Tips for Drama-Free Hotel FF&E: Warehousing & Installation

Without proper planning and an experienced team, your hotel construction or renovation project can become a major source of stress. But when you partner with the right FF&E provider who knows how to properly manage challenges before they become problems, your project can be both enjoyable and a smashing success. With a focus on warehousing and installation, we’ll discuss how to prevent setbacks and issues.

So what, exactly, does it take to have a drama-free hotel FF&E project from a warehousing and installation standpoint?

There are three things that tame warehousing and installation chaos before it begins:

  1. Communication
  2. Teamwork
  3. Coordination

Communication

Communication is the key to successful FF&E warehousing and installation. Your project team will stay connected through phone calls, emails or texts—whatever is agreed upon as the best method for everyone—and responses must be prompt. Your procurement provider will also lead weekly “rhythm calls” to make sure everything is on track by sharing new information, addressing known issues, and anticipating next steps.

With warehousing, it is important that the warehouse team stay up-to-date on any adjustments or changes happening on-site. Without timely exchanges, the warehousing team may load the wrong products in the wrong sequence, causing drama when it arrives on-site. If this happens, the installation team may be left without anything to install, or with nowhere to store materials. This can be costly and result in delays that could have been avoided with a brief phone call.

Part of good communication is knowing when to speak up—and when not to. Because hotel owners usually have plenty on their plate already, a good team will only bring important things to their attention during hotel construction or renovation. That way, the experts are left to do what they do best and hotel owners don’t sweat the small details. However, when the owner does become aware of problems, the team has already developed a proposed solution.

Working with seasoned professionals can make a huge difference. They’ve done it before and know the importance of information flow across all teams involved, including the General Contractor’s team and the on-site hotel team. Sometimes, hotel owners choose to use their own installation team that may or may not be experienced in the complexities of hotel renovations and construction. If this is the case, understand that your procurement provider will be limited to providing the materials and advising—not managing—the process.

Either way, with open communication, all teams are clear on expectations and how they will work independently and together. Some things are unavoidable, like hitting a water line or electrical wire inside the wall during installation. But when the installation team and General Contractor communicate well, they can quickly resolve any issues before they even cross your desk.

Here are our top communication tips:

  • Open lines of communication between all teams on and offsite early
  • Communicate early and often, especially if there are changes
  • Regular scheduled calls and check-ins
  • Work with professionals who can resolve problems so you don’t have to
  • Know that you’ll get notified of problems as-needed—with a proposed solution
  • Let the professionals work their magic
  • Understand the dynamics and chain of command within each team

Teamwork

You have separate groups of specialists running FF&E and construction, but everyone needs to work as a team for your project to be a hit. Your procurement provider should meet the contacts on the warehousing team, which may also manage the freight—another important component of the process. With a team mentality, all the key players behind your hotel construction or renovation will know each other and have a solid working relationship.

A professional procurement team will work with the hotel management and ownership, and with the construction and professional installation team. An important step is to have a pre-installation meeting with the hotel team to confirm that they are prepared for receiving goods from the warehouse and installing them. This meeting is an opportunity to clarify responsibilities, procedures, and expectations, and to allow the professional Head of Installation to do what they do best. The installation team can establish their point of contact, which is an important note if the procurement provider isn’t also hired to install FF&E.

A high-quality procurement provider understands how to manage strong personalities and stress at the jobsite. With a strong team mentality established from the start, conflicts are manageable without becoming a soap opera. It is also a good idea to have someone at the hotel who is not the owner or manager as the go-to for any issues that may arise. By leaning on your team and not overstretching your capabilities, you can focus on aspects of your hotel other than FF&E while they filter anything that could come your way.

Here are our top tips on teamwork:

  • Know the key players for the project on and offsite
  • Establish a team mentality early-on
  • Attend the pre-installation meeting
  • Give space and reasonable expectations to your teams
  • Document everything
  • Make sure the Head of Installation knows their point of contact
  • If hiring an outside installation team, make sure they’re professional and trustworthy

Coordination

Damaged goods, piles of debris, unexpected deliveries, and warehouse inventory confusion all are avoidable with proper coordination. Your procurement provider will do a “Pre-Punch” walk-through of the hotel to ensure all is clear before installation so that everything can go according to plan. This walk-through will include an inspection of all the rooms for damages, construction debris, and to ensure there’s a clear place for truck access and deliveries. At this stage, all construction in the area should be complete and the hotel ready for FF&E installation.

It is also desirable for FF&E inventory to arrive in the warehouse before installation even begins. When everything is on hand, surprise manufacturing delays cannot disrupt your project. Ideally, the warehouse is nearby for easy deliveries and scheduling adjustments when necessary. For proper coordination with the installer, your procurement provider will share blueprints, count sheets, orders, room counts, and what goes in each room by room number.

Here’s how to coordinate for a smooth warehousing and installation process:

  • Do a “Pre-Punch” walk-through
  • Consider a game plan for disposal and debris removal
  • Keep updated delivery schedules and installation plans
  • Keep in touch with the warehouse team to ensure deliveries are on time and in sequence
  • Track the inventory that is received on-site
  • Report damages or lost inventory immediately
  • Anticipate truck availability and scheduling

Sometimes, things happen during a hotel project that are out of anyone’s control, like a pandemic or extreme weather. These events can have an outsized effect on warehousing costs and scheduling. However, by having a professional team on your side, your plans can adjust accordingly without unnecessary headaches and heartburn.

At Innvison, we are team players. That’s why communication, a team mentality, and a focus on proper coordination is paramount. Our procurement specialists are experienced hospitality professionals who know that their expertise and quick problem-solving capabilities are what will make your project a success.

Your procurement provider should be a trusted partner who makes your life easier. At Innvision, we take the drama out of the hotel FF&E process so your project flows smoothly. If you’re ready to see how Innvision can make your hotel renovation or new construction drama-free, contact us today! We’d be happy to help.