core of ff&e the procurement process

The Core of FF&E and OS&E Procurement – Part 2: The FF&E Procurement Process

Last week we covered the basics of creating a preliminary budget for FF&E and the importance of accuracy. Go give that a read if you missed it. This week, it’s all about the details of the process. The details of the FF&E process of procurement are intricate. What is involved and where does the purchasing agent come in?

Comprehensive Budget Analysis

Congratulations! You’ve just had the project kick-off meeting and your project is well on its way! The FF&E procurement process has officially begun. The purchasing team and design team are now working side-by-side and it’s time to find vendors.

The PA will compile a full budget comparison with pricing from a variety of vendors matching any requested qualifications. Some of the qualifications often include manufacture location preferences, specific vendors, and. All with lead times that meet project deadlines. To ensure each bid fits in the time frame, budget, and quality standard of the brand, it’s crucial to have a large network of vendors and manufacturers. The purchasing agent also manages vendor negotiations to secure the best price and highest quality items.

The Model Room Process

With the bid analysis completed and vendors chosen, the purchasing team moves on to create and manage purchasing orders. Samples of fabrics, materials, and color swatches are ordered and managed by the purchasing team to ensure the design integrity is maintained. In most situations, 2 model rooms are built with items purchased from different vendors, allowing for in person review of materials, aesthetic, and quality.

model room design

During the model room review, the purchasing agent is prepared with vendor pricing. This gives the team the opportunity to compare the cost with the quality manufactured. After the final items and vendors have been chosen, the FF&E budget is finalized, and we move on to the FF&E purchasing management phase.

 FF&E Purchasing Management

This logistics heavy stage of the process is riddled with timeline complexities. From managing the orders, manufacture processes, and freight logistics, absolutely every detail is crucial in a project’s success and meeting the timelines.

freight management

A dedicated freight management software allows the purchasing agent to accurately track each product directly. The skills and experience needed here is what sets a dedicated purchasing agent apart from a company that simply offers procurement as only a part of what they do. Management of third-party warehousing and freight contractors, transportation to the site, and monitoring inventory are all done by the purchasing agent, alleviating that logistical step from the project manager.

Project Installation and Completion

With a site analysis completed, a detailed installation plan is compiled. Working with independent installation and warehouse contractors, the purchasing agent provides the necessary information to help organize the delivery and installation on all FF&E items. This step has proven to substantially add synergy between the ownership, operator, contractor, and trades and ensures clarity of the work at hand. Progress reports are submitted consistently through the process. The purchasing agent also assists in final inspection, ensuring that everything is in its place and ready to welcome guests.

The interiors and design of a hotel is where the project really comes to life and shows its unique personality. This is one of our favorite stages. Getting to see the entire process from preliminary budgeting to installation, and watching the hotel open to guests is so rewarding. The teamwork involved demands a very detailed and constant level of communication. At the end of the day, we are always so proud to work with incredibly talented teams. The FF&E process truly starts with preliminary budgeting and goes to final punch and closing reports. The purchasing agent is there for the project far beyond just the “buying” aspect.

In part 3, we’ll take a deeper look at the closing of a project, and why it’s important to be confident in the team involved. If you have any questions about the purchasing process, or on the benefits of a dedicated agency whose sole focus is on procurement, please reach out. We’d love to tell you about some ways to maximize time and budget efficiencies.