FF&EZ®: Maximizing FF&E Designers' Effectiveness

FF&EZ is a tool for architects, interior designers and FF&E salespersons who wish to plan, organize and present design specifications for FF&E (furniture, fixtures & equipment). It can be used for everything from simple sales quotes to new construction projects, producing multiple documents in the most efficient way possible using a computer—with none of the drawbacks of word-processors and spreadsheets nor the technical overhead of CAD-based approaches. 

FF&EZ is used by firms in the United States, Canada, Europe and Africa to document FF&E projects on four continents. Project sizes range from small sales projects to new international hotels.

Interested in understanding how databases compare to traditional tools like word-processors and spreadsheets? The blog has a full discussion.

Standardized, familiar structure

FF&EZ's power comes from a database framework in which the familiar parts of FF&E design and presentation work (vendors, areas, rooms, etc.) are created once and then linked together by picking them from the resulting lists.  This means that, unlike spreadsheets where descriptive information must be copied (and in turn, corrected) wherever it occurs, in FF&EZ you simply make a correction on the list that is the source of the information (such as a color or cost on a specification) and this change flows through the project.

One tool for both small quotes and large projects

FF&EZ's database is designed to handle the largest design projects, while special functions and shortcut features allow it to be used for simple quotes and sales orders.  This gives you a tool that lets you start small if you need to, but with the ability to grow into projects of any size without having to switch between different software programs, especially if you later need to order replacements.

Totally automatic calculations

Although some approaches may calculate simple totals, they may require you to calculate total project quantities for each item across all room types.  FF&EZ tracks all three quantities that can affect project totals: 

  • Quantity of related products used in an object (e.g., fabric needed for a chair)
  • Quantity of objects in a room
  • The room count (or mix) in repetitive building types like hotels

Like a spreadsheet, this eliminates a major source of manual errors in quantity calculations, but without need to write multi-dimensional formulas yourself.  If you change a room count, the budget, cost and price totals for every item in the room are updated.  If you change an item cost, cost totals will be updated in every room where it is used.

Powerful data manipulation

As you keep using FF&EZ, a major long-term advantage of the system becomes evident: Its ability to use pre-built (prototype) items and re-use data from previous work: With FF&EZ, you can:

  • Clone (copy) entire projects to create new ones
  • Clone rooms, objects and specifications within a project to create design variations without needless duplication or re-entry of the same data
  • Import entire rooms, objects and specifications from other projects, including prototypes and templates you set up (you can build entire project skeletons in minutes, even for very unique designs).

Extremely fast response

Unlike some browser-based software with slow response times and simplistic user interfaces, FF&EZ responds as fast as you can type, instantly verifying and saving your data.  Sorting, querying and locating items ranges from extremely fast to instantaneous, while remote internet access can still be accomplished using typical 3rd-party remote access services. For high-traffic multi-user configurations, FF&EZ is compatible with desktop- and application-sharing tools that are a part of Windows Server and 3rd party products such as ThinStuff XP/VS.

Two versions fit differing needs

FF&EZ comes in two basic versions: Design and Design/Purchasing. The Design system can produce project or sales order documentation from budgeting through presentations, sales quotes and ordering lists, while Design/Purchasing adds the conversion of ordering lists into actual purchase orders, then tracks and invoices them.  For companies with existing purchasing / accounting systems that want to import ordering data generated by FF&EZ, there is also the Design + Order Export option.

Single and multi-user licensing to fit a range of office sizes

For single designers and very small offices, FF&EZ is available in an inexpensive single-user license, but design groups and design/purchasing firms can take advantage of the multi-user site and corporate licenses, which gives you a system in which multiple users can work on the same project simultaneously.  Plus, FF&EZ's consolidated database approach means that the file management issues you see with word-processors and spreadsheets are a thing of the past.

To learn more, use the links just above to learn more detail about the different versions, view the Video Tour or contact us.