Take Our Survey

May 6th, 2015 by admin

Higher education facilities managers: Do you feel that the act of refinishing furniture rather than replacing it is a sound business decision?

a. Yes, because it’s cost-efficient
b. Yes, because it’s a sustainable practice
c. Yes, because it is both cost-efficient and a sustainable practice
d. No

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April 29th, 2015 by admin

Hoteliers: Do you feel that the act of refinishing furniture rather than replacing it a sound business decision?

a. Yes, because it’s cost-efficient
b. Yes, because it’s a sustainable practice
c. Yes, because it is both cost-efficient and a sustainable practice
d. No

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April 15th, 2015 by admin

Higher education: Do you feel your sustainable practices are important to prospective students?

a. Yes, now more than ever
b. For some students
c. No

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April 8th, 2015 by admin

As a facilities manager in the government, do you feel pressure to replace furniture?

a. Yes, there’s pressure to buy new furniture
b. No, we buy new furniture whenever we want to
c. No, we understand furniture asset management and how to maximize investments

Earth Day 2015: Another hour of unity from brands that demonstrate sustainability all-year

April 2nd, 2015 by TRT Blog

At 8.30pm local time on March 28, lights and electronics were switched off across the globe as part of Earth Hour 2015.

The first Earth Hour was held in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. It is now a global phenomenon, and an open declaration of the global desire to reverse the impact of climate change. Participants switch off electricity to show that they care about the planet, with their efforts echoed by the darkening of famous landmarks such as New York’s Empire State Building, and Big Ben and Buckingham Palace in London.

EH-logos-2Earth Hour is organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), one of the largest and most respected conservation groups in the world. This year’s event was the largest to date, with hundreds of millions of individuals taking part, spanning 24 time zones, six continents and 172 countries. And it’s not just individuals that take part. Each year more companies, associations and government bodies join in to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

Here at The Refinishing Touch we work with a client base that includes more than 22,000 organizations in hospitality, education and government, so we often see first-hand that organizations certainly do want to commit to sustainable business practices. No good business manager or owner wants to intentionally damage our planet; they want to help inspire positive change.

As expected, this year’s Earth Hour included activities by a number of brands and businesses that we are proud to work with:

  • Wyndham Worldwide, which has won a number of awards and accolades for its commitment to sustainability, participated for the sixth year in a row. Lights were turned off or dimmed, and a number of hotels planned Earth Hour events including many holding candlelit dinners
  • Hilton Worldwide joined in for its fifth Earth Hour, allowing its 12 brands and 4,300-plus properties to get creative. As well as switching off or dimming lights and neon signs, it also held candlelit dinners with low carbon menus, sustainable cocktails, and even organized candle-making for guests
  • Marriott International participated by switching off lights and by publicizing its commitment to reduce energy and water use by 20 percent by 2020. Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton brand also held a series of fun events including candlelit stories, beach barbeques and star-lit meditation

Events like Earth Hour must be applauded for helping to encourage individuals and brands to recognize environmental change. And yet we are also proud to witness the day-to-day commitment of hotels brands such as Hilton, Marriott and Wyndham as they embrace long-term environmental practices such as furniture asset management. After all, there’s little point in any brand switching off the lights for an hour if they continue to buy lower quality, throw-away furniture destined for landfill, unnecessarily multiplying their carbon footprints by a hundred-fold. Sustainable practices pay more respect to the trees that have been cut down to make the furniture we all use day-to-day.

So we look forward to the next Earth Day on March 19, 2016. But for the 51 weeks in between, we will continue to urge all businesses to embed sustainability in day-to-day best practices.

For further information about how to plan and manage your furniture assets, please contact our team at marketing@therefinishingtouch.com.

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Take Our Survey

April 1st, 2015 by admin

If you are a facilities manager in higher education, do you feel pressure to replace campus furniture?

a. No, never
b. No, because we use furniture asset management to update furniture rather than replace
c. Yes, we feel pressure to keep design up to date and relevant for students

Furniture asset management best practices – How to invest in new furniture

March 26th, 2015 by TRT Blog

In previous posts we have covered several furniture asset management best practices including life cycle planning and working onsite. We have also touched on the premise that investing in high-quality furniture underpins good furniture asset management.

When it comes to furniture there is a cost related to poor quality. Budget holders may be tempted to buy sub-standard wooden furniture, under the illusion that spending less at the point of purchase will save overall budget. Instead, poor-quality furniture is expensive in the long run.

Cheap furniture is frequently made out of composite wood materials. Composite materials, or fillers, are man-made through the process of binding strands together with different adhesives. They are made by combining wood fibers with wax, resin or glue then applying heat and pressure to create panels.  The resulting materials include medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard and chipboard. These are common in furniture as veneered, low-cost alternatives to authentic and solid wood.

The Refinishing Touch gives tips on furniture asset managementFor businesses or organizations with the necessity for high-quality furniture, buying furniture made of these wood composites is far from a cost-saving exercise. While composite-based furniture may have a lower initial purchase price compared to high-quality solid wood furniture, the financial benefits are short-lived. First, composite-based furniture is not robust enough for heavy or long-term use. Second, composite-made furniture is not suited to renewing processes such as refinishing, re-upholstery and remanufacturing. As a result, composite furniture cannot be updated when it becomes worn or outdated, and heads to the landfill after a very short shelf life.

Compare this to the lifespan of solid wood furniture. In the industries we work in: hospitality, education and government – the average furniture lifecycle of solid wood furniture is seven years. This figure is doubled when furniture asset management is well-planned and executed, delivering a strong return on initial investment.

So, we urge purchasers, facilities managers and general management to consider the long-term benefits: both financial and sustainable, when buying furniture assets. It’s important to stress that furniture is an investment, and needs to be managed as an asset.

For more information about how to plan and manage your furniture assets, please contact our team at marketing@therefinishingtouch.com.

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Take Our Survey

March 24th, 2015 by admin

As a hotelier, do you feel financial pressure from new Product Improvement Plans?

a. No, never
b. Not usually, it depends on the specific PIP
c. It can vary a lot from PIP to PIP
d. Yes

Sector snapshot: Saving trees, money and landfill in the government sector

March 24th, 2015 by TRT Blog

Government is a market we know very well. For over 37 years our government client base has comprised local and federal government and agencies – including the Executive Office of the President, U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Coastguard. We have applied the best practices of furniture asset management across these organizations including on-site refinishing, re-upholstery and remanufacturing at administrative buildings, offices, barracks, and housing facilities.

American flagThe U.S. Government continues to demonstrate a commitment to green and sustainable activities. In the past week the President signed an Executive Order for federal government to cut greenhouse emissions by 40 percent over the next decade compared to 2008 levels, and to increase the use of renewable energy by 30 percent.

In the announcement the federal government emphasized the executive order’s dual benefits. First the financial benefits, with the press release stating that the new initiatives will save taxpayers up to $18 billion in energy costs. Then the green benefits, with the saving an estimated 26 million metric tons of greenhouse gases – equivalent to taking 5.5 million cars off the road for a year.

We know that whether we are working with government organizations, or with hotels or college campuses, that the dual returns of financial and green benefits is a winner. This is why furniture asset management is a winning strategy. As a General Services Administration (GSA)-certified contractor we have refinished, reupholstered and remanufactured tens of thousands furniture and fittings, and shown hundreds of government organizations how to save on budgets, protect assets and reduce environmental impact. This is why we are asked to share our views with the government press, are trusted by all levels of government, and why we were awarded the Evergreen Award by the GSA.

We’ve previously calculated that the federal government, with its 500,000 buildings, could save more than $714 million through the broad and well-structured application of furniture asset management best practices and cut carbon dioxide emissions by a factor of a hundred.

For the government this isn’t just about best financial practices and demonstrable sustainability – it’s also about public accountability, leadership and setting a good example.

If you want to understand all the benefits of furniture asset management, get in touch with us today.

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The business case for sustainability – don’t forget the furniture

March 19th, 2015 by TRT Blog

We regularly write on sustainability and how it’s in line with the mission of the hotels, colleges and government organizations with which we work.

These organizations want to reduce their carbon footprint, environmental impact, and save their bottom line. To us, and our 22,000-plus customers, furniture asset management practices such as refinishing, re-upholstery and remanufacturing are about being both environmentally responsible and fiscally responsible.

An advisory published by Hotels Combined and Accommodating Green talks about the business case for going green and how this impacts the bottom line, as well as a hotel’s brand value. The advisory shares some business cases of being green, with benefits, ideas and suggested processes to guide hotels that want to be more sustainable. Many of the points, for example: “to set a baseline to focus your efforts and measure success”, “have an action plan” and “train employees”, we agree with completely.

Balancing furniture asset managementWe would add some points to the suggestions, especially around benchmarking and setting a baseline through auditing. We have previously shared views on furniture asset management best practices such as audits and inventory management, and our 37 years of working with hotels has certainly honed our expertise. In that time we have refinished, re-upholstered and remanufactured more than 1.3 million rooms of furniture.

The report outlines the need for audits in engineering, laundry, general management, grounds and recreation, housekeeping, purchasing, kitchen outlets and front desk. This is part of the challenge of effective furniture asset management: it’s a substantial investment and needs to not just have a baseline but to be managed properly throughout its lifecycle and it needs to be an inter-departmental discipline.

Unnecessary furniture creation and unnecessary furniture waste contributes to carbon output. Cutting down a tree contributes an estimated 58 tons of carbon dioxide, transporting, making furniture and packaging adds a further 25-plus tons of carbon dioxide. Multiply those figures by hundreds of rooms in a hotel and you see the scale of the problem.

We applaud the advice from Hotels Combined and Accommodating Green but would add in the proviso that furniture, a substantial investment for any hotel, is audited, documented and tracked in a centralized furniture asset management plan across departments.

Yes, there is certainly a business case for sustainability, but don’t forget the furniture.

Want to understand how to manage your furniture? Contact one of our team today via marketing@therefinishingtouch.com to talk about best practices and the business case for furniture asset management.  

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