The Ins and Outs of Operating Supplies & Equipment (OS&E) Purchasing, an interview with John Carroll

March 16, 2018

What is OS&E, and how is it different than FF&E?

OS&E stands for operating supplies and equipment. These are the items most hotel guests don’t think about until they don’t have them — hairdryer, iron, hangers, towels, dishes and glassware. FF&E stands for furniture fixtures and equipment and in addition to furniture, includes things such as lighting, carpet and artwork. A successful hotel project needs both. After all, a beautifully-crafted bed alone won’t sell a room if it doesn’t have a mattress, pillows and linens.

What are the different kinds of OS&E projects you work on?

For hotel brands like Marriott and Hilton that have brand standards, we do the brand sourcing as well as pricing. For other properties, we do custom packages, helping them build their own OS&E package based on design and budget. For these customers, we’re essentially creating brand standards for them.

What types of items are typically included in an OS&E package?

A scope of work for the selection, specification and budget development of OS&E procurement services can be extensive and can include a range of items for administrative offices, locker rooms and employee dining, guest rooms (mattresses, linens, bathroom and closet amenities) and outdoor items (pool supplies & equipment and other recreational equipment).

It also includes, cookware, flatware, china, glassware and equipment for restaurants, room service and conference banquet facilities, life safety, engineering, housekeeping, uniforms and the front desk, each with their own specific needs.

What is the process for getting started with an OS&E project?

Many of our OS&E projects come as an extension of our FF&E procurement work therefore are included in every phase starting with our initial needs assessment through to purchasing and delivery. For others where OS&E procurement is the focus, the need for a demo room is often the catalyst for getting started. We begin with a kickoff meeting where we identify needs as well as review schedule and budget. We look at quantities and suggest par levels to ensure everything is correct. Whether it is a standard hotel project or a unique boutique hotel, we approach every project with a problem-solving mindset. By that I mean we aren’t order takers. We are expert consultants, price negotiators and project managers. The devil is in the details, and we manage them all.