Collaborating with a Strong Union

Large Manhattan Hotel

The Challenge:

Change management is the cornerstone of our work at Carpedia Hospitality. It’s the approach we use to guide clients through the transformations that ultimately improve their operations. It’s also the part of our business that tends to generate the most interest from prospective stakeholders. Typically, the questions revolve around the impediments to change we’ve experienced in the past, or how we tailor our approach to fit within certain operational restrictions. We’ve also found that stakeholders in union environments tend to be particularly interested in the change management aspect of our work and how their specific operational parameters can be brought into the fold.

This was the case with a large luxury hotel client in Manhattan. Our client knew that they wanted to create an atmosphere of continuous operational improvement, but was concerned about aligning any operational changes with the hotel’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and past practices. Carpedia Hospitality was brought in to help implement a sustainable improvement strategy that not only provided a measurable operational benefit, but also satisfied each of the CBA stakeholder groups. As we expected, there was a lot of interest in how our approach to change management would fit within this particular operating environment.

During our analysis of each area, the focus was split evenly between understanding the CBA and understanding the actual operation. This allowed us to pinpoint specific instances where the CBA and daily operations diverged from one another. Correcting these variances became the bandwidth of change, where improvements were derived simply by establishing consistency between the hotel’s daily operations and its CBA/past practice guidelines.

The Changes:

The following changes were installed:

  • Created a Labor Management System (LMS) that incorporated CBA considerations, past practices and standard productivity metrics; resulted in a 7% productivity improvement
  • Installed scheduling models throughout the hotel that linked expected guest volume with the required activities and frequencies
  • Created a daily reporting framework to measure area performance-to-target, help root-cause variances and foster continuous improvement dialogue
  • Developed more accurate Food & Beverage forecasts to help with planned daily production and staffing levels
  • Installed a system to balance employee “payouts” for guest amenities (preparing rollaway beds, cots, fridges, etc.) with guest revenue for these items, which exposed a $260 000 annual revenue opportunity
  • Created daily assignment tools across the property to standardize tasks and balance capacity with required activities

The Results:

By changing its forecasting, executing and reporting activities to focus on both standard productivity metrics and union considerations, the property introduced an element of consistency into its new LMS. The result was an overall 7% productivity improvement and realignment between the actual operational requirements and CBA/past practice guidelines. By standardizing assignments and communication, the property was also able to capitalize on quarter million dollar revenue opportunity in the Rooms division.


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