Take Our Survey

February 26th, 2015 by admin

Hoteliers: How environmentally-friendly do you think your hotel is?

a. Very, we are constantly researching opportunities and ideas to be more sustainable
b. We adopt certain initiatives and I think we’re above average
c. We’re probably about average
d. We don’t have many sustainable initiatives
e. We’re not environmentally-friendly at all

Customer snapshot: Hyatt Alpharetta

February 24th, 2015 by TRT Blog

During our 37 years of demonstrating the benefits of furniture asset management to more than 22,000 organizations, we have had the honor of working with some of the world’s leading brands and institutions. In the hospitality industry that includes an enviable roster of globally-recognized names such as Hilton, IHG, Marriott, Starwood and Hyatt.

Each of these brands and hotel chains shares the same valuable perspective: they know that furniture is an asset that shouldn’t be overlooked, underused or mismanaged. They also know that the well-documented sustainable benefits of furniture asset management practices, including refinishing, remanufacturing and reupholstery, are accompanied by financial savings of up to 80 percent over replacement budgets.

Crew workingWe are proud of the strength and the longevity of all of our customer relationships. We understand the needs, opportunities and challenges faced by hospitality brands, hotel owners and franchisees. We work with each of these groups at locations across North America.

One of the brands that we have a long history with is Hyatt. It owns 549 hotels, resorts and vacation properties across the world. A recent project completed was for the Hyatt Alpharetta, a hotel operating in the same town in which we run our US headquarters. The project required on-site furniture asset management of a variety of pieces throughout the hotel. The objectives were to protect existing furniture asset investment while updating furniture in line with brand requirements and the needs of the hotel. Sustainability benefits and a sound financial return were essential.

Our team updated more than 275 furniture assets across the Hyatt Alpharetta, including sectional sofas, couches and ottomans. We understand ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ constituents of all furniture pieces thanks to our 37 years’ of experience working with wood-based assets and with our own textiles division, Touch Textiles. Furniture upholstery demands specialized fabric that is durable and meets the high aesthetic demands of global hospitality brands – Touch Textiles provides these functional and decorative, custom fabrics.

Our team worked on-site to re-upholster each furniture piece. By choosing to implement on-site furniture asset management, businesses eliminate the financial and environmental effects of large-scale furniture delivery and removal. The process also reduces downtime. A Refinishing Touch crew will refinish, re-upholster or remanufacture assets in any given guest room, and return it to working order in just one day. This allows hoteliers to close just a few rooms per day, and never an entire wing at once.

The results?

  • 278 pieces of re-upholstered furniture that look great for Hyatt’s guests
  • More than 70 percent of estimated budget saved
  • Carbon dioxide footprint reduced a hundred-fold from an estimated 128 tons to 1.2 tons


These results are typical of what we achieve for hospitality, education and government clients every day. Want to hear more about how we could help your business? Then please get in touch today.

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The Refinishing Touch blog poll result: Room for improvement on college campuses?

February 20th, 2015 by TRT Blog

The higher education industry has been making waves in sustainability for years. We know this from our 37 years of working with colleges across North America, from Arizona to Wisconsin.

Georgetown University chair: After

Georgetown University chair: After

Within this A to Z of colleges, we have consistently reduced budget spend by 80 percent and carbon emissions by 90 percent, dramatically saving spend and lowering carbon footprints. Georgetown University, one of our long-term customers, faced bills 187% higher before introducing furniture asset management in its latest project. The University of Wisconsin-Stout saved 286 tons of carbon dioxide by working with us on one project, not to mention two-thirds of initially-calculated budgets.

We produce these results consistently within colleges, hotels and government organizations across the United States and Canada. To date, we are proud to know we’ve saved more than three million tons of carbon dioxide and an estimated nine million trees.

Meanwhile, each of our markets continue to demonstrate increased commitment to sustainability. In education, the facility managers and campus directors that we work with understand that a solid sustainable practice like furniture asset management is not just a smart environmental move, it is fiscally-responsible behavior.

In education the need to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability to students is also important. It’s a competitive industry and students have ever-higher expectations for welcoming, eco-friendly, and resource-efficient housing options.

We regularly connect with audiences through surveys and polls to gather insights. This includes opinions on issues such as sustainability, education, government procurement and industry-specific topics such as Property Improvement Plans.

Recently we asked present and past students if they would be willing to pay more to live in an environmentally-friendly dorm. A fifth of respondents said yes, while two-fifths said they would depending on the cost. If you take this as a snapshot of attitudes, it shows that up to two-thirds of students would support – ethically as well as financially – a commitment to sustainable practices.

There is an opportunity here, which we know from the tens of thousands of rooms on college campuses we have updated. Some universities have begun implementing sustainable practices on a smaller scale: recycling bins, energy-efficient lighting, eco-friendly take out bags. But there remains a massive opportunity to educate students on sustainable furniture asset management. Figuratively- and literally-speaking, there is room for improvement.

As sustainability continues to be a topic of national discussion, young adults are becoming more opinionated. A greener grading than your competitors may not only bring in more students, but more revenue, and show asset management at its best.

To discuss your campus’ sustainability and financial initiatives, please contact our team at marketing@therefinishingtouch.com.

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Costs, sustainability and pressure: Hoteliers and Product Improvements Plans

February 17th, 2015 by TRT Blog

In the hotel industry, Product Improvement Plans, Property Improvement Plans, or just plain PIPs, are a fact of life. PIPs are documents that detail the property upgrades and improvements mandated by a spe­cific brand, which must be met before a hotel is accepted as the required standard to become or remain a franchised property.

TRT_Hotel imageAs experts in furniture asset management across a number of industries including hospitality, we have written about PIPs many times. We’ve covered the opportunities presented to franchise owners when corporate brand owners mandate PIPs. We’ve also discussed some of the motivators, complications and business impacts of PIPs.

We know from working with thousands of hotel owners and franchisees confronted by PIPs, that repurposing assets rather than buying new can play a significant role in meeting the required standards. Smart furniture asset management drives property projects with excellent ROI, customer satisfaction, environment credentials and overall value.

At the last InterContinental Hotel Group’s Investors and Leadership Conference, our team connected with hospitality professionals on this topic. We networked with customers and partners and took the time to ask hundreds of owners and operators for their opinions on sustainability, furniture asset management and PIPs. We asked conference attendees if they were driven by cost or the need to be green when adhering to requirements mandated by PIPs. Around 98% told us that cost was their biggest driver, although almost half (45%) also wanted to demonstrate environmental responsibility when implementing PIPs.

We fully understand the budget pressures put on owners and operators by mandatory PIPs. We also know from almost four decades of successful furniture asset management, that sustainable initiatives and financial benefits are not mutually exclusive.

Well-written, considered and balanced PIPs take into account the combined advantages of increasing guest satisfaction, hitting budget targets, achieving healthy profits and developing new financial opportunities. Modern PIPs should also help owners and franchises to demonstrate their mutual commitment to sustainable initiatives.

Meanwhile if you have any thoughts on PIPs or any questions about how furniture asset management can support PIP implementation, then please get in touch with us via email at info@therefinishingtouch.com.

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The government, sustainability, big data and furniture asset management

February 12th, 2015 by TRT Blog

As a certified contractor with the General Services Administration (GSA) The Refinishing Touch has worked with hundreds of federal government organizations to help them realize the benefits of furniture asset management.

Over the last 37 years we have refinished, reupholstered and remanufactured tens of thousands of pieces of government furniture and fittings to save budgets, protect assets and reduce the environmental impact of government operations. The scope for saving budgets, resources and the environment within the federal government, which occupies more than 500,000 buildings, and manages hundreds of thousands more, is enormous.

The U.S. government has made a number of changes with respect to federal policies to protect spend and toThe Refinishing Touch report on federal government agencies sustainability report increase commitment to sustainability initiatives. These policies and federal sustainability efforts include the current administration’s Climate Action Plan and an Executive Order signed by President Obama in 2009 to set sustainability goals for federal agencies to improve their environmental, energy and economic performance.

We appreciate that the federal goals bring together environmental and economic performance. Our experience spans government and federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Defense, the Executive Office of the President, and U.S. Army, Navy and Coastguard buildings, housing and barracks. We know, first-hand, the dual returns of furniture asset management; the environmental and economic impact.

Our previous calculations, based on the building numbers and our experience of the furniture footprint in government buildings, estimate that the annual cost of federal spend on new furniture is now upwards of $714 million. This is not an insubstantial proportion of the $500 billion the federal government spends each year on goods and services.

Furniture asset management best practices protect budgets by up to 80 percent, and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by a factor of a hundred. By way of example, a furniture asset management project we completed at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, delivered a 74% total cost savings, costing the agency $268,000 compared to an original budget estimate of $1.1 million. Even if you take a more conservative estimate of reducing budgets by 70 percent, the federal government would still save $500 million a year on furniture asset spend by applying some of the basic best practices of furniture asset management. Half a billion dollars in budget savings is not only an excellent example to set for other government agencies, it’s and a great way to demonstrate public accountability.

If you work in the government sector, get in touch with us today to learn how you can maximize resources and environmental impact.

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Best practices in furniture asset management: Inventory management

February 10th, 2015 by TRT Blog

In previous posts we have shared our views on furniture asset management as environmental and fiscally responsible behavior. We discussed the need to maximize opportunities to reuse resources, minimize waste, and to take stock and understand the value of current furniture assets.

Government battles budget constraintsWhich brings us to one of the cornerstones of furniture asset management; inventory management. We help our customers to gain visibility and to track furnishings, fixtures and equipment as capital assets with our Global Furniture Asset Management, or GFAM, web-based asset management tool. If you’d like to hear more about this, please contact our team.

Whichever system you use, it’s important to ensure that someone takes ownership of furniture inventory management. We typically find that this is managed by facilities management teams, but it’s important that the ownership is supported and encouraged by general management and also by finance. Furniture is a considerable investment for any college, hotel or government organization, and it’s important that it is tracked.

Establishing an inventory management system for furniture starts with an active database. Note the highlight on the word active. We talk to many organizations keen to discuss how much they can save through furniture asset management that have outdated or non-existent databases of existing furniture assets. They aren’t sure what furniture they have, where it is or what condition it is in. The old adage ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’ is certainly true in furniture asset management.

One obvious challenge of managing furniture is the ease with which pieces can be reconfigured and moved. This means it is important to track them and to have someone with an assigned responsibility to keep the database updated. Audits are essential. If your organization doesn’t have an updated database of its furniture, then you need to do a furniture audit. Map out, room-by-room and building-by-building, the furniture assets you have, where they are, what they are and their condition. Best practice involves associating the date and cost of acquisition, a practice which your finance team will appreciate. It shows how best furniture asset management practices such as refinishing, re-upholstery and remanufacturing can save up to 80 percent of budgets.

When tracking furniture we consider location, condition and evaluation of existing assets as three key criteria that need to be consistently tracked. There’s no need to have a complicated system as this is about simple quality control measures that will determine where money has been spent, where it can be saved and how budgets can be protected.

Finally, it’s important to consider the furniture asset management best practice of buying high-quality furniture in the first place. Increasingly we find that clients turn to us before they make new purchasing decisions, to ask us for our opinions of which product they should buy; which materials, which finish. We understand the importance of helping our clients to make a best value decision at the moment of purchase, to give then long-term investment protection.

For more details of how we approach inventory management in the real world or to hear about our Global Furniture Asset Management (GFAM) tool, please contact us at marketing@thefinishingtouch.com.

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Need new tires? Just buy a new car…

February 6th, 2015 by TRT Blog

In our previous post we talked about how absurd it would be to buy a new car simply because your old car needs tires. Yet for many organizations with large furniture assets in hospitality, government, and education, that is exactly what happens.

PIPs are on the rise in the hospitality industry.If you are running a hotel, a campus, or a barracks, you need to invest in furniture – and lots of it. This furniture needs to fulfil a purpose, be of a certain quality, be comfortable, and have longevity. In short, furniture is a considerable investment.

The good news is that this furniture is an asset which can be protected. In the 37 years we have worked in furniture asset management, we have helped tens of thousands of hotels, colleges and government organizations to understand how to protect and manage these valuable assets.

One challenge we face is to help organizations understand inventory tracking, one of the core principles of good furniture asset management.

Back to our car analogy. It’s not that you want to throw your old car away because of the tires, you don’t even know how many tires your car has. Again, it sounds absurd but it’s frequently true.

Consider the process of buying furniture. In some cases, furniture is bought as a series of piecemeal procurements, each with a value measured in hundreds of dollars. Yet these combined assets add up. In the case of the US government it adds up to millions of dollars across agencies and departments, and billions of dollars overall.

Without structured information on how this money is spent with details of how many furniture assets were bought, where they are, what they are made of, the opportunities to reuse resources and avoid waste are missed.

As the old adage goes: ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’. So as a first step, you need to consider how to approach inventory tracking of furniture assets.

Next week we’re going to be detailing some of the best practices when it comes to the inventory management of furniture, as we continue to share our insights on best practice furniture asset management.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions on furniture asset management best practices, please contact our team at marketing@therefinishingtouch.com.

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Furniture asset management: Time to take stock

February 4th, 2015 by TRT Blog

This piece has been published in this quarter’s InTouch newsletter. Click here to sign up for future issues.

January is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions. Here at The Refinishing Touch we see this time of year as a great time to take stock, review business opportunities and check that your business plan is on track.

checklistWhen we say ‘take stock’ we mean just that. This month we’re keen to demonstrate that protecting your business and the environment are complementary goals. Every business and organization wants to be sustainable and environmentally responsible, but also needs to be financially responsible. Before you can realize these mutual goals, it’s important to understand the value of the assets you already own.

Imagine buying a new car just because your old car needs new tires. That’s the approach of many businesses that ignore furniture asset management. Furniture assets are frequently high-value investments with lifespans that can be managed and extended. Yet many institutions do not know what assets they have. These businesses and organizations are buying new tires without even glancing at the car.

In an ideal world every business or institution would record the date of acquisition, acquisition costs, composite materials, current condition and locations of existing furniture assets. It would then be simple to systematically evaluate assets in line with renovation plans and cycles.

Greater visibility and long-term planning maximizes asset investment and saves budgets. Best practice furniture asset management respects existing assets by using and enhancing existing investments. Consider the desk you are sitting at as you read this: Do you know what it’s made of? Or how to maximize its lifespan and protect your business investment? Well that’s what we do, and we can help you.

Hotels, colleges and government institutions that we work with track and manage their assets. This changes how they approach new furniture acquisition and it helps them to understand the financial impact and other benefits of buying high-quality assets that can be refurnished. Our clients shorten renovation cycles and are rewarded with long-term investment protection and asset management.

If you would like further advice on how to launch best practice furniture asset management in your own organization, then please contact our team of experts.

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Take Our Survey

February 4th, 2015 by admin

If you know a hotel is highly sustainable, how does this affect your attitudes toward the hotel?

a. Makes them more favorable
b. Does not affect
c. Federal government

Red, green or black: Balancing the color of money

February 3rd, 2015 by TRT Blog

Balancing furniture asset managementMany businesses and organizations have a vision to be green. Every business needs to stay out of the red and in the black. Meanwhile, a number of businesses are torn because they associate being green with being in the red, and that environmental initiatives come with unavoidable costs.

The simple truth is that businesses don’t need to pick one objective over the other. At The Refinishing Touch we know that environmental sustainability and financial sustainability are both sides of the same coin. In other words, being green goes hand-in-hand with being in the black.

Assets are valuable, not merely as functional objects but for operational efficiency: Furniture asset management, whether it is refinishing, reupholstery or remanufacturing, preserves furniture as a long-term asset that benefits the balance sheet. Compare this to replacing worn furniture with cheaply made substitutes which requires sizeable capital expenditure – and repetition over a disappointingly short cycle. Refinished solid wood pieces are more durable and require less maintenance than new pieces. Poorly-made furniture of veneers and composites will not last a decade, and replacements will have to be budgeted for again in one-third of the time.

Over almost four decades we have helped more than 22,000 organizations and businesses to deliver rapid returns on investment while improving property at savings of up to 80% over replacement furniture assets.

Reducing costs through sustainable asset management improves efficiency, increases profitability and mitigates operational risk. That’s the true bottom line. The positive environmental impact is demonstrable, but the financial benefits are significant, measurable and repeatable.

Please email us today to discuss the financial and business benefits that furniture asset management could deliver for your business.

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