Since their beginnings in 1987 as a small, father and son business in provincial New Zealand, Knight Group has enjoyed substantial growth to become the manufacturer & wholesaler of New Zealand’s largest range of office furniture products, and expansion into overseas markets. As a 100% New Zealand owned company that commits itself to working closely with a nationwide dealer network to provide unique, high-value office furniture. With the capacity to provide entire office fit-outs, they have amassed a vast experience in supplying furniture up and down the country to offices, schools, training centres and city councils.
The Knight Story is all about family.
The Knight story began in 1987 when New Zealand was heading towards the free-market and corporate expansion was starting to take place. Surplus office furniture was plentiful in the main centres and had a ready market in provincial areas, providing an incentive to commence business in the west coast city of New Plymouth.
From the outset, this second-hand office furniture business flourished and quickly began to expand from being a small operation in a garage to a thriving inner-city retail store. This proved to be the ideal environment for the owner’s three sons to grow up in who were all introduced at a young age to the office furniture industry.
The owner’s sons often recall being part of what their father did, and watching first-hand how he grew the business in those early days. Many valuable things were learnt about running a business that conventional study might not teach. The hands-on-experience meant that looking after customers well has come very naturally.
Over time the family business developed its focus towards new furniture and office fit outs. This provided great opportunity for the family’s three sons to grow within their roles and this fast growing company soon saw the need to look to overseas markets to procure new office seating lines that would give the business a competitive edge.
Initially it was a steep learning curve dealing with overseas suppliers, but with a little persistence they found they were able to offer products of far better quality to our customers.
This innovation proved to be a real success and it soon developed into wholesale trade with other office furniture retailers who the business had formed relationships with. By 1995 the wholesale division of the business had grown so significantly that it was established as a separate entity and Knight Business Furniture was born.
Over the following decade the business expanded rapidly. With the introduction of desking product and the amalgamation of a thriving hospitality furniture company, the company was renamed Knight Group NZ Ltd in 2006.
Making the move to supply a complete office furniture range was a logical one for Knight Group. It now has become a real point of difference with their dealer network too, who really enjoy being able to deal with one company for desking, seating and screens – it makes a large scale fit-out job a whole lot more straight forward.
Now, in 2012, with a dynamic team of over 35 staff, Knight Group has become an industry leader and the wholesaler of New Zealand’s largest range of office furniture products. Currently Knight Group supplies over 375,000 furniture items per year to the New Zealand market, through a network of over 300 distributors. Current production volume of seating products is 2600 chairs per month, with the capacity to produce 4000 chairs per month using both its North Island and South Island factories.
The owner attributes his family’s success to staying close to his core beliefs. From the out set Knight Group has intentionally approached their business with a diligent attention to service and integrity. This stems from the owner’s philosophy that it might take a great deal of innovation to build something that you can pass onto your children’s children, but to achieve that you must stay close tradition – and family will always be deeply connected to that.
Having all principal shareholders actively involved in the day-to-day operation of the business, Knight has become a responsive, forward moving company that aspires to innovate and create powerful brands that carry a commitment of quality and integrity.
A Company focused on leadership
In conjunction with working as a family, Knight Group places a strong emphasis on leadership and training, which is shown in their investment in staff development initiatives.
The Knight management team believes it is a crucial element in growing their company in a highly competitive, quality-driven market.
Knight’s aim is to keep improving their game on all levels by developing every team member in their level of leadership. The Knight Operations Manager comments; “You can develop individuals in a team and experience a certain level of success. But when you develop a team of leaders, that’s when an organisation begins achieve explosive growth”
This attention to leadership has helped to establish Knight Group as a frontrunner in medium to high-end office furniture solutions in New Zealand. Their operation is currently expanding to supplying dealer networks in North America and Australia, which means furniture is built to national and international standards and codes.
Product built to last
“We are aware of the long-term effects of manufactured goods on the earth’s limited resources. Our material choices and production processes respect them.” Says the Knight, Product Development Manager. “We are committed to this for the long haul. We build our products to last and back you up with service, parts and compatible upgrades - for as long as you care to use them!”
Most Knight products are backed a 10 year warranty, which makes them a great choice for businesses who want low-fuss, functional office environments. Products are designed around providing users with correct ergonomic features, while creating office spaces that are organized, efficient and aesthetically inspiring.
The Strauss chair is a great example of their early product development and design. In the late 90s some real advances were made in better, adjustable ergonomic support.
In 2000, Massey University Professors, Stephen Legg and Dr William Cohen put the Strauss through the rigorous testing of New Zealand’s only tertiary ergonomic program of its day. The adjustable seat-slide and back lumbar, combined with high-density moulded seat foam proved to be key benefits in the Massey report.
Since the Strauss, Knight chairs have become progressively more ergonomically advanced, featuring even more anatomically contoured high-density seat cushions to provide proper distribution of seating pressure. Components and mechanisms are selected from a network of reputable manufacturers worldwide with the aim of total ergonomic control. This means users can set their chair to suit their physique – which results in more comfort for much longer.
Gaslifts have a major load bearing function, carrying the entire weight of you and your chair. Only premium quality Class 4 gas springs are used. These gas springs are guaranteed for life.
The larger wheel circumference of 60mm twin wheel castors make it easier for you to move when seated, requiring less effort.
Knight Group has also developed height adjustable desking systems, mesh seating and expanded their own range of high-quality fabrics. Further developments mean seating upholstery and cushioning in contact with the body is treated with bactericide to provide a hygienic barrier against bacteria and fungus, prolonging the life of the chair.
Knight’s continuous improvement program often means their products are evolved over time through research, analysis, review and prototyping - until an excellent product is found. While product design involves a fair amount of investment, the value becomes obvious when the purchaser intuitively understands a product’s function, and senses the quality of its construction.
By developing and building their own office furniture products Knight Group are far better able to pass on cost/value benefits to their customers, and because they also supply such high volumes they can also provide great price stability.
Planning for our tomorrow
As an integral part of the design process, Knight Group supports policies and practices to protect our environment, conserve natural resources and reduce waste.
Knight Group is committed to helping safeguard all natural habitats and communities affected by their operations. They strive to make the most efficient and responsible use of renewable resources, including water, soil and forests.
A major consideration of sustainable management is reducing generation of waste, so consumers can reduce the impact of office furniture on the environment by choosing to remanufacture or recycle their Knight Group product at the end of its life.
Knight Group has developed the CIRCLE OF LIFE™ Environmental Program to provide clients with the opportunity to dispose of furniture in a sustainable way. NZ Customs Service and Trade Me are two organisations who have used this service recently.
The CIRCLE OF LIFE™ is a free program that involves the collection of furniture from the customer when they no longer have use for it. Items are collected and Knight Group will either donate it to a recognized charitable organisation to extend its lifecycle; or re-manufacture it as a “near-new” product. This process helps to reduce demand on raw material and energy resources. When products are beyond salvage, they are dismantled; separated by material and sent to an approved recycler.
Choosing to build durable products that have a long-term performance and value also highlights Knight Group’s aim to place less demand on natural resources. The comprehensive Knight furniture range is a well-proven selection of office furniture that is not only designed to hold its own within a wide range of stylish office interiors, but will also consistently excel amongst the demands of a busy office - for many years after it is purchased.
Along with quality product, the smooth running of any complex office fit out project relies heavily on how well contractors and service providers can carry out their tasks on time. Knight’s strong understanding and international experience in large-scale office fit-out projects provides a unique advantage to project managers and space planners.
Through their dealer network, Knight Group provides comprehensive assistance to their customers in areas such as product choice, space planning and 3D modelling services, right through to furniture delivery and installation. Architects and specifiers who choose to work with a Knight Dealer enjoy a world-class office environment, delivered on time and on budget.
Knight Group aspires to be a client-driven company that consistently delivers the best products and services in a cost-effective way. They aspire to innovate and create powerful brands that carry a commitment of quality and integrity.
This is shown in Knight Group’s commitment to designing and maintaining the best systems and operations. Their constant improvement program includes their internal infrastructure in an effort to create a leaner, more-efficient operation that maintains a strong system of internal governance and controls. And finally by maintaining strong financial discipline they find they can minimise the influence of external economic factors.