Proximity Blog

proximity kitchensystem task centers 1: Supply





In the proximity kitchensystem philosophy, there are seven Task Centers: 

  1. 1. Supply

  2. 2. Storage Before

  3. 3. Wet Prep

  4. 4. Hot Prep

  5. 5. Service

  6. 6. Scullery (clean-up)

  7. 7. Storage After

Manufacturers bypassing dealership networks?

Below is a comment I made recently on a LinkedIn forum. The complaint voiced by the original post was that some manufacturers were beginning to sell directly to the public. Please excuse the first bit of snarky commentary regarding KBIS.

Begin LinkedIn comment:

Very occasionally typos offer amazing wisdom: “recent Kitchen and Bath sow”…perfect.

To come back to the issue, however, this is a little like any other problem: it’s not the core issue or model, it’s the agreements made or broken by the parties involved that cause it.

There are advantages for a manufacturer in having their own showroom(s). There’s control of the presentation in its many subordinate issues (how often displays are changed, how tightly the brand image is controlled, whether to have public events, etc.), the quality of installation (employees vs. contractors, they each have their own issues…). There’s the assumption of both the manufactured profit AND the retail profit to be gained if the business is run properly.

Design adds value…read between the lines

This is a comment I posted on a LinkedIn forum:

I hate to pound the drum, but I’ve been saying this my whole life: DESIGN is what makes this (the kitchen) business run.

It is a service without which money, time and other resources are wasted. I don’t know how anyone can contemplate executing a kitchen without the help of a designer.

But they do.

Until people make an effort to understand the difference between price and value, we’re going to see some version of this conversation.

We’re going to keep hearing about the infamous “work triangle” which is the worst fraud ever to be perpetrated in the name of design principles.

On the other hand, the retail markup on cabinetry may be the next sacred cow to die.

If you’re taking your “design fee” out of “markup”, you’ve left yourself without recourse.

Charge for design. Take less markup. Educate the client as to where the value is created in the process…it’s in DESIGN.

This was originally intended for people “in the industry”, but I thought it might help for everyone to see.

Money spent on design fees can be the best money you ever spend. It prevents mistakes, it saves money, it allows a client to “get the details sorted out” on paper, before things are built incorrectly and then have to be altered or torn out and re-worked.

Design adds value

It’s not always enough to design something for a client, especially the way things are today. Today, we need our clients engaged in the design process. We need them involved in a collaboration perhaps not of equal but of complimentary talent, information and motivation.

Very often you’ll need to educate the client to a point where they become aware not only of design but of how to think about it.

Really?  I’ve been doing this almost 38 years, and I have done my best to learn something or some hundred things EVERY DAY, including weekends, and I’m supposed to share this with every client?  Worse, I’m supposed to share how I reached my conclusions?  Impossible, you’ll likely say.

And you’ll be exactly right.  Unfortunately…

There’s some younger, smarter, more tech facebook twitter pinterest houzz cultivate whatever-savvy individual who has decided that he can simply get between you and your client and take the work you rightly should be doing. Worse, that person may not even have any schooling in design.  Five years from now, this guy’s your competition…

And that’s exactly wrong, given the predictable result.


Right and wrong, in this case, are irrelevant.

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Why I Work

I love design. LOVE it. Of the various design project types I take on, kitchens are the most fun for me because of their innate complexity. Issues included are functional, technical, aesthetic, personal, interpersonal, egotistical, spatial, logistical, financial…the list goes on but that’s plenty for now.

For someone who loves to solve problems it’s just a little slice of heaven. For someone who also likes to help others the slice gets bigger; add honing one’s craft on a daily basis and it starts to get seriously…pleasant.

However, the real treat comes from the fact that once a project is complete, I’ve been able to change a clients life. When I see the look on a clients’ face when the result of all the work has finally become real to them, how much more organized, easier and generally pleasant the client’s life is as a result of the work we’ve done together; there’s really nothing quite like it.

I work in many different design disciplines. Of all of them, kitchens are consistently the most fun.

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proximity kitchensystem task centers 1 of 7: Supply

Supply is the first of the seven “task centers” in the proximity kitchensystem philosophy.

When we discuss supply, we talk about the various activities involved in bringing food, cleaning gear, tools, equipment, cookware and so forth into the kitchen. We could talk about grocery shopping as the main activity and for the most part we’d be correct for the vast majority of the life of a given kitchen. In this case, however, we’re talking about the design process which gives life to the kitchen, and dictates for the whole of that life whether it’s truly functional or not.

In the design process we have to consider the sequence of tasks as they occur in cookery, so “supply” takes on a much wider scope of influence. Things like the location of the kitchen relative to the entrance through which the groceries will be brought into the home…the location of the pantry and fridge relative to that entry…landing area for the supplies immediately inside or outside of the kitchen entry…are there steps up or down anywhere in the path from the conveyance to the storage area…access to the actual storage system…the list goes on.


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