A busy and successful interior design firm is like a well-oiled machine, with leadership and staff all working as a team to ensure that the operations and logistics of each design project proceeds in a timely manner, within budget, and meets all client expectations. Top design firms employ an expeditor, a key role that is like “oil for the machine” who assists the entire staff by coordinating product purchases, generating proposals and purchase orders, working closely with vendors, warehouses, and freight services. An expeditor serves a crucial “catch-all” role in a firm to ensure that a design firm makes space for stellar design work and increased profitability.

As the design industry’s leading digital platform, Studio Designer has a deep understanding of the numerous detail-oriented tools that expeditors in interior design firms need to get their jobs done. Our company mission is to make designers’ lives easier by handling the tedious details and processes that drain so much time and energy. With Studio Designer—boosted by the work of an expeditor—design firms can position themselves to thrive, grow, and get to that next level of creative fulfillment.

People in the office

Custom Platform Features for Expeditors

One of Studio Designer’s top priorities is to maximize the efficiency of design firms, so it was important to implement custom expediting features so that all firm employees know the status of each and every item at any given time. As the platform is an item-based system, we have a dedicated expediting field in the “Codes” tab of every item along with other important date fields including “Order Acknowledged,” “Est Ship Date,” “Date Shipped,” and “Received,” “Delivered.” When you look at your list of items on the platform, you can even view all the items by the relevant dates which will just show the status of all relevant dates per item.

The Expediting field is entirely customizable and can be used in several different ways that can meet so many different client requests. The open field has a 50-character limit so you can put in lead times and locations, addresses, receiving warehouse details, etc. The other open field, “Freight Tracking” allows expeditors to have a dedicated place to put any freight information on the item level.

Expeditors especially value the standard expediting reports that come default in Studio Designer, that can be further customized to suit the needs of different firms. The popular “Project Worksheet Expediting” report allows the tracking of all the key expediting fields in one convenient view. Our custom expediting features are highly valued and Studio Designer client and expeditor Tracey Thornton of Steele Street Studios declared, “I’m in Studio Designer all day In fact, without access to Studio Designer, I am unable to perform my daily duties.”

Tracey took the time to share with Studio Designer just how she uses the platform as an expeditor for a busy firm. Read this interview with Tracey who shares in detail how Steele Street Studios benefits from her essential work as an expeditor.

Can you explain how the role of expeditor works for your firm?

The Expeditor role in our firm began about three years ago, and it has evolved ever since to include the following job responsibilities:

  • Entering new items into studio (using Studio Capture)
  • Pricing proposal items
  • Reviewing proposals
  • Placing orders
  • Tracking orders from order to delivery
  • Managing damage claims and coordinating local repairs
  • Sending weekly expediting reports for each project to designers
  • Updating all active items in Studio Designer—our rule of thumb is that each item has to be touched at least every 10 days
  • Procuring warehouse space and delivery services for out-of-state projects
  • Opening trade accounts with vendors
  • Training new employees on Studio Designer and creating training documentation

Why is an expeditor so important to a busy and growing design firm?

Before Steele Street Studios created the Expeditor role, designers were responsible for putting together their own project proposals, entering items into Studio Designer, and tracking those items until they were delivered. As the number, size and complexity of our projects have increased; the Expeditor has taken over these tasks. This was implemented to streamline the proposal and tracking processes, to standardize Studio Designer formatting, and to allow the designers more time to do—well, design work!

Can you describe a day in the life of an expeditor using Studio Designer?

As the Expeditor, my day usually starts by following up on and sending emails to vendors and designers for items needing immediate attention. This always involves looking up items in Studio Designer, making notes, updating ship dates, logging deliveries, and uploading paperwork to the platform. We track and identify by color code when an item needs pricing, when it has been priced, when it has been ordered, when it has been acknowledged, when it is supposed to ship, when it has shipped, and when it has been delivered and installed. Much of my daily duties involve updating the 700+ items we are tracking on any given day.

The Expeditor is also responsible for sending out expediting reports every week to designers for the projects they are working on that tells them where every item for the project is currently. These are also used so that other team members can help the Expeditor spot any items that might have been missed or that haven’t been updated recently.

Can you share some details about how you have customized Studio Designer, plus other tools you use in your work?

We use what we call color codes (also known as Color Priority Status indicators or color priorities) to track orders as described above. We also adapt some of the dates that are available under Codes to our needs. For example, we don’t use the “specification date” for anything else, so we use that date field to mark the last date an item was updated. This way, we know if an item has not been updated recently.

We also use Studio Designer as a repository for all order-related documents. Every document is uploaded to the item as it is received so that the entire team stays well-informed. This also cuts down on emails to send documents between team members, and we are always interested in reducing the number of emails we get!

Want to learn more about Studio Designer?

Studio Designer is the leading digital platform for interior designers managing and growing their design businesses, featuring fully integrated project management, time billing, product sourcing, and accounting solutions.

Want to learn how Studio Designer can work for your design firm? Schedule a call with our team: https://www.studiodesigner.com/get-a-demo/

We can’t wait to connect.