April 29/May 6, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 24
By Lindsay Baillie
Dallas—RFMS recently welcomed many of its top retail partners here for its 2019 Owner & Education Conference. The three-day event provided something for virtually every attendee with eight owner- and management-specific workshops that provided a macro view of the industry as well as 64 hands-on workshops to help users dive deeper into the software and its apps.
“Our goal is to help owners understand where technology is going as well as what we feel we can do to provide those resources to them,” Terry Wheat, president of RFMS, told FCNews. “We want them to be able to get a higher-level view of what they need to be thinking about as they plan the next three, five, 10 years in their businesses because things have changed unbelievably in the last five to 10 years.”
Part of that higher-level view consisted of owner workshops focusing on several topics such as exit strategies, the state of the industry, areas of RFMS that produce the most profit and hitting targets with business intelligence and benchmarking.
At the micro level, flooring store estimators, RSAs, designers, office managers, accountants, project managers, warehouse employees and owners all had the opportunity to get a better idea how the RFMS software works. Hands-on workshops included advanced order entry, strategies for sales reports, understanding RFMS Mobile and Measure Mobile apps, Measure for Windows and going paperless—to name a few.
“We have about 250 attendees who will get training in very specific areas of the software,” Wheat explained. “We have really tried to build specific curriculums that will help users who are actually pushing buttons every day to know better how to do it.”
RFMS users, such as Sha Reason, owner/president, After Five Floors, Powder Springs, Ga., enjoyed the conference’s format. “I’ve used RFMS software for about 20 years, but we just doubled down over the past couple of months and bought into more of the modules, more of the processes they have available,” he explained. “I want to get my team trained on those modules and learn more about the Business Insights [plat- form] as well as all the technology that's coming out and the new apps they have available.”
Wheat explained how RFMS is focused on building more mobile apps in 2019. “Over the next five years you’re not going to see very many people wanting to sit at a desktop and working,” he said. “They’re going to want to be able to work from a mobile position and particularly those of us whose businesses require going into the home to close the deal. Statistics show that if you leave the home without closing the deal your opportunity to close it goes down 50% the minute you walk out of the home. We’re trying to build more mobile applications that will let our database be much more efficient with a mobile device.”
Keith Urbom, sales consultant, Ernie’s in Ceresco, Ceresco, Neb., is excited to incorporate the new mobile apps into his day-to-day operations. “I will be managing our [flooring] department in our store in a few months, and there are some things on the agenda that I want to get our store up to speed on when I take over that transition,” he explained. “I’ve been familiar with RFMS for two years, and what I’m really excited about are all the mobile apps they’re talking about and how everything's going in that direction.”
Leigh Bakhtiari, president, City Carpet Carpet One, San Rafael, Calif., is hoping RFMS’ new tools will help her attract millennial employees. “RFMS is such an intense program and every owner uses it differently through different modules,” she said. “I’m always looking for best practices. It’s great for us to share ideas with other dealers from other areas who use the same software.”
One of RFMS’ more recent projects is Business Insights, which is a platform for RFMS users to benchmark their store’s metrics against others in the industry. In order to gain access to this data, an RFMS user must agree to anonymously share his or her store’s metrics with the software company. The tool is meant to provide flooring dealers with accurate and specific benchmarking data.
“We presently have 10% of our client base that are sharing their data which represents about 675 profit centers or stores,” Wheat explained. “We have $1.5 billion worth of annual revenue that’s being reported on, and it’s amazing what the [research] is saying. The information we’re getting and what we’re going to be able to show our client base as a benchmark is going to be just unbelievably valuable to them over the next few years. We’re able to drill down into product categories and things of that nature.”
Dealers such as Reason see value in the new tool. “We set up Business Insights a couple of months ago, but we’re working on moving our data around so it is comparable to other users,” he explained. “Consulting firms we’ve used in the past want us to be able to have the data because you want to compare yourself to another flooring company, not just the Ace Hardware down the road.”