Herman Miller Singapore
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Our base trade is mainly in architecture, development of properties and cryptocurrency, particularly in Europe, South East Asia and Southern China. Our offices are located in New York, Britain, Italy, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and China. Most of us are located in the UK. Besides architecture consultation work, we provide full furnishing to our clients as a complete package. Due to the movement of material from around the world, we have many containers shipped globally all the time.
In around 2008, we noticed that our shipping containers were always not fully utilized. That’s when a group of clients from the Singapore forum, from the Hardwarezone community, contacted us to purchase high-value bulky items and send them to Singapore from USA. The first bulk order happened in around 2008. It was initially a small project and done out of goodwill. We figured out that this small project can have big benefits that can affect our company indirectly even without immediate monetary gain. We linked up with multiple contractors to devise this disrupting trading module, making it complete and sustainable. These contractors are mainly in local logistics, technical and payment services to help consolidate the operation better. It becomes as sustainable as a hydra which is easy to multiply and carry on in any market that we target. Currently, we diversify and expanded our operation to several countries, using different websites.
When did it start?
The first import was for our offices and project clients started in 2001, actual mass ordering for the public started in 2008. People from the Hardwarezone and other “Spree sites” reached for us and engaged our help to tag along with their Herman Miller orders to fill up out our containers. It wasn’t a difficult task for us as we are very familiar with the products since we had been purchased them regularly for our clients. The requests never stop. If one does a reverse calculation, the shipping charges they paid was about US$150, which is a very affordable shipping rate for a pallet shipped door to door across the globe.
Initially, it was done out of goodwill to help buyers, 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 as at that time, the local distributors carried a mix of China-made chairs.
What’s the benefit for us?
Initially, the main reason which motivated us to keep the project sustainable is we use these purchases to use up our fund in our companies based overseas. As the corporate taxes in many of the countries we operate are much higher. This trading process lowers the payable corporate taxes significantly, in a legitimate way. Also transfers our cashflow with little losses at projectable cost. The later benefits were significantly greater as cryptocurrency emerged, it helps us to liquidate the cryptocurrency that we hold, gathered in massive amount from Asia.
As such, the benefits for us is tremendous and there was no need for us to profit with immediate monetary gain. Besides ergonomic chairs, we also do transfer for commodities for certain companies.
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 authorized websites, usually delivered to our office in New York or affiliated company in Washington. Sometimes we also get from Europe. Then shipped out from the nearest port. We only purchase from established sellers, including Amazon via online or walk in and order from the stores. We are never fixed to a single vendor to enjoy competitive pricing.
Do we only mass order Herman Miller products?
No, but we also import expensive and high-quality building material, mattresses, and food products. They are listed on their own independent website.
Why are you the only reseller who can last for such a long time?
In the past decade, we occasionally see new Herman Miller seller who claims to be also able to sell Herman Miller chairs at an affordable price.
Some of these sellers sell on third party or on their own websites. In most cases, you seldom see them lasting for long. Most of the time, it’s because they are actually selling refurbished units passed off as new and got revealed. Another reason is because Herman Miller actively investigates and ban suppliers who export their products, and most likely disable the warranty support they can get. As such, the vendor will have no choice but to abruptly shut down to evade the responsibility of honoring the 12 years warranty.
USA sells at the cheapest price in the world. If you see a case that the retailing price is lesser than USA, it’s most likely too good to be true. There are many companies that refurbish the chairs and retail them as “near-new” condition in the USA. Normally they spray a fresh coat of paint, brush and vacuum the chairs, change the casters. It does look new but the chair had lost its structural integrity and the mechanism may have endured a certain degree of wear and tear. What we did notice, is most sellers are not even aware that their stock are refurbished units. That’s getting rampant in China nowadays.
As we mentioned, HM actually blacklists vendors who are found exporting their chairs. With just one chair’s information, it is enough for them to trace back all the chairs that were ever sold to the same buyer. HM most likely have the vendor and the buyer blacklisted and void all the warranty of the chairs that are linked. This means that all the chairs that were once sold by the vendor, are not covered by any form of warranty. Since the vendor is no longer able to receive support, likewise the reseller in Singapore. The reseller will normally choose to dissolves its presence or website and becomes uncontactable as there’s no way he can sustain the twelve years warranty. Warranty isn’t transferrable, it can only be honored to the original purchaser, so those buyers are totally stuck.
We don’t have these issues as the company that represent us to purchase the chairs, are MMC that have a global presence. It’s absolutely logical for our chairs to be found overseas and in huge amount. Also, we have a dedicated staff in our office in the USA to claim the warranty. We still have other processes to keep your warranty safe, and even transferable. That’s why we last for a decade while many sellers usually can’t last for more than 2 years.
We are an organized company, we even set up a system of aftersales service with other contractors to offer support. The details of our system can be found below. Not only do we have an organized system to obtain parts warranty from USA directly, we have our technicians to provide the labor if required. We only service chairs sold by us, to keep our spares and labor in a healthy status.
Are there clearance Herman Miller stock available in the market?
As far as we know, all chairs are manufactured on demand. Only when there’s an order, will they manufacture the chairs. Most stockists don’t keep much stock as the items are too bulky and require a lot of storage space. For bulk orders, they are often delivered from Herman Miller directly so most stockists don’t require to keep much stock. Herman Miller chairs are sold easily. It is unlikely that any stockists will need to do clearance sales to clear their inventory. It’s also quite unlikely for any retailers to hold stock older than 12 months, especially the Aeron chairs. When you see a reseller claiming to have “clearance” Aerons available, it’s a telltale sign that his stock is not from legitimate source or new.
There are many sellers who pass off refurbished units as new and claim to be clearance stock. These chairs are unable to offer any form of warranty and often disappear after retailing for a few months or years. Prices are pretty well controlled in every nation, if the prices are too good to be true, then it’s probably not.
Why create www.unwantedimports.com?
The website was created to facilitate easier ordering and invoicing. All orders are looped to our contractors to handle the sales and logistics. 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 unfold by itself. Many people find it hard to believe and keep emailing us telling us about their payment made and such. Our contractors have not missed identifying a client’s payment yet.
How is it operated in Singapore?
We have a few agreements with a few companies to handle the logistics and repairs. One of the company offer retail solutions like collecting payment, and warehousing. Some companies doing purely logistics to send out high value furniture. Some just to coordinate sales or repairs. We link this up with other companies to share the resources. This keeps the operating cost little and gets things more organized in place. That’s how we managed to keep it running for more than a decade.
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. We outsource all repairs to a company that is more than qualified in repairing the office chairs. We haven’t encountered any problem since day 1 of operation. Of course, problems like wear and tear on the mesh can’t be fixed or claimed. Such cases are rare, but we are working on a viable solution for those facing such woes though.
How is the after-sales handled?
According to Herman Miller’s policy, warranty is not transferable. Since the chairs were purchased with our company. The replacement parts have to be filled in by us which we are happy to do and been doing for the past decade.
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 an inventory of 8,000 high quality 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 to 1 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 material used are all subjected to stress tests and should last through proper use. Noise and mesh are hard to get warranty claim, as they are normally termed as wear and tear so we are upfront that it can’t be claimed. Mesh won’t tear unless something sharp protrudes it, the mesh or fabric used by Herman Miller are rated to work under rub test to endure 200000 rubs, this is 4x normal industrial standard. That being said, don’t mean that the fabric is indestructible and can be torn intentionally or unintentionally by users by mistake.
The number of remaining cases that require real repairs at best is less than 3% 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, that’s not the case for us.
Also in most countries that follow Herman Miller’s warranty policy, 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 have multiple authentication stamps 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 95% of the cases.
The necessary information to submit is the serial sticker or warranty stamps, and photo/video of the fault. Chairs returned must match the serials or warranty seals embedded on the chair. 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 replaced the original serial with our own labels and warranty seals. 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 big authorized local distributors are going under nowadays, crushed by the huge overhead of rental and labor. What happens to support from any agent?
For us, we split the issue into two zones of concerns.
- 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, many are even larger.
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 standby 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 above, 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 can only purchase new chairs to qualify for our tax reduction, which is the main benefit for us to organize the mass order. The more expensive the product, the more rebates we have. There’s really no point in us to sell refurbished units as we need the support from authorized agents as much as the buyers. If we were to sell refurbished or fake chairs, we would have sold them from the start and should have unlimited stock since there are so many used ones in the United States. Instead, you will always find that our chairs are often out of stock, with a limited quantity available.
As we mentioned, there are no fake Aeron chairs in the market.
We had been around for a decade and had been very transparent, running the mass order from various sites then anchored at Hardwarezone forums. If there were any deception, it would be exposed from the start.
All our chairs sold till April 2017 were issued with the original serials, there were hundreds of chairs sold. We later replaced the serials with our own tamper proof stickers due to various reasons stated here. Anyway, the serial stickers won’t be that important to buyers because only the original purchaser can file for warranty. Which had been happening for almost a decade. We even have our technicians to fix them up so the service that you can enjoy is as good as it can be.
Why Herman Miller and not other brands?
There are definitely other brands but the Herman Miller chairs are the most recognized 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 buyers deem that it’s definitely worth to buy from us. As the Herman Miller chairs we sell are purchased from USA, are made in USA and sold cheaper. A better choice than those sold in APAC, sometimes 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. It grew in parallel and we do not utilize warranty services from the local retailers to make it fair. 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 as long it’s not under the excluded list, we have a long list of vendors to call in the United States. Different from Singapore, which is monopolized by a single provider. We have strong relationships with repair specialists who are dedicated to repairing Herman Miller chairs.
We the organizers, many of us worked for MMCs with high standards and we strive to carry the same level of good service to you.