As part of a series of blog posts focusing on buying office furniture, we have put together a simple guide to creating an FF&E policy for a business that aims to take the hard work out of the planning and decision making when it comes to Fixtures, Fittings & Equipment, whilst also looking to use it to save money too. Read on to see more.
Summary Of What To Consider In Your FF&E Policy
This is what you need to consider in your FF&E policy for a business. The rest of this blog post explains what a FF&E policy is, why you need it, an explanation of all the considerations in more detail (click each consideration to jump to that section) and a free checklist to help you plan your furniture order.
- Items Which Are Your Responsibility
- Frequency Of Renewal
- Maintenance Contracts & Agreements
- Readiness Of Replacements
What Is It And Why Do You Need It?
Creating a policy for the maintenance and purchasing of replacement Fixtures, Fitting & Equipment is important for your business because these items are integral to the performance of your office. They also have the potential to carry quite an impact on your cash flow should items need to be replaced or expensively repaired at short notice.
In principal, if new items of office FF&E are required, such as desks, chairs and storage for new and existing staff following a period of recruitment, but there is no planned expenditure on these items; how will the business operate?
Overdrafts may need to be extended temporarily, other means of extra credit sought or cheaper (and less cost effective) options sought in order to compensate, in order for the business to continue operating effectively.
An alternative resolution would be to pay for whatever choices are available for immediate dispatch, but these could be costly options, especially if you need to pay for express delivery.
A full and thorough FF&E policy will mean that your accounts team will be forewarned of expected expenditure amounts, whilst cost savings can be maximised due to being able to have the maximum range of choice.
Also, aside from offering potential cost savings, being able to choose from the full range of FF&E items means that you can choose items which sit well with existing furniture and ones which will be available long into the future. Or, at least, are neutral enough to choose something complimentary should they be out of circulation when it comes to buying again in a few years time.
This avoids the need for expensive overhauls of the whole FF&E catalogue.
What You Need To Consider In Your FF&E Policy In Detail
Items Which Are Your Responsibility
If your business operates from rented premises, the first matter arising when it comes to creating an FF&E policy for the business is what is your responsibility and what is the landlord’s. Check the letting agreement and see what is documented in terms of features such as carpets, feature lights and window blinds.
Even if they were provided as part of the rental agreement, it may be worth making the decision to remove and store all of these items, ready to be reinstalled when your letting agreement comes to a close. This will ensure that costs are controlled and can be well forecasted.
Of course, however, you will then need to include whatever items are involved into your new FF&E policy. Assuming this to be the case, here is what you need to include in your FF&E policy, subject to them NOT being the responsibility of and owned by the landlord:
- Carpets and Soft Floor Coverings
- Decorative or Feature Lighting
- Window Blinds and Decorations
- All Loose Furniture (and associated accessories which are not consumables*)
- Kitchen and/or Laundry Equipment
*‘Consumables’ refers to wall decorations, computer and telephony cabling, electronic devices. ‘Accessories’ refers to items such as desk screens, pedestal storage and the like.
Frequency Of Renewal
From there, it is important to document the expected lifespan of all said items and the cost of replacement or refurbishment. This will allow for easy forecasting of future expenditure, ensuring you keep your FF&E functioning at an optimum level.
This will also stop FF&E items falling into disrepair or needing increasingly frequent maintenance and repair. All of this can detract from staff productivity and efficiency, so it is important that you plan and schedule it well in advance.
Maintenance Contracts & Agreements
And it’s also important to draw up and include details of your planned maintenance contracts and agreements. If you have contract maintenance teams or have an in-house facilities management staff, their input and interaction with your FF&E items should be documented in the policy.
This will help to avoid any ambiguity in terms of what is and isn’t the responsibility of the facilities team, the office staff themselves and anything in between. It can also be used as a marker for judging whether it is time to replace FF&E items because they will be being maintained and repaired over frequently.
Readiness Of Replacements
When this happens it is most likely time to invest in new or fully refurbished and recycled FF&E items. But a thorough FF&E policy should include the links and resources to find replacement items from your supplier, such as product codes and style numbers. This will allow you to quickly deduce whether you can order exact replacements or need to purchase from a new range.
There will obviously be cost implications when deciding between purchasing a one off exact replacement or having to begin a roll out of replacing all items of FF&E due to the original styles no longer being available.
Checklists Keep You Organised
A good way to get on top of all of this from the outset is to check that you have everything in one handy checklist. We put together this free checklist to help you decide what needs to be included in terms of furniture, a checklist order sheet and somewhere to keep all the relevant information handy. Download it now for free and start organising your FF&E properly and effortlessly.