University of Tennessee, Knoxville - Interior Design 420

Interior Design Internship

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    Week 2 - CBI - Rachel Mingle

    By rmingle1
    Jul 4, '16 12:20 PM EST



    This week at CBI was a busy one with lots of travel. Monday, we started the work week off with our weekly team meeting to go over the coming events within the next week and the projects we have coming up or are currently working on. We then had a project kickoff meeting on a big project that just went out for a soft bid. They are mainly worried about furniture pricing so we discussed our opportunities, the people we were up against, and what we could do to win the bid. I then helped with the soft bid by figuring out furniture counts and creating solution pages for the client. Tuesday, the president, the sales director, and I met with one of our A&D firms to market our solutions and try to win some more projects with them. We then headed back to the office where I continued to help on the soft bid. After work on Tuesday, three of us headed down to Charlotte, NC. We were staying in Charlotte until Thursday because we all had different reasons we needed to be in the Charlotte office. I was sitting in on Knoll product training Wednesday and Thursday; this training is required for all new employees of CBI. The training teaches how to specify and price out the Knoll product lines. Knoll is CBI’s largest product line so it is important to know how to specify it and sell it to clients. Wednesday after work we were invited to go to a margarita night with the Charlotte office at their Knoll representative’s house which was a fun way to get to know some of the Charlotte employees better. Thursday after training was over, the Charlotte office held an ice cream social and raffle for the whole office. This was a fun way to take a break to bond with some of the Charlotte employees. I also won a basket in the raffle filled with some goodies and Knoll swag. We headed back to Knoxville that night after work. Friday morning, I met with our Knoxville Sales Director to head down to CBI’s Chattanooga office, which just recently opened about three weeks ago. Our president from the Knoxville office has been traveling down to Chattanooga every Thursday and Friday each week to help out. This was a good opportunity to meet our two Chattanooga employees and to see the new office and showroom. Each CBI location is considered a “Learning Center” because all the furniture in the office is Knoll furniture, and furniture that we can potentially sell to clients. This is a great way to take clients into our office and show them actual working furniture before they buy it. While I was in Chattanooga I worked on redrawing the floor plans for the Chattanooga office and updating renders because a few things had changed. I headed home after work with the Knoxville president, which gave me the good opportunity to bond and get to know him a little better.


    Focus –


    Because CBI is a furniture dealer, their project organization and design phases are a little different than the traditional design firm. CBI’s job in a project is to provide the client, whether that be the end user or a design firm, with furniture solutions. Depending on if the project is from an RFP or from referral, CBI may or may not have more opportunity to be creative within the design. Sometimes the client will know exactly what they want and CBI’s role is just to be the mediator between the furniture manufacturers and the client. While other times, it is CBI’s role to provide the client with furniture solutions based off what the client expresses his/her needs are. More times than not, when CBI is introduced into a project, the design of the project is done. This makes it a little easier for CBI to provide furniture solutions based off of what was proposed within the design. In rare cases is it CBI’s job to help with the design of a project. If the project is complete and all design is done, then CBI communicates solely with the end user to determine furniture solutions. Sometimes CBI will have a case where they would be working through the design firm to help propose design solutions but this does not happen a lot. CBI provides solutions, the client decides based of the solutions what he or she wants, CBI writes up some price sheets, the client signs off, the product is ordered and delivered directly to the client, CBI has an installation contractor to unload and install product, CBI overviews installation, and once the project is complete CBI goes through with a punch list to determine all product was installed correctly. As far as timeline, CBI usually works off the deadline of when the end user of a project needs to be in their space. Whether the building is ready or not this is the deadline CBI works off of. CBI also has a 100% on time completion of projects.


    Meet –

    Meet Dean Vance! He is the President and Executive Director of both the CBI Knoxville and Chattanooga locations. I had the opportunity to ride back to Knoxville with him from Chattanooga on Friday and I really got to know him as a person not just as the President. He is a genuine person who really believes in CBI and company’s philosophies. He really strives for communication and compatibility in the workplace when he’s looking to hire people. He also believes that you should love where you work and the people you work with and I can see this dynamic throughout the CBI offices. He considers this greatly in the hiring process; he does this by allowing everyone in the office the opportunity to meet with the potential employee before hiring, which is a non-traditional way of doing things. He believes that whatever job you apply for, you have to really know that is what you want to do, otherwise you’re going to be miserable. Being a president of a company for years he has seen this happen on multiple occasions. He said to me, if you know you’re good at something, go for that, and if you’re not happy with what you’re doing then leave. He’s a great person with a kind heart and I can’t wait to have more opportunities to learn from him during my internship.

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About this Blog

This will be the community Blog for IDS 420 Summer 2016. Students will post their responses to weekly Journal Assignments here as well as view posts/comments from other participants.

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