What Will You Do With All That Office Furniture?

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Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapirohttps://www.workdesign.com
Elise Shapiro is a contributing editor. Little did she know that her first job, in the facilities department at Ralston Purina, while obtaining her M. Arch at Washington University, in St. Louis would foreshadow where her career would lead. She has always been a strong advocate for providing the best possible spaces for people to work – where aesthetics meet function and drive business success.

Reseat is helping everyone from furniture manufacturers/dealers, designers, facility managers and end users to sustainably manage furniture inventory.

As a twenty-plus year office furniture industry veteran, Brandi Susewitz found herself contemplating all the changes that the disruption of the pandemic uncovered. The lightbulb moment came when realizing how the pivot from the “office as we knew it” to “working from home” or “the hybrid work experience” would result in tough corporate real estate decisions: relinquish space, re-think their office designs, even give up their space altogether.

Brandi Susewitz has a better idea!

Author disclosure: having had a lot of experience both sourcing and having responsibility for furniture disposition as part of my designer and project manager experience, I was really interested in finding out more of the backstory behind this innovative new enterprise.

What could happen to all that furniture?

While there were small movements to move the office furniture business to a more responsible, sustainable solutions in the development of material, design of products there were random attempts to organize and develop businesses that dealt with this, beyond the traditional used office furniture store. The easy (and only) solutions were usually a trip to the dump, sale to a used furniture dealer/liquidator or options for donation.

Designers, by disposition are not inclined to be interested in this aspect of a project. Furniture dealers may or may not be helpful in developing viable solutions. Facility managers hard pressed to just “get rid of it.” There had to be a better way.

What if there was a way to develop a tool to better manage the furniture process that not only took the initial acquisition and inventory management under control, but also provided a full life cycle solution to deal with the changes for the duration of the furniture’s life in the initial installation and add on a way to repurpose it as the company’s furniture needs changed?

Thus, Reseat evolved as a multipurpose platform to help everyone from furniture manufacturers/dealers, designers, facility managers and end users to have a useful tool to enable better management of furniture inventory, but to have a plan in place to manage the disposition of the furniture as needs changed.

WDM: Was there an “aha” moment when the lightbulb went off that you were onto something big?

Brandi Susewitz: There was an “aha” moment. It came after the global press coverage that we received – somehow, we received global press coverage in our 5th month. We didn’t have any money for PR or marketing dollars, and surprisingly, they reached out to us.

The morning that the article was published we had over three hundred orders in our inbox by 8:30 am and the orders kept coming every 30 seconds. During the next two weeks my husband and I were fulfilling these orders and fielding a massive number of calls from companies all over the world that had seen the article and wanted to get rid of their furniture. But there was one catch. They ALL needed it out within 6-8 weeks.

I felt like a failure the first couple of weeks (after receiving the coverage) because I was seeing beautiful inventories of things like Knoll Platner tables, Herman Miller Aeron chairs, Steelcase Leap chairs, Eames stacking chairs and more. But I couldn’t mobilize fast enough to help them because of the abbreviated period. That made me realize that there could be a way to get around this waste problem. What would happen if we thought about the furniture’s useful life cycle at or near the time of purchase.

WDM: Can you explain further?

Brandi Susewitz: By relegating furniture disposition to a last minute, frantic endeavor, bad and irresponsible decisions (just take it to to the dump) are made. This is what creates waste! When there is no planning and the pressure is on to just get the space cleared out – it creates a cycle of waste and perfectly functional and useable FF&E is squandered in landfills.

By recognizing where furniture disposition plans could logically enter into the whole project planning process, we produced Reseat ID which acts as a second life cycle passport to the furniture.

A Real Life Story

Brandi Susewitz: Here’s the thing. The facilities planning and design team at Oracle doesn’t just wake up one day and decide they are moving in 6-8 weeks. Oracle has known for at least a year that they are moving and that they aren’t bringing their furniture. I can share this anecdote because they were talking to me, as I was working at a furniture dealer, about their new furniture requirements 12 months before they were actually moving.

I realized that if they know a year in advance that this furniture is not going to be used in their new location, why not market the furniture ahead of time, so your disposition plan is part of the overall project plan.

WDM: Can you explain in a little more detail how the process works? 

Brandi Susewitz: By marketing their inventory in advance the company can login to their dashboard and click “sell” on everything they aren’t bringing with them. and it automatically publishes to the marketplace. Reseat does a site visit in order to verify that the information on the dashboard is correct when the decision to sell is activated.

This process allows adequate time to market the furniture. Typically it takes at least 6-12 months to successfully sell a used furniture inventory. It’s not like selling a sofa you are trying to sell from your home-it’s a building with hundreds or thousands of pieces and it takes time for the right buyer to find and decide what items will work for their needs.

By providing an easily accessible resource, anyone in the market for used furniture can utilize Reseat as a one stop shopping destination without having to scrounge around the old school, second hand, used furniture outlets. Reuse, recycle, repurpose is one way to break the cycle of waste and provide options for companies, businesses that want to update their spaces with quality furnishings.

Companies, by listing their inventory in advance have a workable timetable and planning mechanism to make that aspect of the project easier to coordinate and manage.

How It Works

Thinking through the entire furniture procurement process, the value-add of Reseat considers that at some point today’s furniture solution will not be viable and offers an already integrated way out for furniture disposition at the end of its useful life in its current situation.

The process starts with the furniture dealer when the furniture is procured – Reseat ID is a detailed furniture inventory tool. The Reseat ID Enterprise Tool is the resource utilized to track furniture use and facilitate sale or donation when necessary. When that happens, the designated inventory can migrate to Reseat Marketplace, an e-commerce site to specify, purchase and sell furniture that has from Reseat enterprise client inventories.

Going digital and integrating furniture disposition solutions into the project management process takes this element of workplace planning and design to a whole new level.

The “old school” furniture disposition solutions are not viable in today’s world. There’s a better way to find furniture destined for another useful purpose! Purchasing used office furniture has gone from this….
To this!

The Three Components Of The Reseat Platform:

1. Reseat ID

Reseat ID is a digital project management resource for dealers, designers, and vendors to seamlessly import furniture inventory, track specification coordination, and assist in record-keeping across all locations. At this stage, dealers and facility managers are aggregating new information to create a viable, initiative-taking plan for the second life of the furniture. Reseat ID can upload or import orders manually or automatically with a SIF file (the same file that dealers use to place orders with manufacturers) to the platform at no cost to the user. By adding 50% of a business’ project inventory to Reseat ID, the company is classified as a “Preferred Reseat ID Dealer” and earns a handful of rewards, including a 10% trade discount on marketplace items and a hassle-free return policy. Like all of Reseat, this identification tool can be accessed anywhere in the US and provides the opportunity for companies to receive BIFMA and LEED building credits by participating in the commercial circular economy and reducing office landfill waste.

How it works – Launchpad screen

2. Reseat ID Enterprise Tool

The new membership-based upgrade to Reseat ID, the Enterprise Tool, is the key lifecycle stage where information is pulled from the Reseat ID inventory, allowing customers to sell, move, or donate their furniture from an easy-to-use website dashboard. The Enterprise Tool membership includes a resolute account manager to easily coordinate requisitions on behalf of the company, intuitively moving the furniture into its next life. Membership fees are customized based on project square footage and number of items to manage. As the Reseat Enterprise Tool finds the furniture a new home, the previous owner reaps the benefit, collecting 15-70% of the profit depending on involvement preference. The dashboard features the ability to communicate with potential buyers, receive status updates, and schedule deliveries, all designed to support the circular economy in connecting to the Reseat Marketplace.

Inventory tracking capability

3. Reseat Marketplace

The Reseat Marketplace, the most fundamental aspect of the platform, is a transparent and curated design resource to source a wide range of used products, including traditional office furniture, communal space furniture, accessories, and more. Designers and architects can filter their search by location, brand, product type, quantity, and price – privy to all necessary design information uploaded from the Reseat ID stage. All furniture within the Reseat platform is vetted and priced at Fair Market Value (FMV), equating to an average cost markdown of 40% cost based on the item’s age and barcode specifications.

Product data

Recently recognized as Silver, Best of Neocon 2022 for Technology/Integrated Solutions, this digital platform and marketplace has gotten considerable attention for its groundbreaking concept to create a circular solution to manage workplace furniture from initial purchase to disposition to a second life in another facility. By providing the means to keep no longer needed product out of landfills not only is this a practical tool, but secondarily provides companies a way to manifest their corporate responsibililty goals for sustainability and being “greener” in their approach to how they manage their business.

The Reseat team accepting their multiple “Best of NeoCon” awards.

Reseat is a thoughtfully curated and crafted digital solution that in concept and reality takes a cumbersome and complicated process into a one stop solution that is easily accessible to everyone in the project management system.

It also offers an opportunity to acquire high quality contract furniture at a reasonable cost and without having to leave your desk!

Whether you are in the market to buy, or in the position of having to dispose of office furnishings, Reseat is an option that is designed to make life easier for all, in addition to providing a robust solution to eliminate the wasteful and ecologically unsustainable practice where 99% of used office furniture ended up in landfills.

Connect with Reseat:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapirohttps://www.workdesign.com
Elise Shapiro is a contributing editor. Little did she know that her first job, in the facilities department at Ralston Purina, while obtaining her M. Arch at Washington University, in St. Louis would foreshadow where her career would lead. She has always been a strong advocate for providing the best possible spaces for people to work – where aesthetics meet function and drive business success.
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