When you’re managing a large renovation, refurbish, or construction project, you’ve got a lot of moving parts to coordinate. Sourcing materials, supplies, and FF&E; shipping everything to Guam and moving it to your job site; putting together the project timeline and keeping it on track; hiring and scheduling subcontractors—the list goes on and on.

Rather than subcontracting out each of these items piecemeal, what if one subcontractor could handle multiple tasks for you?

Consider an FF&E installation subcontractor who could also help you move your FF&E to Guam, pick it up from the port and clear it through customs, store it in their warehouse (if needed), move it to your job site when it’s ready to be installed, and then handle the installation.

An arrangement like this could offer you some significant benefits, including:

Simplifying & Streamlining Your Processes

Working with a whole roster of subcontractors means keeping several lines of communication open, as well as coordinating multiple schedules. This can be both challenging and time-consuming.

Hiring a one-stop shop FF&E subcontractor adds immediate simplicity to your project by reducing the number of people you have to coordinate with. Rather than finding a freight forwarder, a local trucking and hauling company, and an installation subcontractor, you could make a single phone call and get all of those pieces handled.

Additionally, it can also shift several scheduling responsibilities to the subcontractor, who could coordinate their teams internally and take that task off your plate.

The One-Stop Shop: A Time-Saver When Delays Happen

Let’s look at a hypothetical solution to see how a one-stop subcontractor could streamline your project. Say you’ve hired a company to help you ship FF&E to Guam, receive it at the port, haul it to your job site, and also perform the final install.

Then, you get a call from your FF&E supplier, telling you there’s been a manufacturing delay. The FF&E won’t be ready to ship for another two weeks.

Rather than having to call the 1) freight forwarder, 2) local trucking company, and 3) installers, you can make a single phone call to alert your subcontractor about the delay. From there, that subcontractor will internally rework the schedules for ocean freight, port pickup, and installation, saving you significant time and effort.

Better Communication

In addition to reducing the frequency and volume of communication, hiring a one-stop shop subcontractor can also improve the quality of the communication.

Think of it this way: You could hire and coordinate several individual subcontractors who may never have worked together previously. Or, you could hire a one-stop shop subcontractor who would manage everything between their internal teams, who are already used to cooperating. There’s existing familiarity. That familiarity, in turn, sets the stage for a higher level of coordination and oversight. And, if you hire the right subcontractor, they’ll also have existing, tried-and-true processes in place.

All of this translates to eliminating potential gaps as well as misunderstandings. (And when you need to reach out, you’ll still only have to make one phone call!)

The One-Stop Shop: The Potential for Greater Oversight

Let’s take a look at another example to see how a one-stop subcontractor might offer greater oversight. Say you’re coordinating an FF&E install at two separate sites. All the FF&E was ordered from the same supplier, and they agreed to segregate each location’s FF&E into separate shipments.

However, let’s also say that supplier makes a mistake. Some items meant for job site #1 end up in the shipment for job site #2, and vice versa. If you’ve got one company doing the freight forwarding and another doing the installation, the mistake might not get noticed until the materials are already unpacked at the job site. However, if you’re working with a company doing both, the freight forwarding team might make it a practice to check with the installation team to ensure the shipments were packed properly.

This might seem like only a small hassle if both job sites are on Guam. However, if one project is on Guam and the other is on, for example, Saipan, this quickly becomes a much more expensive problem to fix. Working with a one-stop FF&E subcontractor offers the potential for greater oversight, which could catch this problem early in the game.

Bringing Another Party on Board Who Sees the Bigger Picture

When you’ve got a long list of subcontractors, each focused on their own individual task, there’s only one party who sees the big picture: the main contractor.

However, when you hire a subcontractor who can assist with multiple aspects of your project, you get the opportunity to bring someone on board who can share your goals and vision. You have the time and space to build a stronger relationship. And when projects go off the rails, you might discover that a one-stop subcontractor can deliver solutions you never thought of.

The One-Stop Shop: Case Study

DeWitt Guam was subcontracted to do a furniture, fixture & equipment (FF&E) move as part of the Naval Hospital Guam’s transition out of its 40-year-old facility. The job required careful coordination with the Project Manager and other subcontractors to ensure each aspect of the project was completed on time and in the right order.

Because of the complexity of this project, scheduling was critical. A single delay could create a ripple effect that hindered other contractors’ work. As a result of several challenges, the project was expected to finish late and over budget.

In addition to completing the FF&E install—and by request of the Project Manager—DeWitt contributed two additional solutions to the project,:

  • Container and freight staging. To improve the flow of incoming materials and reduce detention charges, DeWitt received incoming shipments, devanned containers at our warehouse facility, and moved the materials to the site as needed on a daily basis.
  • Waste disposal. The Project Manager found himself stuck without a solution to dispose of the hospital’s old FF&E as well as waste from the job itself, most of which was not eligible for Guam’s landfill. DeWitt Guam staged bins, broke down materials, recycled eligible materials, and made provisions for disposal of all of the waste materials.

With assistance from DeWitt Guam’s additional expertise and coordination, the project finished early and under budget. Read the full case study for more details on our one-stop solution during this project.

Now that you’ve seen some of the benefits for hiring a one-stop shop for your FF&E installation project, let’s take a look at the kind of capabilities to look for.

What to Look for in a One-Stop Shop FF&E Installation Contractor

As you probably know, every subcontractor has its own capabilities. To give you a sense of what might be possible on Guam, consider looking for an FF&E installation contractor who can offer the following services:

Managing the Logistics of Your Freight from Supplier to Job Site

Juggling multiple carriers can be a hassle. An FF&E installer who can also assist with shipping your FF&E from the original supplier all the way to your job site can lighten your load significantly.

Ask your FF&E installation subcontractor if they have freight forwarding capacity to handle of all the logistics of your freight, including:

  • Pickup from the supplier or distribution center
  • Drayage to the nearest port
  • Booking the ocean freight and/or handling the consolidation for less-than-container load shipments
  • Receiving the freight on Guam and clearing it through customs
  • Hauling the freight to your job site

A true door-to-door freight solution—from your supplier’s warehouse to your job site—will save you several phone calls and a ton of hassle.

Finally, you may not need it for your FF&E project, but it can also be handy to have a relationship with a freight forwarder who has access to air freight for any time-sensitive shipments—a true logistics one-stop-shop.

Bonus: Mainland Staging to Save Even More Money

Construction projects mean moving significant amounts of materials, furniture, fixtures, and equipment to Guam. Storage at your job site may not be available, and storage on Guam can get expensive quickly.

Ask about the possibility of staging freight on the mainland. Often, FF&E arrives on Guam without much thought to the loading of the containers. For example, if you’re renovating a set of officers’ quarters on one of Guam’s military bases, you might get one container full of beds, one container full of desks, and so on. Unless you have room for several containers at your job site, these containers will need to go to a warehouse where they will be completely unpacked and repacked so the installation crew can access the furniture one complete set at a time. If you haven’t planned for this eventuality, it can mean project delays and unexpected storage and handling costs.

If, instead, your installation subcontractor can arrange for this freight to be staged and packed correctly on the mainland, you can save a significant amount of time—and reduce storage and handling costs on Guam. (For more on this topic, check out our full explanation of common FF&E install issues.)

Warehousing & Storage Solutions

In some cases, you won’t have enough room at your job site to store all of the project’s FF&E. Additionally, keeping containers past their free time may result in detention charges that hit your bottom line.

Look for an FF&E installation subcontractor who can offer warehousing and storage space. This will 1) keep your job site clear until it’s time for the installation team to do their work and 2) help you save on container detention costs.

Additionally, as we noted above, mainland storage solutions can sometimes be more cost-effective than those on Guam. Look for an installer with mainland freight forwarding and storage relationships. If there’s certain FF&E that won’t be needed until a later phase, a mainland freight forwarder can hold them until that phase of the project is ready to begin, reducing storage costs in Guam. If your installation subcontractor can make those arrangements and coordinate their delivery date, that’s one more thing your project manager won’t have to worry about.

Bringing Their Own Equipment for Use

FF&E projects often require specialized equipment on site. For example, when devanning a container, your FF&E installer might need a forklift. Additionally, you may have the need to ground containers on site—i.e., remove them from their chassis. This makes for easier loading and unloading, and also saves you the cost of hanging onto the chassis. If your installation subcontractor owns a side loader, they’ll easily be able to assist with grounding containers on site, as well as picking up empties.

In other words, at the end of the day, if your installation contractor has specialized equipment they need to assist in moving your FF&E freight, that’s yet another element your project manager doesn’t have to manage.

Assisting with Recycling and Debris Removal

Finally, what if your FF&E installation contractor could help you with recycling cardboard waste—and potentially offer other waste removal services? Ask your installer what kind of capabilities they have in this arena. You might be able to check yet another item off your project manager’s to-do list.

In short, although you might have initially considered hiring an FF&E installation subcontractor, consider broadening your search for one with additional capabilities. In addition to simplifying your project management, it can also help improve communication, eliminate challenges through better oversight, and offer you a trusted partner who can help you execute a successful project.

Looking for a One-Stop Shop on Guam?

The DeWitt Guam team would love the opportunity to be your one-stop shop for your next FF&E installation project. In addition to our extensive expertise with FF&E installation, we also offer a number of other solutions. We can assist with door-to-door freight service, including pick-up from your supplier, all the way through to direct delivery to your job site. We also offer customs clearance, hauling, warehouse and storage, inside delivery, access to our owned fleet of trucks and large equipment, plus cardboard removal and recycling services.

To discover more, reach out for a complimentary consultation. Our team would be happy to customize a proposal for your next project.

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