Buying FF&E domestically
There are many reasons for the hospitality industry to choose purchasing companies, like Aspen Purchasing, that buy their products in the United States instead of China. But what are the benefits to buying FF&E in the US instead of China?
The general goals of hotel renovations are to deliver a finished product, as specified by the owner, on-time and on-budget. In the past Chinese products were cheaper and faster to deliver to the United States. This is no longer the case.
Lead times on products purchased in the United States are significantly less, compared with lead times from China. Aspen Purchasing Associates recently came into problems with a vendor ordering glass from overseas and delaying the project. All renovations are time sensitive, especially recently as the economy is slowly moving out of its slump .
The extra time to get the product isn’t the only concern, however. With lag time comes quality control issues. If it takes longer to get a product, there’s more exchanging of hands and more time for the product to get damaged along the way. If problems do happen the response time is inevitably longer because it takes so much longer to get the product in the first place.
Products from China aren’t necessarily cheaper either. China holds down the value of their yuan so their products appear cheaper to the US. But the cost of goods is a small fraction of any project. According to Alan Benjamin, president and founder of Benjamin West, in his article Bloom, Gloom, Recovery: Current Trends in FF&E he states “On average FF&E product is about 35 percent of a renovation, the majority of cost being made up of labor, freight, tax, fees, demolition, installation, etc.” Greg Sleter of Hotel Business Design affirms, “Combining shipping costs and other factors, there is far less difference in overall price between the US and China today than in past years”
Don’t be persuaded by a low upfront cost presented by China, US manufactured products are better for the overall financial health of a FF&E project.