How important is having a document of understanding?


When you are dealing with wood there are many characteristics that the uneducated eye would think is a defect. For this reason it is best for you to know as much information as you can on wood species and also educate the end user and have them sign a document of understanding. This way if something is in question then there are several avenues to develop a reason and solution when it arises. Many manufacturers have a document of understanding that can be used by their buyers or you can create your own.

Let’s discuss some of the items that go into a document of understanding. First, you need the client’s name and date, your name as the supplier, the door style name, wood species, and the finish name. Next, you will need a section describing the finish process and the finish techniques in detail with possibilities of what could arise. Add into the information the materials and how they react with humidity and moisture and also natural light shading. You may also want to address expansion and contraction of the client’s chosen material. When describing the characteristics of the different woods make sure you include enough detail that covers any material characteristic that may be perceived as a flaw or defect. Remember, the real reason you are doing this is to protect yourself, but also to inform and educate the client. In the end, it’s a professional approach and positive means of communication that can help resolve any misunderstandings that may arise. Also, remember to have this document signed and dated by yourself and the client.

I have seen firsthand where a document of understanding was not completed, and the end user is now requesting a refund because they did not understand, in detail, what they were buying. After speaking with the end users, I was able to educate and inform them more about the particular wood species used in their cabinetry, and how the perceived defect was actually a natural characteristic of the wood being used. So put a document together yourself or use a manufactures document of understanding. And if you have questions, feel free to consult with us on what should / should not be included. No matter how you do it make sure you have this document at the time the order has been placed.