Case Studies

Refurbish All Executive Furniture of a Financial Management Firm

Problem

Problem:

The existing executive wood furniture of a major international financial management firm in downtown Toronto was sending the wrong message to customers. It needed to reflect an image of austerity as well as sophistication and good design, messages that the firm wanted to communicate to customers. The firm wanted customers to be comfortable in the knowledge that they were not wasting their money on frivolous things yet demonstrating that they could make good sensible choices. Additionally, the firm was aware that investors were now making choices on an environmental basis. Environmental issues like sustainability and impact to the environment are having a major influence on the entire financial management industry.

Scope

Scope:

To deliver the image of frugal choice and good design, customer research indicated that the firm should change colour of all wood furnishings on this executive floor from a dark colour something lighter. This was a potentially expensive and time consuming proposition as the executive furniture to be changed was;

  • 40 wood desks with 40 matching credenzas and 40 matching 3 ft. tables
  • 80 wood guest chairs
  • 4 12 ft. custom board tables
  • 10 5 ft. round small conference room tables

Alternative Solutions

Traditional Solution:

A traditional solution was not possible in this case. Replacement of the furniture would have met customer requirement of good design but it would be in direct conflict with exhibiting a frugal choice and there would be a large negative impact to the environment in terms of disposing of the old furniture and not exhibiting sustainability through reuse of assets. The furniture could have been removed from the offices and refinished off site, with rental furniture occupying its place until it was complete. However, this option was a non-starter from the beginning because the impact to executive and staff productivity was prohibitive. The customer image during this period would have been disturbing as well. Therefore, the customer needed to explore an option that would meet their rigorous customer constraints.

Solution

Toronto Refurbishing Solution:

Using environmentally friendly water based technology so that people could work on the floor the next morning (no smell or off-gassing), on a 1 week notice, Toronto Refurbishing worked overnight for 2 consecutive weeks, cleaning and staining all the wood to a matching lighter finish. By accomplishing the work overnight there was no impact to ongoing operations. There was no environmental impact since all the furniture was reused and water based technology was used to refinish the furniture. The colour was chosen by an accredited designer to reflect sensible fashion. The cost to the firm was $53,900 to refinish 214 pieces of wood furniture, on site, overnight with no disruption. This equates to $252 to refinish each piece of furniture, far less than the replacement cost. The firm was then able to visibly demonstrate to its clients how it had made frugal, intelligent choices that had no environmental impact, indicating that their money would be managed the same way.