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 […]
How frequently should you update your furniture?
Let’s take hospitality as a benchmark. It’s a good example because it’s one of the core industries we specialize in, and its high furniture use means it tends to have well-structured furniture asset management processes.
In hospitality we find the average furniture asset lifecycle is seven years, which means that hotels expect to keep furniture for seven years before planning to replace it. Seven years is a generalization – we have worked with hotel chains and brands with shorter review cycles of furniture assets, and a few with longer cycles – but it’s a guide for any institution or business that is managing substantial furniture assets.
In short, furniture asset management, like any important business process, needs to be planned. We’ve previously covered elements of this, such as inventory management and talked about the ideal scenario of documenting date of acquisition, acquisition costs, composite materials, current condition and locations of existing furniture assets.
Seven years is the average lifespan we’ve seen from working with more than 22,000 customers over 37 years, but it’s not a figure set in stone (or wood). Furthermore, with wise spending and good planning the lifecycle of valuable furniture assets can be doubled.
To lengthen the lifecycle it’s important to recognize another best practice of furniture asset management, which is to invest in high-quality furniture. We sometimes see managers make furniture buying decisions based on the short-term thinking of ‘pay less now’. Poor-quality furniture has a short lifespan – it cannot be refinished or updated, and will simply end up in landfill after a few years. It’s a bad decision for the environment, and for the business. Buyers need to avoid sub-standard materials such as particleboard, chipboard or furniture which has low-quality ‘filling’ composite material.
There are a number of options when it comes to updating furniture. Furniture asset management best practices include refinishing, re-upholstery and remanufacturing. We specialize in each of these, and have updated hundreds of thousands of furniture pieces, saving our customers up to 80 percent on expenditure, preserving their environmental impact and working on-site to reduce downtime.
If you’d like to discuss the furniture asset management lifecycle in your industry, and how it can be lengthened to protect your investment in furniture assets, then please get in touch today.
At The Refinishing Touch our customers not only want to reduce their carbon footprints, they want to know precisely how much they are cutting it. This makes a lot of sense to us. Forward-thinking businesses are always keen to share their innovation and success stories, and the clearest way for them to do this is […]
The hospitality industry is one of the largest industries in the world. It’s also an intensive business, switched on 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. This intensity is emphasized as brands, hotel owners and managers continually work to meet, react to and exceed constantly-changing consumer expectations. One force […]
As a specialist in furniture asset management for the hospitality industry, we like to keep track of news of renovations, updates and plans from brands, hotel owners and franchisees. Since the downturn of 2008 the industry continues to gain momentum and we have seen a strong year-on-year demand for furniture asset management services.
There are many reasons for this increase. If you’re one of our regular readers, then you will know that an increase in awareness of environmental impact has certainly driven sustainable objectives. Furniture asset management has become increasingly important to hotels as consumers and travelers become more ‘enviro-conscious’. There is also an undeniable fiscal impact, with furniture asset management frequently cutting budgets by up to 80 percent. Add to this blend the minimal downtime incurred by onsite work, and you quickly realize why so many organizations are turning to furniture asset management.
One area that is less frequently talked about, but is also a driver of furniture asset management, is a genuine demand for good furniture. And we mean good furniture. High quality, well-crafted items with strong joints and solid construction. No squeaks, gives and certainly no particleboard, chipboard or other low-quality ‘filling’ composite material. Finding such good quality furniture can be a challenge in a time when many individuals seem to have developed a ‘throw away’ attitude to furniture. The ‘rip and replace’ mentality was never a good decision. It was always an environmental and financial black hole for businesses and organizations. Travelers expect high-quality furniture and it’s imperative that the furniture we all invest in is comfortable, well made, built to last and fit for purpose.
Many brands choose to go a step further, and insist on buying from domestic suppliers. The USDA regulates the import of wood-based products, largely to prevent any disease, pest or environmental impact on the flora and fauna of the United States. But to us shipping new furniture from other parts of the globe adds unnecessary carbon footprint, costs and delays. We are strong proponents of buying furniture domestically from well-regarded suppliers, or at the very least knowing the source and the status of the wood assets we buy. This is about making a well-informed conscientious buying decision. We make no secret that we support and encourage buying domestic goods.
It’s also about understanding the wood that your existing furniture is made of. We have refinished softwoods and hardwoods of all different types. It is our job to know what a piece of furniture is made of and how to enhance the natural beauty of wood. Do you know what wood furniture you have and how it can best be preserved? And before you buy from that untested source, are you clear on the wood? Do you know whether or not that the Peruvian Walnut is endangered? Or if that African Blackwood has a ‘near threatened’ status? And if you buy composite materials including particleboard and chipboard instead, then it may have a very short ‘room life’ before it ends up as landfill.
Chances are your organization has already invested in high-quality wood furniture. Now you need to apply furniture asset management best practices to ensure that you are maximizing it. Please contact us today at email@example.com to discuss your investment and how to protect it.
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.
2015 is starting off strong for the hospitality industry. Average daily rates (ADR) continue to rise, occupancy is up by 1.8 percent and international travel is booming, contributing to local, regional and global economic growth.
As a result February has seen several global brands sharing news of expansion, renovation and innovation. We’ve seen this first-hand with a strong demand from our hospitality clients for furniture asset management services including refinishing, remanufacturing and reupholstery.
As well as sharing news of growth, global hotel brands are emphasizing, headlining even, a commitment to sustainability. Many hotel brands have been accused of ‘green lip service’ when it comes to announcements relating to sustainability initiatives but in the thousands of projects we have completed in the hospitality sector, we see an increasing commitment by hotels to genuinely understand the green impact of their activity. Hoteliers, brand owners and managers want to reduce carbon footprints, minimize the environmental impact of their industry, and stop unnecessarily landfill waste.
For example, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, a brand that The Refinishing Touch team has worked with for a number of years, announced that the expansion of its eco-friendly Element brand. This announcement certainly focused on the sustainability commitment of Starwood, with “eco-friendly” front and center in press releases and headlines.
There was a very public pledge of green commitment made by Stefan Mühle, the new general manager of the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center, who said he was determined to make the Hilton Chicago a ‘uniquely green destination’. Mühle knows a thing or two about implementing green programs as the co-founder of the Sustainability Committee for the Hotel Council of San Francisco.
Meanwhile Edmonton’s Mettera Hotel shared the news that it is officially the first hotel to be 100 percent powered by clean, pollution-free electricity. Its general manager explained: “We share our guests’ philosophy of doing what we can to care for the environment and to minimize our carbon footprint. We hear regularly from them how important even the smallest initiatives are and make green sustainability a priority in our operation.”
Across the Atlantic, the UK’s Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant announced the addition of five new eco-lodges and a platinum-level rating in the TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders Program.
Each of these brands, general managers and hospitality specialists know that consumers are increasingly informed and conscious about environmental impact. Travelers look to TripAdvisor and other resources for green ratings prior to booking, they take advantage of in-room green initiatives such as linen re-use and energy conservation and want to see brands demonstrating a commitment to the environment.
While a green approach can connect with travelers, increase business, and drive customer loyalty, sustainability initiatives frequently demonstrate fiscal responsibility. This is certainly true of furniture asset management where hoteliers consistently save 70 to 80 percent of budget while extending their assets’ lifespans and reducing downtime. Meanwhile, they lower harmful carbon emissions by a hundred-fold and eliminate unnecessary landfill waste.
If you’re looking to boost the green rating of your hotel, get in touch with us today at email@example.com.
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.
We 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.
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
As 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 email@example.com.