Last week, Canada’s ‘Daily Commercial News’ wrote about the need for asset recycling to be a core practice for public organizations. This followed the publication of a report by RCCAO about asset use in Ontario titled: ‘Building new infrastructure on the foundation of existing public assets‘.
“Asset recycling is a concept that basically speaks to leveraging the existing investments that taxpayers have in public assets. It tries to find a way to make them perform better and drive more value from that past investment,” explains Michael Fenn.
And that’s exactly what it is. Asset recycling is not just about protecting existing assets; it’s about leveraging existing assets. It offers numerous benefits, although all too often its supporters claim a single one. So we thought we would share the multiple benefits we see day-in, day-out from asset management best practices:
It’s sustainable, and adds to ‘green’ credentials. In the four decades that we’ve been advising and delivering furniture asset management best practices, the need for government organizations and commercial businesses to demonstrate sustainability and to share their green credentials has certainly grown. Asset management is an undeniably sustainable practice: it slashes carbon emissions, reduces landfill waste and decreases consumption of new resources.
It drives stakeholder value. As existing assets are leveraged through recycling, re-use or remanufacturing, more value is delivered to stakeholders. This includes shareholders, taxpayers, citizens, travelers or students.
Budgets are saved. Government organizations and higher education are under budget pressure. Hotels are constantly looking for ways to reduce spend while maintaining standards. Across the board businesses and institutions need to protect the bottom line. We repeatedly see up to eighty percent of budgets saved through furniture asset management best practices.
Budgets can be re-allocated. This applies to each industry that we work with, including government, education and hospitality. The stress of prioritizing tight budgets is a headache for any general, facility or resources manager. Being able to save budget and spend it in areas that deliver greater returns, competitive differentiators and benefits to citizens, users or customers, is a sound business decision.
Want to find out more about the returns your organization could reap from furniture asset management? Then please contact us today: email@example.com.
In a recent post we discussed one of the cornerstones of furniture asset management; inventory management. At The Refinishing Touch we not only provide refinishing, remanufacturing and re-upholstery services, we also help our customers to manage and track those furnishings and fixtures as capital assets, using web-based asset management tools.
When TRT was founded back in 1977, we became known for providing environmentally-safe furniture refinishing services, but times have changed considerably. Today our business is about managing assets, helping our customers to manage expenditure and their business continuity needs.
What makes us different isn’t just the longevity of our materials and finishes. It’s our ability to work on-site, to ensure our customers stay open and productive. The industries in which we work: hospitality, education and government, have little tolerance for downtime and rooms cannot be out of use for days or weeks. Furniture is a vital part of these operations, and it needs refinishing, re-upholstery or remanufacturing because the organization is busy and successful. Creating downtime therefore has a direct calculable dollar cost. If a hotel, public sector organization, or educational facility has rooms of action it causes problems,so we work safely and responsibly onsite.
Our onsite approach is efficient in terms of both cost and carbon. We know that the alternative, transporting furniture offsite, is a waste of time, money and carbon dioxide. We are able to work onsite when many large refinishing companies cannot. This comes as a result of four decades of experience doing just that. We know better than anyone how to minimize disruption, move seamlessly from room to room, and how to ensure that those rooms are back in operation quickly.
Using non-toxic processes are also crucial in working onsite. We don’t use solvents in our processes and our non-toxic lacquers don’t contain dangerous Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). They are hypoallergenic, safe and clean, because we understand how important it is to use safe, responsible products.
Our approach to furniture asset management certainly guarantees indoor air quality and safety. But in business terms, it means quicker processes, lower labor costs and a quicker turnaround on refinished rooms for everybody involved.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how onsite furniture asset management can save your organization time, money and downtime.
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.
Which 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 email@example.com.
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.
The 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.
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.
Earth 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well as our award-winning furniture asset management services, we provide the materials required to take each project to completion. This includes our exclusive hardware collection so we can seamlessly – and beautifully – take refinishing and refurbishment projects from beginning to end. The hardware line was launched in response to our refinishing clients repeatedly asking our teams for hardware recommendations that would match our level of services and give them a choice of furniture features ranging from the traditional to modern – whether it be dresser handles, drawer slides, knobs, pulls or casters, and it’s been a great success.
Refinishing is a fiscally and environmentally responsible activity that produces striking results – as just glimpses of some of our work at Georgetown University, The DoubleTree by Hilton in Denver-Aurora, and The Candlewood Suites in Killeen,Texas.
As well as this sense of responsibility, each of our customers, whether they are hoteliers, college administrators or government officials strive for the high level of attention to detail. This level of detail is where hardware plays its part, giving our refinishing, re-upholstery and re-purposing customers the types, styles and finishes that are the perfect complement to their recently revitalized furniture – at a fraction of the cost to purchasing externally.
The Refinishing Touch hardware: Crowne Plaza San Antonio
The photographs shown, of past projects with the Boston Hyatt Hotel and the Crowne Plaza San Antonio, depict the impressive before and after visuals of our refinishing work – complete with The Refinishing Touch hardware.
To shop The Refinishing Touch’s hardware collection, please visit our online store today. For more information on what The Refinishing Touch and furniture asset management can do for you, please contact us today at email@example.com.
“Better late than never,” was the comment from climate activist Bill McKibben in response to of the newly-installed solar panels on one of the country’s most iconic buildings. ABC News stated, “White House finally gets solar panels” and hundreds, if not thousands, of other media outlets reported on the on-off history of roof-top solar panels at the White House, which had been installed in the late 1970s by President Carter and removed in 1986 when building works were being undertaken for President Regan.
President Obama made the pledge to add the panels way back in October 2010. The pledge reflected the Government’s green commitment, including its support of renewable energy at that time, a stance which President Obama has reinforced as the globe faces climate changes, rising sea levels and unpredictable weather patterns. Today the Obama Administration is still committed to reducing America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2019 (from 2005 levels), and increasing renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency and generally securing America’s energy future.
Having once worked with the White House ourselves, The Refinishing Touch is pleased to see the same ethics behind the sustainable practices we performed inside being brought to the light – literally – with the reinstallation of solar and its photovoltaic technology.
Whether it’s a historic government edifice, a college dormitory in need of an update, or a hotel looking to increase décor, maintain brand guidelines and increase guest retention – every building has a sustainable option when it comes to updating look, facilities and furniture. Whether its solar technology, recycling programs, or furniture asset management, there are ways to create environmental benefits alongside budget gains and design payback.
By incorporating the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – into our business plan from day one and encouraging our clients to do the same, we have been fortunate to assist decision makers and environmental activists in greening US buildings since 1977.
If you’d like to learn more about The Refinishing Touch’s work within the government sector, please visit our project page here.
Recently, Inside Higher Ed showcased a piece from a collegiate administrator, G. Rendell, pushing for a more sustainable balance on his campus, and throughout the world. The piece, entitled Sustainability commandment #3, discusses the complex idea of a sustainable economy.
As professionals helping on-campus facility managers achieve sustainable renovations, we understand the difficulty of defining objectives, setting goals and communicating processes to everybody involved. Creating a sustainable economy, whether it is across campus, across multiple locations, or even worldwide, is difficult.
Rendell cites the third sustainable commandment as: “The economy exists to serve society, not the other way around. Thus, maintain an economy which is sufficient to provide the goods and services required to support happy, healthy living for all members of society. And do it in such a manner that the resources consumed by economic activity don’t exceed the levels which the planet can supply indefinitely.
It’s an important message, and one that all industries should keep in mind. It’s important to remain successful in your business, but it is imperative to do so without taking more than you can give back to the environment.
Many higher education organizations continue to set an exemplary example for businesses and to other industries. They do this by fostering youth to be educated and empowered on the subject of eco-awareness, and to introduce sustainable initiatives within their own organizations.
A sustainable economy is a challenge, but one that is accomplished by the hard work of many college professionals, students and the greater green community.