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The Challenge of Casegoods: Customized, Made in USA, Budget Friendly

The Challenge of Casegoods: Customized, Made in USA, Budget Friendly

With the increase of new hotel and resort projects, as well as robust remodeling, owners and construction project managers are re-examining how they fulfill the millwork and casegood category of their building projects.

r.o.i. Design describes millwork as casegoods that are fixed to the architecture. Casegoods (typically described in the furniture category) and millwork are amortized differently on the balance sheet and quite often supplied by different sources. This area of procurement is a challenge but also an opportunity.

Aside: The debate about buying US or non-US continues, but the more foreign manufacturers merge their offering with state side distribution, the point of manufacturing is becoming less of a political, economic issue. We all need each other, globally to make our businesses work, within reason. Logistics and the chain of ownership continues to be the defining component to value and control.

r.o.i. Design can contribute to this dialogue with these observations:

  • Understanding: When the customer understands that the total cost of a product includes, freight, handling, staging and delivery-the criteria may change. The age old mantra, “you can have 2 of the 3 – 1. design, 2. price or 3. schedule” still holds true.
  • Flexibility: And when the project team is willing to look at qualified suppliers outside their list of typical vendors, value can be realized.
  • Cost Analysis: Overseas products may show up with a reduced unit price, but the cost and risk to get those products to the site, as designed and on time is not always as manageable. We see this situation being improved incrementally and by situation, but as of October 2015, we don’t make price or lead time promises on overseas product without considerable confirmation and agreement.
  • New Materials and Technology: While process and manufacturing styles for US manufacturers are consistent, their emerging ability to use new materials and technology are offering a value that competes with the “all in costs” of overseas manufactures.
  • Design-Assist: When project budgeting can take advantage of qualified suppliers, early in the process, value is realized. Sharing the designing of products with the makers of the products only makes sense to our customers.
Textured Melamine

Textured Melamine

New Materials

In the last few years, r.o.i. Design has specified “new materials” with great success.

  • Textured melamine panel products offer a huge advantage for larger projects.
  • The big names in laminate (Formica, Wilsonart, Pionite and Nevamar)  have done there homework and laminate, an affordable option, is becoming a more viable option to wood or stone in today’s designs.
  • And the combined use of solid surface veneer with laminates has created options for look and feel not available even a year ago.
  • Upholstered casegoods are a viable option. Technology and design has created a category of fabric that defies wear, responds to robust cleaning and is easily replaceable. Fabrics are merging with hard surface options.

r.o.i. Design has it roots in manufacturing for hospitality and while we only have a sample shop today, our interest, relationships and experience in casegoods and millwork continue to bring value to our customers.

We negotiate with our customers and their contractors to determine how we best can bring value to their millwork and casegood procurement.


“Yes, We Can Do That!”; Diversifing for Success

“Yes, We Can Do That!”; Diversifing for Success

The business world for designers is constantly changing. We have to do more for our customers with less. We have to continue to find new ways to bring value to our clients. If they read in the Wall Street Journal that designers offer new opportunities for corporations because we have been trained to problem solve, then we better “problem solve”. If their brother-in-law got a great deal on furniture through a designer, then we better be ready to do the same. If they are connected constantly to their smart-phone, we better be technically “smart”.

r.o.i. Design is first a consultative design firm making revenue by charging fees for interior design, graphic design, planning and programming.  But over the years, we have taken on seasonal products or services with the goal of giving our clients enhanced services; we have offered to decorate for the holidays, organize closets, design custom furniture, select art, create schedules and manage projects.

Today we have four projects that we are promoting in addition to our design services: (more…)

From Cutting Edge to Main Stream … How long is an idea “innovative”

From Cutting Edge to Main Stream … How long is an idea “innovative”

A few years ago, I attended a seminar at a local but nationally famous architectural firm entitled, “The LEAN Plan for Health Care Design”. At this seminar I learned that this group had collaborated with a local health care giant to create a landmark study about designing hospitals. It turns out they captured an award for creating intuitive designs that put the user needs at the core of the criteria, but the plan also accommodated the health care staff.

I was very impressed with the report at the time, very innovative and it make me think.

Today, more than two years later, (more…)