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.
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.
There is a short walk between design and marketing. They are neighbors, and like good neighbors they share with one another.
No one wants a trendy design that will require a remodel before the bills are paid. No one wants a corny theme, but everyone wants a look that fits them and lasts the test of time. When branding a project, r.o.i. Design makes sure to include these steps in their process.
1. First understand the people who are going to use the space. What is their relationship to the brand? Is it their space, the place they work, their favorite retail store, their place of worship or the place to weigh-in for Weight Watchers?
2. Understand the message that the owner of the space wants to convey. We often hear words like professional, comfortable, efficient, welcoming, motivational, safe and casual. We want to provide those things and more. What attribute of the business or the owner can we share that is of interest and illustrates how this space is different from other places?
3. Be authentic. The details that extend a brand are meaningful and lasting. They can sometimes become iconic but don’t necessarily start that way. Quite often, our customer will relate these details as “fun” without being silly. They often are subtle or integrated in a way that is so natural that, “of course that detail would be there”. For CPA’s Baker | Holtz, who didn’t want to appear “shy” about their profession, we found little ways to make them smile and gave them landmarks in their space so they could give an interesting tour of their office.
4. Be addictive. When the recipe for a design works, the nuances of the “brand look” are happily continued by the users of the space. For a while, r.o.i. Design called themselves “Design Dogs”, happy to follow the customers lead. We saw ourselves so differently than the aloof cat-like designer stereotype that for a while we had dogs on the backs of our business cards. People started giving us dog sculptures and other dog-related stuff, on and on.
We worked with Spin Dance in their downtown Holland office space. We tried to understand the complex service this technology group offers to their customers and we tried to understand the name. We offered to them that perhaps they could illustrate data spinning, so quickly, so precisely and to the point, like a spinning top. It stuck. We want all spaces that are important to you to be significant and tell your story. You shouldn’t have to borrow a cup of sugar from “marketing” to make it that way.
10 FREE Design Tips:
- The least expensive changes you can make that still gives you a “bang for the buck”: paint and lighting.
- The reclaimed wood look will peak this year, but still be specified for the next five to six years.
- To look your best, freshen the lobby (entry)
- Exterior finishes are going darker.
- Interior finishes are going lighter.
- Quartz is the new granite.
- The use of graphics in interiors is growing.
- Favorite wood finishes are still dark but watch out, the light tones will come back soon.
- Metal and stainless finishes are not going anywhere.
Today, information and inspiration is a “click” away. We can “Google ” perfect paint scheme and be given ga-zillions of options for paint perfection. You want affordable office furniture? The internet will direct you to so many sites that you start to not value any of them. ( A couple of pages we follow include: designophy.com, designmilk.com, designntrend.com )
But what is the best advice r.o.i. Design can give you?
- Understand your goals for a design and make sure the changes you make in your business, school or home are going to help you meet those goals.
Asking the right questions and helping focus our customers on what’s important is equally valuable as picking the right color. So when you hire a designer, please expect more than aesthetics. You get what you pay for.
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…)