Springtime has arrived, which means it’s time to celebrate and showcase our newest BCFA Member of the Month, Pledge Office Chairs! We began the first day of Spring by speaking to the Sales and Marketing Director, Stephen Russell at Pledge Office Chairs / Edge Design.
Please can you introduce Pledge Chairs / Edge Design?
Pledge Office Chairs was established in May 1970 by David Carter, our Managing Director; the objective was to specialise in the production of swivel adjustable office seating from 180 m2 premises, employing just ten personnel. By 1972 the business had moved to a new purpose-built 464m2 premises, with the workforce expanded to fifty employees. Five years later the company acquired a 2,200 m2 factory and with the expansion of an engineering department introduced robotic welding, automated saw cutting and powder paint plant. During the next ten years, two further sites were acquired bringing total manufacturing and office area to 5,600 m2 employing 120 personnel. Mill Road, Leighton Buzzard, our current site, was acquired in 1991 with over 14,000 m2 of manufacturing area on a self-contained 9-acre site; this then gave Pledge Office Chairs the ideal manufacturing facility to expand for future capacity.
Since then the company has expanded by organic growth and acquisition to an impressive £14 million turnover, employing 150 personnel. Edge Design was conceived in 2003 as a soft seating collection aimed at the mid to high-end markets, and to be attractive to A&D communities, this to date has expanded to over 50% of the company’s turnover.
Can you tell us about your manufacturing process?
Pledge are a “true” office seating manufacturer, not merely component assemblers but has the capability to produce in house components, designed, produced and distributed by our own maintained fleet of liveried delivery vehicles. Pledge boasts in being the only office seating producer in the UK that manufactures “in house” the majority of its components. This claim is supported by a fully equipped metal shop that produces steel frames and internal components. These are all cut, shaped and painted within the company’s 250,000 sq ft manufacturing facility.
Until the late 90’s Pledge also produced all its own mechanisms, with export contracts as far as Canada and Australia. A woodworking shop produces internal structures for soft seating, the assembly of seat boards and the spraying of wooden chair frames. This allows the company to produce new designs without the restraints of additional component suppliers and the problems associated in terms of compatibility and cost.
Do you offer bespoke designs?
Due to Pledge’s “true manufacturing” status, bespoke products are never a problem.
Many of Pledge’s ranges start as a couple of components, and as customers ask for additional shapes, sizes and designs these start to form part of the standard range, and thus produce a range statement that this effective and useful, being totally controlled and lead by customer demand.
What has been Pledge’s most popular product and why do you think that is?
The most popular products by far have been and continue to be “Fifteen” and “Fence”, two booth type products that offer privacy and separation for the busy office environment. These products have been further developed into diner and media applications, with other derivatives planned for the coming months as customer demand requires.
How important is sustainability to your business?
Very Important! It is a company objective to produce as much of the product in house ensuring total control of raw materials and waste disposal. This gives us the ability to manufacture a product to your specification, design and requirements, and still have total control in the development process, with production not dependent on component deliveries from thousands of miles away.
Pledge operate a procurement policy that assesses suppliers via an environmental questionnaire enabling us to evaluate the ability of suppliers to meet our environmental requirements. Our company has very few non-European suppliers with components being manufactured in house or from UK suppliers where possible.
Every seating product has an impact on the environment throughout its lifecycle, from the extraction of the raw materials, production to final disposal and recycling.
As a company Pledge Office Chairs Ltd are committed to reducing the environmental impact of all products produced and distributed from their Bedfordshire manufacturing facility with an ultimate goal of contributing towards the creation of a sustainable society for future generations.
Pledge achieved environmental accreditation to ISO 14001:2004 in August 2007. We fulfil this commitment by:
– Complying with environmental regulations
– Conducting operations in an environmentally sound manner
– Applying the principles of reducing, reuse and recycle in all processes
– Promoting environmental responsibility among our employees
– Striving to ensure that suppliers agree to comply with environmental regulation
– Pursuing continuous improvement in our environmental performance
– Clearly communicating Pledge Office Chairs’ environmental policy, practices, and impact to interested parties.
Our overall objectives are:
– The desire to minimise the consumption of natural resources and energy, whilst consuming material goods in moderation
– Reducing the creation of waste by the adoption of improved operating practices and by the recycling of materials whenever practical
– Ensuring all waste and effluent is disposed of in a safe and responsible manner
– Investing in the development of new products and processes that have an improved performance regarding their impact on the environment
– Commitment from directors, staff, suppliers and customers an understanding of environmental issues in the context of our business.
To find out more about Pledge’s Sustainability, click here.
What can we expect to see from Pledge in the next 5 years?
Pledge and the edge design brand have big expansion plans in the next five years!
Certainly top of the agenda is a desking system, for 2021 we have launched 2Gether a table system, offering coffee, desk and poser height options, we already offer a screen for the desk height version. Over the coming months, we plan to expend the range statement. Finishes and sizes etc, with investment in CAD etc.
Contact Pledge through BCFA Product Finder
The BCFA Product Finder is a unique search engine created especially for interior designers to source contract furnishing companies. Utilising this platform will support your findings for upcoming projects, with over 200 members profiles showcasing the latest product launches, new materials available, industry news and design trends.