Jon Hile, vice president of sales and national business development for CORT, explains how the organization makes home comforts an everyday reality for travelling nurses.
Temporary assignments for the mobile workforce have experienced significant growth in recent years as organizations turned to the practice in lieu of permanent employee relocations. The mobile health care staffing industry put temporary assignments into practice years before this trend took off, sending traveling nurses to hospitals with staffing needs across all 50 states. One industry leader in health care staffing has worked with CORT, a Berkshire Hathaway company that is the only national furniture rental company, to support their furnished apartment housing needs since 2003.
Approximately 50 percent of nurses deployed by this organization choose to stay in furnished apartments provided by the company while working on assignments typically ranging from eight to 13 weeks. As the largest health care staffing company in the country, this can represent as many as 4000 apartments at any given time.
Like many companies that must respond to fluctuating business conditions, this organization needed a furnishing solution that would enable them to maximize the efficiency of existing capital and human resources. Purchasing, managing and maintaining the large inventory of furniture required to support thousands of apartments can be a costly endeavor, particularly for employees' temporary needs, so rental furniture was a clear solution.
The company maintains apartment leases nationwide for a variety of lease lengths depending on local market conditions and the needs of the hospitals in that market. In some cases, multiple nurses may each have a room in one shared apartment. Furnishing apartments with rental furniture frees the company from the management burden and expense of furniture inventory management, and ensures that nurses are consistently provided with high-quality furniture. Rental furniture is also a flexible solution that allows for simple adjustment of inventory based on current demand.
CORT worked with the company to develop flexible solutions to meet their needs while delivering consistent service excellence. One such solution was a rebate incentive program based on the number of furniture leases signed with CORT.
In late 2008, CORT expanded their national scope to the top 70 markets nationwide, a great benefit to its customers. This expanded service reach also led to an expanded partnership between CORT and the organization as they signed a five-year agreement that guaranteed CORT 80 to 90 percent of the furniture business and housewares as needed. CORT nimbly responded to the increased volume, delivering on their reputation of unmatched customer service.
The staffing organization is committed to signing long-term furniture leases whenever possible, particularly in markets where there are hospital engagements nearly year-round and nurses rotating in and out of apartments. In return, CORT continues to deliver, pick-up and maintain furnishings at an affordable cost with a high level of service that the company had not consistently experienced with previous vendors.
The organization repeatedly evaluates their vendor relationships based upon a number of categories including general responsiveness and attention to service issues and, in the past, ended a relationship with a furnishings provider when nurse complaints were frequent and consistently unaddressed. Today, employees are thrilled with the service they can expect from CORT.
Recently, a consulting organization conducted an audit of processes throughout the company's entire system including suppliers, pricing, systems and training. This analysis confirmed that, when compared to other vendors, CORT consistently provided the best service and prices on rental furniture. This audit helped CORT's contacts at the organization validate the value of the program to their internal constituents and explain some of the details of the supplier program.
CORT will have continued opportunities to serve the company as they expand their nursing staff and introduce new services including traveling physicians. While CORT and this company have developed a mutual respect that has benefited both businesses, all CORT customers can expect the same respect and level of professional service when managing temporary housing needs.
Jon Hile is vice president of national sales and business development for CORT, a Berkshire Hathaway company. Previously, he was vice president of rental relocation services for CORT. CORT has led the nation's furniture rental industry for more than 35 years. For more information, please visit www.cort.com.
“Furnishing apartments with rental furniture frees the company from the management burden and expense of furniture inventory management, and ensures that nurses are consistently provided with high-quality furniture.”