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 […]
Digging up the truth about CO2 and you: Cutting carbon and costs
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 […]
Furniture asset management best practices: Working onsite
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 email@example.com to discuss how onsite furniture asset management can save your organization time, money and downtime.
The government, sustainability, big data and furniture asset management
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 to 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.
Best practices in furniture asset management: Inventory management
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need new tires? Just buy a new car…
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.
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 email@example.com.
Happy New Year from The Refinishing Touch!
We hope you enjoyed a safe holiday with family and friends.
2014 was another great year for the team here at The Refinishing Touch. We completed hundreds of furniture refinishing, re-upholstery and remanufacturing projects at hotels, government institutions and college campuses. We ran multiple studies on topics including the sustainable standings of U.S. colleges and the financial opportunities for the U.S. government. We networked at leading industry events where we shared insights with our peers and continued to build long-lasting business relationships.
In 2015, we will continue to guide and educate our customers as they implement sustainable, eco-friendly renovation best practices. Industry experts are predicting big things for hospitality and environmental responsibility this year – from green guest programs to energy-saving initiatives and sustainable building.
Are you a facilities manager working in higher education, hospitality or government? If so, it’s likely you will be considering renovations over the next year. Before discarding existing assets and purchasing new, we urge you to stop and consider on-site furniture asset management. It is an eco-friendly, fiscally responsible and convenient option. You can save more than 80% of its projected budget, eliminate building downtime, reduce harmful landfill waste and cut emissions by more than 100 tons.
Here’s to another year of responsible decision-making and creating a greener world!
A Year in Sustainability News: How Green Was 2014?
Last week, The Harvard Business Review published ‘The 10 Most Important Sustainable Business Stories from 2014’, an article discussing the prominent trends in 2014’s major stories in sustainability. As ardent promoters of sustainability, this article was a necessary read for The Refinishing Touch team.
So, what’s been making headlines in environmental news this past year? According to The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), climate change is here and the risks of irreversible, highly damaging impacts are high. The sooner we act on making changes, the lower the cost.
While climate change is becoming an increasingly pressing problem, there is some good news too. According to the article, fighting climate change is getting cheaper.
That’s something that holds true here at The Refinishing Touch. With our furniture asset management services, hotels, college campuses and government edifices save money while reducing carbon footprints. With the understanding that going green doesn’t always mean spending more money, we hope more industries implement green strategies, processes and initiatives in 2015.
Accordingly, it’s great to see that the utility and energy sectors are stepping it up when it comes to environmentalism and sustainable planning. These are large industries with the power to set trends for the masses. In the U.S., many utility companies, such as NRG, have set public goals to considerably lower their carbon emissions moving forward.
The report as a whole reminded us of the need for every company, big or small, to takesustainability more seriously. As professionals in the business of reducing carbon footprints, we’d like to remind you that even if the project seems small; its impact is not.
Inspired to jumpstart your businesses green initiatives? Refinish, re-upholster or remanufacture existing furniture assets instead of buying new. Contact The Refinishing Touch today.
Happy Thanksgiving from The Refinishing Touch!
It’s the time of year for gratitude and The Refinishing Touch team has so much be thankful for. We’ve completed numerous projects across our three core industries; hospitality, university, and government, including great projects with The Michelangelo Hotel, Westin Helmsley and Hotel Commonwealth to name a few.
We’ve delivered four new editions of our quarterly newsletter, InTouch, and collected responses from so many of you on our weekly blog polls. We’ve conducted studies around green behaviors including In Reuse We Trust, The Green Grading System and Cut the Carbon and the Cost as well as seen attitudes change from decision makers, facilities managers, brand owners, and operators alike, showing an increasing commitment to furniture asset management and all the benefits that it brings.
With so much behind us, and so much to look forward to, The Refinishing Touch family would like to wish you and yours a wonderful holiday. We are so thankful for each of our readers, customers, and supporters each and everyday.
Happy Veterans Day from The Refinishing Touch
Veterans Day is about honoring all those that serve in the armed forces. The date is based on Armistice Day, which was proclaimed on November 11 to mark the end of World War 1 on the ‘eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month’ in 1918.
The Refinishing Touch has spent more than thirty-five years working in local and federal government edifices across the nation including naval and army bases. We are honored and proud to be in service with our armed forces and to support our committed, courageous troops.
We would like to take this opportunity to personally and professionally thank all who serve and those who have served our country during war and peacetime. Our team is thankful to each and every one, including their families, for their commitment and their sacrifice for our country.
We hope each of our readers take the time to honor United States veterans, not just on this special day, but every day.