About Baker Manufacturing
Baker has been making height-adjustable tables longer than just about anybody. With nearly 20 years of experience under our belts, we know a lot -- not only about how to make height-adjustable tables, but also about how to make height-adjustable tables work in virtually any type of office layout, from private offices to systems environments, to open plans.Ergonomics, Engineering. Design.
The industry leader in height-adjustable innovation and design, we’re experts in motion control technology, with over 20 patents protecting our unique adjustment mechanisms. We make tables dimensioned and finished to integrate seamlessly with systems and storage products.
A Brief History of Height-Adjustable Tables
(We wrote the book.)
When Baker first began producing height-adjustable tables, our customers were primarily concerned with preventing employee injury due to repetitive motion or constrained movement while working with computers. Our early ergonomic designs culminated in the 1998 launch of Zydeco, which revolutionized height-adjustable furniture with refined motion-control mechanisms that let people raise and lower their own work surfaces.
As computers became everyday tools for professionals and executives as well as data entry clerks and telemarketers, aesthetics and compatibility with a variety of office environments became important. Working with designer Tom Newhouse, we developed the M Collection: elegant, streamlined tables in a variety of organic shapes. Introduced in 2003, it was designed to look equally at home in executive suites and systems environments.
Today our customer’s first concern is often with recruiting and retaining valuable knowledge workers who want to be able move and adjust their own work environments. In 2007, we launched NEXT, our most innovative, agile, and mobile table yet. This award-winning design is quickly becoming one of the most coveted and specified pieces of furniture in high-profile computer, petroleum, electronics, and insurance companies.A Historical Timeline
- entered into GSA contract, manufacturing institutional modular furniture for the US Military
- 1970 to 1986
- world's largest manufacturer of US Military wardrobes and lockers under GSA contract
- 1970 to 1999
- solely designed, developed and manufactured the first automated prescription counting system, APS™, holding over 20 patents (Baker's APS division became the largest producer of automated prescription counter systems in the world.)
- formed Mētier Division to produce high-functioning ergonomic height-adjustable systems
- launched Step One™ - an advanced height-adjustable system
- launched Zydeco™ - revolutionized height-adjustable furniture
- Baker APS trade; acquired by McKesson, a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company
- 1999 to present
- designed and manufactured the first ergonomic clerical counter for the US Postal Service based on key ergonomic criteria; currently the single supplier of all US Post Office counter systems
- co-developed M Collection™ free standing height-adjustable table systems with noted industrial designer Tom Newhouse
- M Collection™ receives ADEX Silver award, Good Design Award and is displayed at the Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design
- introduced M Collection™ Training and Learning Tables
- launched NEXT™ - another revolution in height-adjustable, free-standing tables
- Baker remains the only HUB Zone certified manufacturer committed to the development and manufacturing of height-adjustable tables
- to date, multiple patents have been assigned to Baker in the area of motion control and height-adjustable freestanding tables
The Economics of Ergonomics
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A Baker Manufacturing Co. Inc. Information Document
Prepared by: M. Franz Schneider
Over the last 25 years, the basic principles of office ergonomics have become muddled by complex words and too much hype.
When the rhetoric is removed, three guiding principles remain as the foundation of office ergonomics. These principles set the path towards an office that is both healthy and productive.
Principle Number 1:
People are the sole source of office productivity
In ancient times, business was conducted between merchants gathered around a flickering fire. Each had something the other wanted. By exchanging goods of value, a deal was struck and both parties achieved business success. Today, the flickering glow may come from a computer, but the basic parameters remain unaltered. The interaction of people with people is the basic building block of business.
While pursuing the latest management "trend de jour" in office productivity, we need to go back to basics and remember the importance of people. There is no such thing as a productive office building, a productive computer, or a productive chair; there are only productive people. People are the single and only source of productivity in the office. Remove people from the office equation and all work grinds to a halt. If people perform well, then a business performs well. If people perform poorly, then a business performs poorly.
Principle Number 2
Office productivity depends on healthy people
Human performance and business performance is inseparable. Consequently, improving human performance is a major goal of management. Because the office environment can increase or decrease human performance, managers need to view ergonomics as a management tool.
Good office ergonomics can improve performance. Poor ergonomics can destroy it. At the extreme end of the poor ergonomics continuum is illness. Painful symptoms and illnesses that are commonly associated with the office workplace fall under the broad umbrella term CTD or Cumulative Trauma Disorder. Cumulative Trauma Disorder is the final evidence that we are failing in our support of human productivity. Business is faced with a simple choice when it comes to ergonomics. Pain or Productivity?Office productivity depends on healthy people
The difference between what healthy people can do, and what the physical work environment allows them to do is called the productivity gap. The productivity gap is the difference between mediocre and outstand performance. The most effective way to close the productivity gap is to remove barriers to human and team performance. Much has been written about removing organizational barriers, but management barriers are likely a secondary concern.This relationship is best understood through athletics. Your running shoes need to be the right size before the coach can start perfecting your running style. The first step towards office productivity is to address the physical quality of the workplace and the health of your employees.
In his famous treatise, Maslow described the needs of the human and prioritized physical needs before social needs. Maslow's hierarchy of needs correctly describes our needs in the office. If pain and illness are bombarding an office worker, whether he or she has the correct span of control or a well calibrated empowerment organization are irrelevant. Individual needs for physical health and well being must be fulfilled before organizational well being becomes important.Office productivity depends on healthy people
Your organization will only perform as effectively as the ability of each person. And,each person will only perform as effectively as his or her personal skills and motivation will allow. It has been proven that poor office ergonomics contributes to pain and illness and that the pain and illness caused by poor ergonomics will inhibit motivation and degrade productivity.
Such a simple concept can sometimes get lost amid the challenges of today's business climate, but if you look at your own personal experience, it is really simple. We all know that there is nothing motivational about working in pain or being sick. Recognizing this fact, we must view employee health as a basic building block of human performance, and human performance as the basic building block of corporate performance. Removing pain and illness from the office is the first step in closing the productivity gap.
Healthy people perform better than sick people!
Principle Number 3
Good ergonomics is good business
When cost justifying office ergonomics,we can use the same tools employed to cost justify a new photocopier. The premise is simple; the benefits of value added performance must outweigh the capital costs.
The beginning point in cost justification of office ergonomics is an introduction to human resource cost accounting. It is important to understand the total cost of an individual to your company. The total cost of an employee includes:
- The salary of the individual
- + the benefits offered by your company
- + the cost of overhead to support the individual
- = Total Cost
- $40,000 in salary
- + $12,000 in benefits (about 30% of salary)
- + $14,000 in overhead (about 35% of salary)
- = $66,000 Total Cost
This person now has a cost to your business of $33 per hour. This is based upon a 2000 hour year which is derived from 50 weeks, 40 hours per week or 2,000 hours which is the standard year for most accounting equations.Good ergonomics is good business
Given the wide cost spectrum in the USA today, let's use average numbers to develop our position. A recent Lou Harris study defined the mean salary for a cross section of full time office personnel as $23,950 per year. Applying a benefits burden of 30% with an overhead burden of 35% yields a total burden cost of $39,517.50. This calculates out to $19.75 per hour. We will use this "average" number for our evaluations.Good ergonomics is good business
There are two tactics for evaluating the contribution ergonomics makes to corporate performance. Good ergonomics can improve human performance. Poor ergonomics can inhibit human performance and contribute to illness. Very simply, the differences are whether we focus on the positive aspects of a value added approach or direct our attention to avoiding negatives through cost avoidance. Many companies have had success with the value added approach. Using the value added approach, benefits from the cost avoidance for worker's compensation, replacement costs for injured workers or retraining costs are icing on the corporate cake.
The value added approach to ergonomics is simple. We need only answer one question. Will ergonomics furnishing allow you to do more work?
The concept is called - Time on Task. An employer does not derive value from employees discussing the latest Dilbert cartoon, walking to the water cooler, or returning late from lunch. Although many parts of the complex mosaic called office productivity depend on non-job directed onversations, the ultimate denominator of office productivity is:How much of what you are paid to do, do you actually do?
These activities are referred to as core functions; how many customer support phone calls do they respond to, how many fields of data do they enter in a spreadsheet, or how many semi-conductor designs do they develop on your CAD system. Time on task is a denominator that directly responds to these core functions. If an employee is working on a core task, they are directly contributing the the company, if they are off task, at best, they are contributing indirectly, and in many cases, are just goofing off.
What if office ergonomics could be used to leverage more core function time? Could a fully adjustable workstation provide a worker with an additional 10 minutes per day of more time on task, and ten less minutes per day of wandering away from his or her desk because his or her back hurts?
Could full range adjustability give your workers an additional 10 minutes per day of comfort and ten less minutes of leaving early because they are "burned out" for the day? Research studies into office ergonomics have defined improvements approaching a 25% increase in time on task. We will continue with a conservative approach and use a number of 1/10th of what may be possible. Ten minutes per day is only one tenth of what researchers tell us is possible, yet ten minutes per day yields approximately $825.00 in value added performance per year.
One of the factors that many people overlook when developing a cost benefit scenario for office furniture is that we do not have to cost justify the entire price of the workstation.
Good ergonomics is good business
People need to work somewhere. The difference between non-adjustable furniture and full range adjustable furniture is the cost gap that must be bridged. Let's estimate the cost difference at $700.00.
Another of the factors that we often overlook is the service life of the workstation. The purchase price is not a recurring annual cost. Although benefits persist throughout the life to the workstation, the cost is amortized over the life of the product. The life of a workstation is typically seven years. Consequently, we are looking at a yearly cost for the fully adjustable workstation of $100.00. Now the costs of ergonomic office furniture can be evaluated.
One of the cheapest things we can ever do to improve human performance is to spend $100.00 per year on good office workstations, which will provide a productivity improvement of $825.00. Compared to the costs for educational seminars, quality circles, employee counseling, or employee recognition lunches, ergonomic workstations are cheap.Summary
Summarizing what we have learned, let's look back at the three basic principles of office ergonomics again.
- People are the sole source of office productivity.
- Office productivity depends on healthy people.
- Good ergonomics is good business.
Applying these three principles allows you to develop an office environment that is both healthy and productive. When the techniques of cost accounting are used to evaluate the benefits of office ergonomics, it becomes clear human productivity improvements are an untapped resource for many companies. Good office ergonomics is like getting extra personnel, without paying more salary.
What would it be worth to your company if once per week every employee skipped lunch and worked at their desks instead? Sounds like a dream doesn't it? It's not a dream; it is the reality of office ergonomics and the value of increased productivity.
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Baker Manufacturing Company believes the quality of human life is dependent on both economic vitality and a healthy, sustainable natural environment. Therefore we are committed to building sustainability into every aspect of our business, developing and sharing our knowledge inside and outside of our local community and industry. Our pledge to our clients is to provide solutions that are produced to achieve extended life cycles using raw materials that contain the highest elements of renewed resources available from our suppliers. These factors ensure that the products manufactured in our facilities maximize productivity and provide positive economic impact for our clients. Superior design and engineering complement our efforts to conserve and re-use raw material resources throughout the products lifecycle.
Product Content Sustainability
- Cold-rolled steel used in the manufacturing process of base assemblies contains a minimum 10% recycled material content to achieve both sustainability and longevity requirements.
- Steel used in this process is 100% recyclable
- Extruded Aluminum used in the manufacturing process of base assemblies and M Collection Stanchion Kits contains 25-50% recycled material.
- Aluminum extrusions are 100% recyclable.
- Surface Core Materials
- Particle Core material used in the manufacture of surfaces contains 100% recycled and recovered fiber material. They are certified to contain 80% post-industrial wood fiber and 20% recovered wood fiber on a dry weight basis and contain 100% fast growing Southern Pine from sustainable managed forests. Particle core material (particle board) is purchased from FSC certified facilities.
- Surface Laminates
- Laminate materials used in the finished surface materials contain 40% recovered material.
- Laminates may be recycled into post-consumer recoverable material.
- Edge Materials
- Edge materials used for the manufacture of finished surfaces contain 10-15% recycled material.
- Miscellaneous Content
- Miscellaneous parts such as electric motors, gears, chain drives, rollers, etc. are recyclable into future use items.
Manufacturing Process Sustainability
- Waste Materials
- Steel and Aluminum Waste
- Metal Cuttings leftover from the process of sub-assembly part formation are 100% recycled.
- Miscellaneous Waste Materials
- Materials recovered in the form of raw material packaging; paper, cardboard and steel, are re-used within our facility and as out-bound internal packaging.
Baker Manufacturing has long-established core values associated with health and safety, environmental stewardship, honesty and integrity and corporate and community citizenship. Furthermore, Baker Mfg. Co proactively promotes the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere.
Baker Manufacturing Company ensures a safe and equitable workplace for employees through established hiring practices and fair and consistent treatment and application of company policies and procedures. Baker remains dedicated to the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making.
Baker Manufacturing’s belief in and support of Corporate citizenship recognizes that businesses have a responsibility to respect the individuals, the community and the environment in a way that when devising or implementing any rightful business strategy they will abide by laws and regulations, and adhere to high ethical standards. This can be accomplished through Baker’s continual dedication and awareness to:
- Maintaining a high standard of business ethics
- Working as part of the community; i.e. a corporate partnership with United Way, working with local high schools and youth organizations, etc.
- Protecting the environment;
- Providing good corporate governance;
- Engaging in fair trade and business practices,
- Fair workplace relations including fair and equitable hiring practices, continued employee education, compliance with OSHA and EEOC and all state and federal regulations.
Baker News Archives
NEXT™ wins prestigious Best of NeoCon© 2008 Gold
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Chicago, Ill. - Baker Manufacturing's NEXT™ height-adjustable table series takes Gold at The Best of NeoCon© 2008 product competition in the Height-Adjustable Worksurfaces category. Winners were announced Monday, June 11 at the NeoCon© awards breakfast.
NEXT™ is Baker's newest advancement in motion control and workspace solutions. This innovative line of height-adjustable and fixed office tables will be offered exclusively through Herman Miller's distribution channel, and is currently on display at NeoCon© in Herman Miller's National Design Center, Suite 321 in the Mart, and in Baker's display area on the 8th floor of the Mart in Booth 8-9048.
The unique, patent-pending design of the NEXT™ tables offers unparalleled versatility, as the legs are independent with no connector bar, and can be attached to any table surface, and spaced apart for different widths, as needed. This design makes the table light and mobile while maximizing legroom and storage room beneath.
The NEXT™ tables are an artful blend of form and function, yet are affordably priced. The clean, crisp lines of the design are visually light in scale and are meant to integrate with Herman Miller's systems products and for private office use. Tom Newhouse, aesthetic designer for NEXT™, says, "It's great when a product that supports the core values of aesthetics, ergonomics, sustainability and economics receives such prestigious recognition within the industry."
The NEXT™ tables advanced ergonomics permit users to adjust the table height for optimum comfort, contributing to maximum health and productivity benefits in any workplace.
For more information on NEXT™ table solutions, contact Baker Manufacturing, 1.888.512.7036. To view Best of NeoCon© entries visit www.contract-network.com.What's NEXT?
Baker Manufacturing introduces innovative height-adjustable table line
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Chicago, Ill. - Baker Manufacturing is unveiling its NEXT product line, the company's newest advancement in motion control and workspace solutions, at the NeoCon World's Trade Fair from June 11-13, 2007, at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. This innovative line of height-adjustable and fixed office tables will be offered exclusively through Herman Miller's distribution channel, and will be shown at NeoCon in Herman Miller's National Design Center, Suite 321 in the Mart, and in Baker's display area on the 8th floor of the Mart in Booth 8-9048.
The unique, patent-pending design of the NEXT tables offers unparalleled versatility, as the legs are independent with no connector bar, and can be attached to any table surface, and spaced apart for different widths, as needed. This design makes the table light and mobile while maximizing legroom and storage room beneath.
With aesthetics designed by Tom Newhouse, the NEXT tables are an artful blend of form and function, yet affordably priced. The clean, crisp lines of the design are visually light in scale and are meant to integrate with Herman Miller's systems products and for private office use.
The NEXT tables permit users to adjust the table height for optimum ergonomic comfort, providing maximum health and productivity benefits in the workplace.
"Ergonomic seating is highly advanced," said Mike Agee, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Baker Manufacturing, "yet the ergonomic benefits are not maximized because of the fixed height of most work surfaces. Without the correct surface height, people are only addressing half the problem. Adjusting the table height allows the table to work in concert with the chair. This results in a correct, comfortable posture for all individuals including those outside typical height ranges. Simply adding height adjustability to an existing work station will enhance performance and productivity."
For more information on NEXT table solutions, contact Baker Manufacturing, 1.888.512.7036