March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20
By Lindsay Baillie
Las Vegas—The show floor at The International Surface Event (TISE) is packed with just about everything a flooring dealer needs to be successful in the coming year. Beyond viewing product and tool innovations, retailers have the opportunity to learn more about the various flooring-specific software companies that are looking to help the industry streamline processes and make more money.
Some of the latest software innovations seen at TISE aim to provide flooring dealers with easily digestible business insights—curating infographics that allow industry members to analyze metrics at a glance. Others are looking to make it easier for retail sales associates to close the sale as well as conduct day-to-day processes.
Following is an overview of some of the new programs and apps unveiled at TISE 2019.
The most important thing Comp-U-Floor has done is translate 40 years of experience into newer web and mobile technology. That’s according to Edgar Aya, the company’s CEO, who said he believes Comp-U-Floor’s latest innovations make it easier for users to complete day-to-day processes both in store and in the field.
“We are now using new tools and new designs that are more appealing to the users,” Aya said. “For example, if I’m an installer, I can now get my jobs automatically on my phone. I am also able to take a picture inside the customer’s home and upload it to the office. The technology is all cloud-based now and can be used on any mobile device.”
In addition, Comp-U-Floor software can be integrated with Measure Square’s technology.
One of Measure Square’s latest innovations includes an automatic takeoff program to help simplify the estimating process for commercial contractors.
“When a contractor uses this software it automatically finds the rooms and windows using AI technology,” Steven Wang, president, explained. “Once the room is identified, the user can drag a flooring product into the room and get the measurements. It saves people a lot of time.”
Another new application for the commercial flooring industry allows the user to create a 3D path through the floor plan. With this feature the user is able to determine how he or she wants to walk the customer through the project.
Pacific Solutions said it has revolutionized its takeoff software in an effort to make it easier for commercial contractors to locate the edges of each room in a floor plan.
According to Bob Noe Jr., president, the old way to digitize a floor plan involved the user clicking on one corner of the room at a time to manually identify the walls.
“We’ve come up with a wall finder tool so all the user has to do is click once in the room and it locates the edges,” Noe explained. “It saves a ton of time by evaluating the print and determining what is a legitimate wall. It’s a game changer. It’s way faster than going through it by the perimeter.”
In addition to determining the edges, this application is design to let estimators know how much flooring is needed for each of the rooms.
QFloors has developed QView—the company’s latest innovation—to help provide CEOs, presidents and CFOs with a simpler way to analyze business insights. This program, which took about a year to develop, provides flooring executives with multiple reports (in the form of widgets) on just one screen.
“In QFloors you’d pull up each one of these reports individually,” said Chad Ogden, president. “Instead of having to do that we’ve put them all on one screen for QView. An owner doesn’t have to search through reports—he or she can just look on one screen and then double click the widgets for more information.”
In addition to QView, QFloors talked to show attendees about its QPro cloud software, which was first introduced during the 2018 show but is now officially open to the public. “With QPro there’s really only two screens but it does all of the user’s invoicing, sales orders, inventory management, job costing—so we can teach [him or her] very quickly how to use it,” Ogden explained. “It’ll do the user’s b2b and all of these flooring-specific processes that programs such as QuickBooks can’t do.”
What’s more, Ogden noted, is the user doesn’t have to install anything because QPro is a browser-based application. The user is simply given a username and password to access company information.
This year RFMS is focusing on mobility. That’s according to Madeleine Bayless, director of human resources, who shared that a lot of dealers are looking for all of the functionality they have in the office to be on their mobile devices.
“We’re building things with our measure estimating software where users can show renderings of preset homes as well as 3D renderings when they’re in the customer’s home,” she explained.
Fred Kotynski, CIO, sees mobility as a game changer for the flooring dealer. For example, through the company’s latest mobile applications salespeople have a checklist they are able to follow when closing a sale. “You can bring a novice salesperson into a sales position and it’s not going to take them months to get to the point where they can make a sale,” he explained. “This is going to steer them through the process. The people who have implemented our measure and RFMS mobile apps, both in the store and in the field, have resulted in increased margins. Bottom line has gone up by points.”
Beyond mobility, RFMS is redesigning its API to better integrate with more products. “We’re just trying to give the customers what they’re asking for,” Bayless said. “More mobility and more access to their data so they can pull out what they need.”
At TISE, RollMaster put the spotlight on RM Data Analytics, its new data visualization and business intelligence created to make retailers not only more productive but also profitable.
“Powered by Tableau, it takes our sales analysis, which normally people could look at either on screen in a report or Excel, and turns those numbers into images, bars and charts,” Kelly Oechslin, marketing coordinator, explained. “With this plugin users can see and compare salespeople, accounts receivable, etc.”
RM Data Analytics aims to make it easier for dealers to look at their businesses as a whole. The company creates the dashboard that displays the analytics, and the application is available as a plugin to the RollMaster system. “The users don’t have to do anything extra except add the API,” Oechslin said. “We’ve automated every aspect of the flooring industry, and now we’re looking at ways to enhance the business with online reviews, credit card processing, email marketing and e-commerce.”