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What is FF&E and OS&E for Hospitality Design + Procurement?


Specify and procure FF&E and OS&E at scale with Fohlio today.

When it comes to hotel design and procurement, two of the most important acronyms to understand are FF&E and OS&E. Brand standards are especially crucial to creating the ultimate guest experience across locations – and materials are going to make the biggest impact. So to begin: What is FF&E? This stands for Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment. OS&E, on the other hand, represents Operating Supplies and Equipment. Both play an essential role in hospitality design and procurement, but they are two distinct categories of items that require different procedures.

Learn more: Converging Workflows: How to Reduce FF & E and OS&E Costs

In this article, we'll explore which items fall under these two categories, plus how to: 

  1. Manage approvals 
  2. Create a materials library
  3. Implement design standards
  4. Craft a design narrative
  5. Use an ff&e specification software 
  6. Utilize hospitality procurement software

FF&E: Meaning and Examples for Hotel Design

FF & E or Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment are all items that are permanent or semi-permanent; they don’t get replenished on a regular basis like consumables do. This includes everything from furniture to lighting fixtures to air conditioning units. In other words, anything that isn’t part of the building itself but that is necessary for guests to enjoy their stay falls under the FF&E meaning.

Learn more: How FF&E is Bringing Hospitality Design Trends to Life

There’s a fun way to picture this: If you pick up a hotel and shake it, everything that falls out is FF&E. That includes beds, night tables, wall art, and lamps. It does not include walls, ceilings, and floors.

This fun illustration does kind of fall apart when it comes to the semi-permanent objects – namely, the fixtures. That is: the shower head, faucet, and lighting.

Learn more: What is FF&E: The Ultimate Guide to Specification, Procurement, and More

Learn more: FF & E 101: How to Build the Ultimate Schedule

A Better Way of Managing FF&E Procurement 

We’re going to skip the generic advice here of making sure you do due diligence on your suppliers, setting a budget, keeping a close eye on lead times, etc. 

Instead, we’re going to talk about how to sync FF&E specification and procurement so that the two workflows are not antagonistic towards each other.

By keeping both workflows on the same platform, you save a massive amount of time and money that you would have otherwise spent on manual, repetitive work and correcting errors.

Learn more: 4 Tools to Streamline Specification and Procurement Teams

For example: What if your procurement department didn’t have to copy and paste thousands of items from a specification software to a procurement software? And what if your specification team could see purchasing data from past projects so they could avoid discontinued products from the get go? 

Fohlio’s product information management platform can make this happen. 

What is FF&E and OS&E? A Primer for Hospitality Design and Procurement | Fohlio

Image: The Ritz-Carlton in Bali

OS&E: Meaning and Examples for Hotel Design

OS&E stands for Operating Supplies & Equipment; this category consists of items that get used up quickly and must be replenished frequently (e.g., linens/towels/sheets). Unlike FF&E items which can last years with proper maintenance and care (provided you choose quality products), OS&E items tend to need replacement more often due to wear-and-tear or just general use.

OS&E can also include consumables such as paper products, toiletries, coffee, and cleaning supplies.

OS&E Procurement

When it comes to purchasing OS&Es for your hotel, there are several factors you need to consider in order to maximize resources. 

First, determine how many rooms will require which types of supplies—this will give you an idea of how much inventory is needed overall (as well as how much money needs set aside for restocking). 

Secondly, research suppliers who carry quality products within your budget range. Beyond that, also consider lead times and dependability. You may also want to keep sustainability in mind.

In Fohlio, you can build a list of trusted suppliers. This is especially helpful if you have a large number of options and you want to compare several different factors.

Learn more: The Only Procurement Management Plan Template You'll Need

Managing Approvals for FF&E and OS&E

When designing a hotel space or purchasing hotel supplies, it's important that everyone is on the same page. One way to ensure that all stakeholders are in agreement is by having a clear process for managing approvals. 

Every person involved in the project should sign off on materials before they are purchased. This can be done with an approval sheet or checklist that outlines who needs to approve what items at each stage of the process. This will help keep everyone up-to-date on the decisions being made throughout the project. 

Learn more: How to Track Changes, PO Approvals by Thresholds, and Project-Based Templates

FF & E Materials Library Management

Another way to ensure that everyone is on the same page is by creating a materials library. This library should contain all of the details about the materials being used in the project such as product names, colors, finishes, sizes, textures, etc. 

Having all of this information in one place makes it easy for everyone involved in the project to access specific details when needed. It's also helpful for keeping track of any changes made throughout the design process so that everything stays consistent from beginning to end. 

Ideally, your materials library is your single source of truth, making it easier to enforce brand standards and lower procurement costs.

Building a Design Narrative   

Once all of these decisions have been made it's time to create a design narrative. This is a document that outlines exactly how each space should look once completed based on all of these decisions about colors, furnishings etc. 

The goal here is not only to provide clear direction for designers, but also serve as an educational tool for clients so they can understand why certain choices were made and how those choices translate into their overall vision for their space(s). 

Learn more: How to Build FF&E Brand Standards: An In-Depth Guide

What is FF&E and OS&E for Hospitality Design + Procurement? | Fohlio | ff&e meaning | FF & E | FF&E and OS&E hotel | design narrative

Enforcing Hotel Design Standards & Design Matrix 

Creating design standards is essential when designing hotels because it helps ensure consistency between different locations while still allowing each space to have its own unique look and feel. 

Hotel design standards must include guidelines regarding color palettes, furniture styles and finishes, lighting fixtures and more. 

A brand matrix can also be used to identify which elements should remain constant across multiple locations for maximum brand recognition (i.e., logo placement/color) while allowing other elements (i.e., wall coverings/textiles) to vary from location-to-location depending on budget constraints or desired aesthetic outcomes.

Learn more: How to Build FF&E Brand Standards: An In-Depth Guide

Learn more: Scale Fast While Keeping Franchise Locations Brand Compliant

FF&E Specification Software 

After all of these decisions have been made and documented in your design narrative, you then need a system that will help you organize your specs into one place so they are easy to find. This includes any point during the process, and even after your project's completion date has been reached. 

Specification software like Fohlio helps streamline this tedious task by providing an intuitive interface with drag-and-drop functionality so you can quickly categorize items according to your own custom categories. 

Fohlio also allows you to build pre-approved product lists to select from, to make it easier to enforce your hotel’s design standards.

Hospitality Procurement Software 

Finally, once everything has been decided upon, approved, organized, and documented , etc., you need a system that will help make sure everything gets purchased correctly & at competitive prices.

A good hospitality procurement software like Fohlio helps streamline & automate every step of the purchase order processing from supplier selection & product pricing comparisons through invoice payment tracking & tracking. It even allows you to set up custom dashboards so you can easily view & analyze data related purchases whenever needed.

And like we mentioned earlier, having both your specification and procurement teams on Fohlio drastically reduces cost. You not only save time by eliminating manual and repetitive work, it also cuts down on time spent correcting errors. That means less money spent on unnecessary man hours. It’s also less cost associated with having to send back the wrong items and reorder the correct ones, or pay fines because of delays that could have been avoided.

To conclude, FF&E and OS&E are critical components when it comes to designing hotels or other hospitality spaces—but managing them doesn’t have to be overwhelming (or expensive)! By understanding what each acronym stands for—Furniture Fixtures & Equipment vs Operating Supplies & Equipment —managing approvals , creating material libraries , implementing design standards , crafting narratives , using specification software , & utilizing hospitality procurement software -you’ll be well on your way towards keeping everyone on the same page while creating beautiful spaces that people love.

Featured image: The Ramble Hotel

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  • Save days of work with faster specification
  • Create firm-wide design standards
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  • Keep your whole team on the same Page
  • Manage product data
  • Track budget against cost in real time.
  • Prepare for asset valuation
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Published May 2, 2023