Santiago, Chile – On the first evening of their trip to Chile, the International Certified Flooring Installers Association’s (CFI) CEO Jim Walker and six CFI team members were stuck in an elevator between floors after an earthquake of 5.5 magnitude struck the Santiago region. The CFI team contacted maintenance personnel to get help; they had to crawl up to a higher floor to get to safety. Though a bit rattled, the CFI team moved forward and completed six days of installation training with personnel from Sodimac Homecenter.
During the trip, the CFI team demonstrated the latest installation techniques and led training that covered the topics of porcelain, laminate and wood. Over 60 installers and numerous Sodimac Homecenter sales associates participated in the event.
“The training is identical to that taught in the U.S., following the manufacturer’s guidelines, those of the National Wood Flooring Association, North American Laminate Floor Association, the Tile Council of North America and CFI’s proven installation methods,” said Walker. “Sodimac personnel constructed the props and designed the hands-on training. Tools and supplies were purchased by Sodimac and donated by several manufacturers. Kronotex donated laminate flooring and South American manufacturers donated the wood and tile products.”
Over 300 pages of CFI training guides were translated into Spanish for the trip. Walker noted “the guides include a wealth of information” to be shared with the flooring installers who represent some of the 500-plus individuals who provide installation services for Sodimac.
Bill Haas, CEO of Global Business Insights, has worked as a consultant to Sodimac for several years and promoted CFI’s training programs in Chile. “Based on my past experience with CFI, I know this is a perfect match for Sodimac. CFI will help Sodimac provide the finest customer service in South America. It is imperative to close the loop between the [retailers], manufacturers, installers and sales associates. It is a ‘win-win’ for everyone, but the end user, our customer, is the one who should benefit the most from raising the quality in all four elements of this business.”
Both installers and sales associates from Sodimac participated in the training. Walker taught programs designed for sales associates. “As with all CFI training, those who successfully complete the requirements of the tile, laminate and hardwood training will receive their CFI certification,” said Walker. “Extensive planning has gone into this [training] to ensure CFI delivers what Sodimac needs and expects. The CFI team collaborated with a group of instructors who are knowledgeable and skilled. The majority of the instructors converse fluently in Spanish.”
He added, “CFI is known worldwide and can provide installers on most continents, but does not yet have a presence in South America. This will soon change and CFI is delighted as a team to participate in this event.”
“Programs lasted late into the evening in order to share information and allow for extensive hands-on participation. CFI believes that to learn correctly, the majority of the training must incorporate skills training. This is accompanied by presentations, demonstrations, discussions and a written test,” said Bob Gillespie, past president of CFI. “We share other organizations’ goals and promote their programs. We are in this together to ensure the installation segment of this industry is the best it can be.”
Ben Boatwright, secretary of CFI and director of operations for Romanoff Flooring based in Atlanta, said “CFI is prepared to travel the world and carry the banner for quality installation.” Through his Spanish-speaking abilities, Boatwright has been instrumental in training thousands of installers in the United States.
“Sodimac is expecting real value for the time and money it has spent in organizing this event. I took a team that can deliver and understands what this means,” Walker added. “It is our goal to make a difference in customer satisfaction for those who purchase flooring in Sodimac stores. The CFI Team will make a difference because of the preparation that went into this training.”
For more information abut CFI, please visit www.cfiinstallers.com.
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