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Distributors’ perspective: Driving productivity and profitability

October 27/November 3, 2014; Volume 28/Number 10

By Kevin Gammonley

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 2.46.39 PMGrowing your business requires a number of important efforts, not the least of which is educating your people and building a quality network. Education is key to staying ahead of industry trends, and networking is about making connections and building enduring, mutually beneficial relationships. Ask any senior executive, politician, community leader or successful salesperson who has excelled in his or her career what the keys to success have been. An overwhelming majority will say that to succeed, you must continually educate yourself and your team, and leverage your network.

Facilitating business connections amongst distributors and manufacturers is the most apparent role of the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) due to our valued events throughout the year. In addition, a core driver that initially attracts distributors to the association is a desire to learn from other distributors and be exposed to leading-edge training on how to drive productivity and profitability within their distributorship. There are many options for distributors to simply listen to professional speakers, but within NAFCD events they are exposed to trainers, consultants and educators who specialize in wholesale distribution and/or the flooring and building product industries. The opportunity to learn from these individuals as well as from peers, competitors and trading partners is invaluable.

NAFCD is continually monitoring trends that are growing in importance to wholesale distributors as well as talking with other associations both in our industry and across other distribution channels to see what is emerging and what is impacting their members—either negatively or positively. We are also always seeking ideas about new and different topics, presenters and training mediums. Our ultimate goal is to continually refresh our menu of member services and programs with new education and information offerings.

Last year, we introduced the NAFCD Quarterly Sales Trend Survey to give our members insight into how their companies and the marketplace are performing compared to their competitors and fellow distributors in other markets. This year, the report was expanded to include the insights and forecasts of the manufacturer community. These quarterly reports continue to increase in participation while fast becoming a valued data resource.

The 2014 NAFCD annual convention is just weeks away in Dallas, Nov. 18-20. This event is the largest concentration of floor covering distributors and features many opportunities for distributors to learn from each other while being exposed to top-notch speakers covering both distribution management and general business topics. Scheduled on the front end of the convention is the NAFCD Distribution Management University program designed as an exclusive one-day training session for general, sales and branch managers from within floor covering distributorships.

NAFCD represents the premier distributors in the industry. These firms have continued to grow and prosper due to their commitment to educate their people, learn from their peers and enhance their communication to their suppliers. If you are a distributor interested in learning more about how to take advantage of these opportunities, join us in Dallas.

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Distributors' Perspective: The importance of keeping it simple

Volume 27/Number 24; March 31/April 7, 2014

By David Powell

powell_davidNapoleon Bonaparte once said, “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.”

Colin Powell’s formula for decision-making is as follows:

“Part I: Use the formula P = 40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired.

Part II: Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut.” Continue reading Distributors' Perspective: The importance of keeping it simple

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Distributors’ Perspective: Upbeat. Re-energized. Ready for growth.

By George Roth

Oct. 21/28 2013; Volume 27/number 13

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 9.35.06 AMAs my term as president of the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) comes to an end, I am thankful for the opportunity to work with so many people both front-and-center and behind the scenes who continue to make NAFCD such a great organization. We’ve had a successful year of providing essential values to grow our businesses, and we’ve done it through education, networking and just plain hard work.

The relationships I have made will continue beyond this presidency, and I encourage each of you to consider volunteering with NAFCD—you take away far more than you give. Serving on the board of directors, for example, is one of the best ways to grow my leadership skills and serve the industry. Continue reading Distributors’ Perspective: Upbeat. Re-energized. Ready for growth.

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Distributors' Perspective: Reaping the benefits of networking

August 19/26 2013; Volume 27/number9

By Michelle Miller

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 10.59.19 AMNetworking is defined as “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.” There are many platforms today that help facilitate networking.  Social media—including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter—and even texting have emerged as networking tools and can support the sharing of information. Yet, while these methods are becoming increasingly popular, some individuals still prefer a face-to-face venue. Continue reading Distributors' Perspective: Reaping the benefits of networking

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Distributors' perspective: More associations

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by Craig Folven

As a board member of the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD), I’m clearly a big proponent of association membership.

When people realize my company, Herregan Distributors, belongs to multiple associations, some don’t understand the point. “Aren’t all associations the same?” they ask. “Don’t they offer the same education and networking events? Won’t one association cover all the bases?”

In my opinion, these couldn’t be farther from the truth. Association membership holds enormous value for distributors. Continue reading Distributors' perspective: More associations

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Distributors’ perspective: Simple advice leads to lifetime success

By Robert Hagood

Volume 26/Number 20; February 18/25, 2013

On my first day on the job, my father woke me up and drove me to work. In the car he said, “Son, I woke you up this morning, but from now on, I expect you to get yourself up.”

At 15, this was a transitional conversation. It was June in 1982, but his words still have an impact when my iPhone buzzes early every morning. Continue reading Distributors’ perspective: Simple advice leads to lifetime success

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Distributors’ perspective: NAFCD spoke. We listened.

by Bob Wagner

The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) has had a back-to-basics year. It began when I, along with the rest of the association’s leadership, wondered whether we were providing good value to our members. As we are always recruiting new members, we asked if our story was strong enough to attract new firms to NAFCD. I found out early in my tenure as NAFCD president that we didn’t know how we were doing, so that begged the question: How do we find out? Continue reading Distributors’ perspective: NAFCD spoke. We listened.

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Distributors’ perspective: Complaints, claims are opportunties to shine

by Harvey Johnson

One of the areas where retailers, distributors and manufacturers have the opportunity to shine is when complaints are voiced by the consumer. First, let’s get our terminology clear and correct. Consumers call retailers to register complaints. Too often, we call these complaints claims; however, they are not claims until there is a determination of a real problem, be it installation or product related. Continue reading Distributors’ perspective: Complaints, claims are opportunties to shine

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Distributors’ perspective: Invest in your branch manager

by David Williams

In these tough economic times, many are focusing strictly on needs vs. wants. The “want-to-haves” are pushed to the wayside in favor of the immediate issues at hand. In my opinion, investing in a branch manager’s education is more than just a want, it is a crucial need in order to grow your business and maximize your company’s assets. Continue reading Distributors’ perspective: Invest in your branch manager

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Distributors' perspective: A brighter future

by Bob Wagner

We all learned something from the NAFCD conference this year. What did you take away from it? Was it the roundtable discussions that got you thinking? Maybe it was an educational session that gave you that “ah-ha” moment. Perhaps you visited an exhibitor that gave you a great deal, or maybe you ran into someone who will now be a lifelong contact. Continue reading Distributors' perspective: A brighter future