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8 Ways to Streamline Delivery Lead Time for FF&E and OS&E


Want to learn more about how sourcing professionals manage extended lead times? Click here to get more visibility into delivery lead time and production lead time for FF&E and OS&E.

As a hotel owner, designer, procurement agent, or project manager—or any other individual involved in the hospitality industry—you’re no stranger to tight timelines and heavy workloads. Planning out your FF&E and OS&E can add an extra layer of complexity to already complicated projects. Managing delivery lead time for these items is essential if you want to stick to your timeline budget.

Here are a few tips to minimize delivery lead times so that you can get high-quality furniture on site faster while streamlining operations costs.

1. Set realistic lead times.

As much as we all needed those tiles to get here yesterday (don’t ever say that to suppliers, btw – not even as a joke), we still have to deal with what the circumstances will realistically allow.

Your best move is to work with suppliers to establish accurate lead times for each item, then regularly review and update them. Conditions can always change and new policies could be put in place without warning.

If they’re not part of your approved vendor list yet, you’ll have to research them thoroughly. Of course, it goes without saying that developing good relationships is crucial as well.

Finally, adding a few extra days on top of the lead time established can help ensure that anticipated delivery is right on schedule.

2. Plan ahead.

Begin the procurement process well in advance, taking into account factors such as shipping times, customs clearance, and delivery to the site.

This is especially important if you are importing from a new country. Make friends with your vendor and take the time to get to know the policies that are in place. After going through your checklist, go ahead and ask whether there’s anything you might not have thought of and if there’s any potential cause for delay you need to watch out for.

3. Monitor the supply chain. 

Short of driving the truck yourself, there’s really not much you can do but keep an eye on the situation and do your best to be prepared. (And if you're anything like me, having no control over something you're in charge of is pure torture.)

With the right procurement software like Fohlio in place, you can easily keep track of your FF&E and OS&E lead times and reduce the risk of delays. Make it a habit to regularly check your delivery dashboard to see if anything has changed.

This way, you can quickly pivot if necessary.

4. Establish good relationships with suppliers.

We briefly mentioned this, but it bears repeating: So much of your project’s outcomes depends on human effort and sliding door moments. 

Building strong relationships with vendors can help ensure they prioritize your orders and provide timely delivery updates. When people like you, they won’t hesitate to pick up the phone when you call.

Furthermore, having an ongoing relationship with your supplier provides an opportunity for specializing services and customized approaches tailored to fit your specific needs. Working with the same supplier over a period of time can lead to excellent customer service while reducing cost and lead times – making it a win-win situation for all involved.

5. Use contingency planning.

Develop a backup plan for critical items in case of unexpected delays, such as using alternative suppliers, expedited shipping, or rescheduling work crews and equipment.

Delivery lead time for FF&E and OS&E items is often unpredictable and can lead to unexpected delays. Having a backup plan in place provides peace of mind in case of any delays – not to mention mitigate losses.

A good rule of thumb is: Unless absolutely necessary, don't leave anything up to chance.

6. Communicate.

Regular communication with stakeholders, including suppliers, construction team, and project owners is crucial for ensuring everyone is on the same page and addressing any issues promptly.

Consistent contact with everyone involved helps ensure lead times for everything from FF & E to OS&E are managed as efficiently as possible. Being predictable with your communications also helps people who work with you to anticipate your needs and keep you top of mind.

Finally, being proactive with communication ensures that any potential issues are addressed long before they can lead to further complications or frustration for everybody involved. Communication also reinforces relationships, so be sure to speak enthusiastically with all contributors - lead times will thank you.

7. Be proactive.

As the purchaser, you are by default taking the lead in the whole procurement process. That means being able to anticipate potential issues and work with suppliers to resolve them before they become major issues.

Flexibility is also key (see contingency planning above).

Proactively and regularly investigating into whether lead times can be lowered through each stage of the process can also save time, not to mention prevent delays.

8. Keep detailed records.

Maintain a detailed and up-to-date record of all FF & E and OS&E deliveries, including expected and actual delivery dates, to help identify trends and areas for improvement. It becomes easier to identify choke points or outlier cases that can cost valuable time and money for hotels.

Knowing the lead time for common orders also helps determine when staff need to order items in advance so they will arrive when needed.

Documentation also helps you detect consistency (or lack thereof) in suppliers and potentially land them in your list of favorites.

Long lead times are a reality for many furniture and fixtures procurement processes, but there are ways to mitigate the effects. By working with suppliers to establish realistic lead times, planning ahead, and monitoring the supply chain closely, you can avoid disruptions caused by delays. Good relationships with suppliers are also key to ensuring that your orders are prioritized and you receive timely updates on delivery status. Finally, contingency planning will help you be prepared for any unexpected delays. By following these tips, you can keep your project on track even when dealing with long lead times.

Want to learn more about how sourcing professionals manage extended lead times? Click here to get more visibility into delivery lead time and production lead time for FF&E.

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Published Feb 1, 2023