Being a furniture buyer in today’s lodging industry can be an intimidating task. There are so many options, tons of steps, and lots of tight deadlines. Buyers must steer clear of any unnecessary mistakes when choosing a furniture manufacturer and purchasing new items. Below are three tips to avoid the top issues that today’s hotel furniture buyers are making.
Get To Know the Manufacturer
A buyer’s number one mistake is not knowing where furniture is being made, including what factory is making it and the location of the factory. Too often buyers think products are produced in one area, only to find out this isn’t the case. Request information on what projects the factory has completed in the last few years–pictures, product details, and outcome are all great assets to review. If possible and within budget, visit and inspect the factory that is making the furniture. These strategies can prevent a lot of headaches down the road and confirm that the hotel’s brand is making the best decision overall.
Buyers should request progress production inspection reports from furniture suppliers. This will ensure that furniture is in production, on schedule, and that quality standards are met from start to finish. These should include photos, reports, and any other relevant information before the shipment leaves the factory. Too many suppliers skip this step and hotels end up with issues down the road. The easiest way to fix this mistake is to have one point of contact with the vendor to address issues that may arise, especially with custom furniture and all the variables involved in an order. What is critical in these situations is knowing the vendor will stand behind their product and do what they can to solve any issues. This makes for lasting relationships and much less stress.
Pay Attention To Packaging
Lastly, buyers need to be aware of their furniture’s packaging. Give detailed information for labeling boxes, crates, and pallets, and ensure they are marked with detailed product information. Any errors in labeling can cause dozens of problems when the furniture arrives. For example, a simple labeling error on ten pieces of furniture coming in for 200 hotel rooms—a total of 2,000 boxes of furniture—can eat away at the installation process and waste time. Additionally, be careful with how factories send products out and ensure that each piece is packed with care so that everything arrives in its best condition.
When possible, work with brands that own factories and can provide quality control personnel on the ground. When in doubt, ask questions and follow the project through each step.
About the Author
Michael Shapiro is the president of furniture manufacturing company Jay Edward Group. Previously, Shapiro was Director of Sourcing and Procurement for Starwood hotels for a decade, where he managed a staff of 14 and directed procurement for multiple different Starwood brands prior to their acquisition.