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6 Best Practices for Purchasing FF+E

Updated: Nov 25, 2019

Purchasing FF&E, particularly furniture, can be a complicated task, especially for high end custom products. But it doesn’t have to be. We spoke with two purchasing pros -- who also have extensive design backgrounds -- and talked them into sharing their best practices for buying furniture.

Our experts said, in the end, it comes down to purchasers following these simple rules. Focus on quality, reputation, lead time, cost and warranty. Ensuring you’re able to achieve those above tenants, means following these critical tips:

Get a Detailed Spec

“The most common barrier between my world, as someone who purchases products, and manufacturers, is where there are not enough design details,” says Nicole Wood, Director of Business Development and Projects at Summa International. “More details are the best way to make the work better, while also enabling better workflow.”

“The more information and dimensions one can provide, the better the interpretation and final production,” says Joanne (JoJo) McGillvray, Vice President at Genterro, a strategic global procurement company.

Never Stop Learning

"Purchasers must constantly stay up to date on the latest material innovations and design trends to be sure they’re sourcing the right products, at the right time, for the hotel owner/ operator customers, says McGillvray. “It’s essential to understand how something is fabricated, what materials are used in that item, and how the piece will be used in the space.”

Wood also suggests taking part in factory tours to immerse yourself in the process, and stresses the importance of becoming an expert in freight delivery and logistics. Those two items can have serious impact on overall product price, as well as delivery schedule.

HBA Tour of Samuelson Furniture's Factory

Our experts also read industry and consumer publications voraciously to keep up on trends, and to spark new ideas. Magazines such as Hospitality Design, Boutique Design, Travel + Leisure, Hotel Management, and Sunset all help them in their careers.  In order to source the right products at the right price- you need to be educated on how those products are made."

Download our Samuelson Furniture whitepaper, Design Fundamentals, to learn more about Architectural woodwork and material selections for custom hospitality furniture.

Own Your Mistakes

Wood says own up to mistakes, we all make them; and there’s no shame in it. “I am first to admit when I make a mistake. I will never stop learning or growing. Of course, I don’t welcome making mistakes, but they happen. I understand this is the opportunity to learn and grow,” she says, noting, that with every project something will happen. While mistakes are frustrating and some people do not handle the fallout well, it’s an issue of solving the problem in an honest, effective and timely manner. “No excuses! I’ll always work with people who have made mistakes on other projects if they handled the situation and took ownership of it."

Never Stop Communicating

“Communication is essential,” says Wood. “We all get very comfortable with spreadsheets and budgets and online docs. Communicating v