How FF&E Consolidation Dramatically Reduces the Pain of Schedule Changes

How FF&E consolidation minimizes the impact of construction delays and schedule changes, saving you time and money.

If your role is to get FF&E into new store openings, remodels, or conversions, then you know that changes to the construction schedule can create a negative ripple effect for you.

Permitting problems, construction challenges, severe weather—these can slow some projects down. Meanwhile, events can emerge that move other projects up.

“Factors like these can force even the most carefully prepared FF&E delivery schedule off the rails. But schedule changes don’t have to be so disruptive,” says Phil Vines, Director of Business Development at Store Opening Solutions

In the following, we’ll describe three ways that FF&E consolidation—an alternative to vendor-direct deliveries—can minimize the impact of schedule changes.

1. Help keep staff sane (and improve productivity)

With a conventional FF&E approach, a surge of store projects puts heavy demands on your staff to manage dozens of vendors and schedule potentially hundreds of just-in-time deliveries. But according to Vines, when schedule disruptions are thrown in the mix, the situation can get downright dire. 

Help keep staff sane

Now you’re swamped with contacting every vendor about the schedule change. Plus, you need to confirm each one can accommodate that change. “If they can’t,” says Vines, “you might have to open without needed FF&E or figure out a temporary way to plug that hole.”

Meanwhile, devoting so much attention to just one store—in what could be a program for dozens or hundreds of store projects—is killing staff productivity. And what about other important initiatives that are being put on the back-burner?

fixture inventory storage

How FF&E consolidation minimizes the disruption

When you use consolidation, you have your own warehouse space to ship FF&E. This not only enables your staff to conveniently order items much further in advance but also frees them from living and dying by just-in-time deliveries. 

Prevent a schedule change from throwing your program into a tailspin.

“Now a schedule change won’t throw your program into a tailspin,” says Vines. That’s because your FF&E are already in your warehouse space ready to be picked, packed, and shipped upon your request. And if you need to change a delivery date? You simply have to make one call to your consolidator to let them know. 

2. Prevent cost creep from blowing up budgets

Let’s say that after a one-month permit-related delay, a store project suddenly has an updated hard completion date—and it’s sooner than you’d like. Now you’re frantically coordinating deliveries, and it looks like one or two key vendors can’t hit your target date.

“When your back is against the wall, you may have to make desperate moves that are going to cost you big,” says Vines. For example, maybe you source fixtures last minute from another vendor, at a much higher price, or you opt to pay thousands more for expedited shipping.

Prevent cost creep from blowing up budget

Now let’s imagine a blizzard in the Northeast or a hurricane in the Gulf that puts a project on hold. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just continue your program momentum by conveniently shifting FF&E deliveries to some other area?

That won’t be easy with a vendor-direct, store-specific order model. In fact, not only will it be challenging to have vendors alter their schedules for you; you might even need to figure out where you can redirect FF&E deliveries en route—at potentially exorbitant storage rates.

How FF&E consolidation minimizes the disruption

With consolidation, a delayed project suddenly ready for completion doesn’t have to lead to costly last-minute decisions. That’s because you already have a warehouse of FF&E from which to draw.

A delayed project doesn't have to lead to costly last-minute decisions.

And what about when a storm throws a wrench into the schedule? If you have the ability to send installation crews to another region, says Vines, you can keep your schedule moving forward. “You just call your consolidator and tell them to hold on specific orders and instead pick a different set of orders for another region.”

3. Don’t get stuck with a schedule you can’t expedite

What if favorable construction circumstances emerge and now some store projects are moved up in the calendar?

Unfortunately, using a vendor-direct approach for your FF&E can mean being locked into the order schedule you established months earlier.

Think about your fixtures vendor, for example. If they’ve already slated individual store orders to be built and shipped at designated times, it can be nearly impossible to get them to change that schedule. “After all, they have their own internal reasons to stick to a schedule,” Vines says.

Don’t get stuck with a schedule you can’t expedite

How FF&E consolidation minimizes the disruption

With consolidation, you’re freed from those schedule constraints because, remember, your fixtures are already with your consolidator. So what if, for instance, you have a store remodel run where you’re doing two stores a week, but you’re told this will be ramped up to five stores a week come summertime?

We can flex our staff to meet the labor needs of our clients.

That’s not a problem when you use consolidation because your consolidator can adapt to your preferred schedule. “What we do here at SOS,” says Vines, “is flex our staff to meet the labor requirements our clients demand. So, we can pick and deliver orders as fast as you need them. Just give us a heads-up, typically three to four weeks out, and we can make it happen.”

Grow strategically by managing risk

A surge in store projects is an exciting time. After all, it means you’re growing! But what about managing risk as you grow? You’ve just seen a glimpse of how FF&E consolidation minimizes the pain of schedule changes—and in the process saves you time and money.

But when it comes to the savings that consolidation can generate, we’re really just scratching the surface. To find out what factors we analyze to calculate your real savings potential, be sure to check out Store Opening Solutions’ free FF&E program audit.

About Store Opening Solutions

We support the strategic vision of retail organizations with focused expertise in the consolidation and installation of store fixtures and equipment. Our dedicated team embraces your vision and partners with you to create appropriate inventory control processes.