pricings.
Do we only mass order Herman Miller products?
What’s the benefit for us?
The reason why the project is always sustainable is that we use these purchases to use up our fund in our affiliated companies based in Europe. This lowers their revenue to pay lower overseas corporate taxes in a legitimate way, also transfers our cashflow with little or at projectable cost, despite fluctuations in currencies.
The huge amount of tax saved, or the result of how money flows back to Singapore makes it worth our time and effort. So this is a win-win situation and it does benefit us well. We do not see a reason why we will want to stop this project as we have strong sales in our core businesses in Europe. We can’t reveal our companies overseas but we can reveal that they generate steady profit for the past 20 years.
Why create www.unwantedimports.com?
The website was created to facilitate easier ordering and invoicing. We always have users who want to claim under their company and require a proper invoicing system. On our website, you can download the quotation and submit your claims.
At the backend, when you place an order or submit a claim. The email notifies the right people automatically and things go unfold by itself.
How is it operated in Singapore?
We have a few agreements with a few companies to handle the logistics and repairs. This keeps the operating cost little and gets things more organised in place.
Under the agreement, we don’t really have to pay rent for a small storage space. This keeps our operating cost at bare minimal in that aspect. It’s not rocket science to service the chairs, we outsource all repairs to companies that are more than qualified in repairing that. There are plenty of companies but we have our preferred company to work with.
How is the after sales handled?
Base on our records, 95% of the faults reported are coming from the wheels. They endure the most wear and tear, and pressure from usage.
We ordered in an inventory of 8,000 casters on standby to handle this specific issue, this is grossly above what we need. We also streamlined the claim process for the casters, making the claim easy and free of charge except for the local delivery charges if it’s required. We do not repair the casters, we replace the casters 1 to1 and replace all 5 casters if we find it’s necessary even if you don’t ask for it. You can replace the casters on your own, we have the instructions on the troubleshooting page.
As for the remaining 5% of the faults reported. Some cases are no issues, some cases are easily solvable by the user. IE: Placing back a loose cable, a spray of lubricant, etc. Some conditions are not covered by the warranty due to wear and tear or abuse. It’s subjected to approval like any claim cases.
The number of remaining cases that require real repairs at best is less than 1.5% of the total, which we have standby components for most scenarios. You will only pay for the transportation fee to and fro our service point in Singapore during the warranty period. In some countries, the local authorised agent will charge you a hefty service fee in any case for any warranty claim, even if you send the chair back yourself, not for us. If you are willing to send the chair to us, you are unlikely needed to pay for anything.
Also in some countries, the local agents do not allow the buyers to transfer the warranty, making your resale value lesser as the new users will not enjoy the full benefit of the warranty. Not for us. We had attached a few tamper proof serial stickers on the chairs so whichever owner who has the chair will be taken care of. This will make it easier when you want to sell the chair for some reasons.
Can you tell me more about the warranty and how to claim?
We claim the warranty from USA on your behalf, so email us with the necessary information. Warranty claims are based on Herman Miller’s approval. They will send the spare to our USA office upon approval, which we then transfer to Singapore. In Singapore, we will allocate standby spare to provide you first if it’s available. We do not have 100% of spares on standby, but we have spares to cover at least 98% of the cases.
The necessary information to submit is the serial sticker and photo/video of the fault. We will also need your order number to withdraw the proof of purchase. If you are one of our early buyers who bought from the forum, you will need to provide us with the nickname or email you used.
Over the years, we identified a few problems in this process.
- Many users claim that they lost the serial number on their chair. Many deem that the original sticker barely sticks for long in our climate.
- Fraud cases of users abusing the system by sticking the sticker on another chair to claim warranty support.
- Unhappy distributors trying to track our sellers and limit our supply vendors.
Point 1 is obviously related to buyers. Point 2 and 3 can eventually lead to issues for our buyers too.
Thus WEF April 2017, we have added a more durable and tamper proof serial sticker which has a unique SO# under the chair in place of the serial number. We also stick similar serial stickers around the chairs where it’s less likely to “drop off”. A photo of the SO# will be used for the warranty claim.
The original serial sticker will now be under our safeguard so after sales will be easier managed and protected for all parties.
What will happen if we decided to cease service?
In times of recession, or with the invasion of disrupting trade modules, of course, anything is possible and that’s a valid question. Even many authorised local distributors are going under nowadays, crushed by the huge overhead of rental and labour. What happens to support from any agent?
For us, we split the issue to two precincts.
- Finding a solution for our users.
If we deem that the mass order for Herman Miller should cease for whatever reason. That does not mean that our support for users will cease. It’s evident that we did not cease support for the other Mass Order projects, some are even bigger.
We do not oversell and had done calculated projections. We control the number of chairs we sell a month, usually less than 10 chairs. From the projected numbers, we stand by a proportional amount of spares. These spares had been paid for, and we have no use for them other than providing support for our buyers when necessary.
- Keeping the mass order sustainable.
We always run calculations and negotiate better agreements to keep our cost to the bare minimum, keeping us lightweight. Our negotiations are base on top tier B2B quotations which we negotiate as a whole with our other trades. As the benefit for us to remain the mass order is strong as explained here, it’s very unlikely for us to let it cease.
If we do ultimately cease in operation, we will pass our sales records to our appointed agency that had been handling all our repairs, assemblies, etc. They charge users by per case, which is SGD70. They also have a deposit from us, which should last at least 3 years of services.
Are the chairs new and genuine?
We only obtain new chairs, not refurbished passed off as new.
There are no fake Herman Millers in the market.
Why Herman Miller and not other brands?
There are definitely other brands but the Herman Miller chairs are the most recognised and recommended by any orthopaedics. Those Herman Miller models used by the Singapore Ministries and major financial institutes are mostly the lower end Mirra or Aeron range in the most basic settings, not fully loaded with all the features. The chairs we carry and recommend are mostly the higher end ones, otherwise stated. With all the functions loaded like forwarding tilt, posture fit lumbar support, recline limiter, hard floor casters, headrest, etc.
Many forumers deem that it’s definitely worth to mass order when the Herman Miller chairs sold in USA, are made in USA and sold cheaper. Better choice than those sold in APAC, made in China at higher prices.
No longer will you need to order from USA websites and import in individually, we do it on your behalf. We don’t stock a lot, just a tiny amount of less than 10 chairs every 1 to 2 month, not sufficient for bulk orders to corporates but sufficient enough to provide for a few happy individuals.
It’s worth noting that during the same time we started the mass order, the local chain and popularity of Herman Miller in Singapore grew amazingly huge rather than having any dent to their sales. The power of social media, recommendation on Singapore’s most popular forum Hardwarezone, particularly from our mass order seemingly gave them a boost instead. As with all our other mass orders projects.
We never had a problem with warranty, we have a long list of vendors to call in the United States, different from Singapore, monopolised by a single provider. We get the kind of support we can get from USA which is excellent of golden standard. We have strong relationships with repair specialists who are dedicated to repairing Herman Miller chairs.
We the organisers, many of us worked for MMCs and we strive to carry the same level of good service to you.