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fcB2B to unveil new standards at 2017 meeting

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 10.34.32 AMDalton—fcB2B will hold its annual meeting at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Aug. 15-17, according to Scott Humphrey, CEO, WFCA. The event will coincide with the CFI Convention and other industry events.

“This year’s conference will include an unveiling and implemention of an all new set of floor covering B2B standards,” said Phil Zolan, executive director, fcB2B. These standards will address a laundry list of issues and “pain points” that currently exist, Zolan explained. “In many cases, outdated business-to-business transaction systems have been hindering trading partners across industries that have adopted more advanced B2B platforms. The new standards will move our whole industry from one based on 1997 technology to current, 2017 standards that are now fully compatible with standards used in all major industries around the world.”

In addition to the new standards, the meeting will include presentations on industry metrics, updates on the new web services being developed and implemented by association members and discussions on advancing the adoption of B2B by manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

Members and non-members are welcome to attend the meeting. Cost of attendance is $650 per person, which covers all meeting events, including the welcome reception, breakfast, lunch and breaks throughout the meeting. Discounted room rates at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort are available Aug. 12-19, but only through the registration link on the fcB2B website.

To register or for more information visit, fcB2B.org.

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Distributors’ perspective: Helping retailers embrace technology

October 24/31, 2016: Volume 31, Number 10
By Torrey Jaeckle

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-4-03-14-pmOne look at the displays in any retail flooring store these days and it’s easy to see that our industry is rife with innovation. The explosion of product innovation we’ve seen over the past decade is astounding, and something to be proud of. Unfortunately, when it comes to implementing technology on the operational sides of our businesses, our industry is often behind the curve.

The fcB2B standard has been in existence for over 10 years now, but is still a widely underutilized technology throughout our supply chain. Many organizations, including some NAFCD distributor members, have invested significantly in the ability to bring operational efficiencies to their customers. Yet so few retail customers take advantage of leveraging this investment. Why is that?

To be sure, many retailers are currently taking in fcB2B product catalogs from their distributor and manufacturer partners. But there is a hesitancy to taking the next step toward submitting purchase orders and receiving invoices and other documents in the fcB2B world. It is unclear why that is. Fear, trust and lack of resources could all be possibilities. Whatever the reason, I can assure retailers that their NAFCD distributor partners are ready, willing and able to help walk them through those next steps.

The specialty retail floor covering dealer has so much more to offer the consumer than the generic big-box stores. But the big boxes continue to make strides against the specialty dealer. If the specialty retail floor covering dealer is to compete effectively against these larger companies, they need to not only offer higher levels of service and assistance, but also exhibit operational efficiency as well. Consumers understand that you get what you pay for. They will, therefore, pay for higher levels of service, design help, quality products and professional installation. However, they will not pay for non-value-added activities. Are you still paying someone to call or fax in your purchase orders? Do you still have someone manually enter every invoice you receive? Do you still maintain your own product database of the many products you sell? If so, linking up electronically with your NAFCD distributor partners could bring great benefits.

So what can we all do to help move our industry forward? For retailers currently not engaged in fcB2B, contact your fcB2B-enabled suppliers to get started. If you are a retailer currently taking in fcB2B product catalogs but nothing else, contact your suppliers to start the process.

For fcB2B-enabled distributors and manufacturers, begin supplying data to the fcB2B association on a monthly basis. fcB2B is currently collecting data as to the extent of fcB2B usage in our industry. The only way to propel our industry forward is to collectively measure our progress. That is only possible if fcB2B suppliers anonymously share their data.

We’ve come a long way as an industry over the past 10 years, but there is still so much more we can do. In today’s environment, using technology to increase operational efficiency is not a luxury–it’s a must. I can assure every flooring retailer that their NAFCD distributor partners are here to help, wherever they are on the fcB2B continuum. We’ve already made the investments, and we invite retailers to reap the rewards.

 

Torrey Jaeckle is vice president of Jaeckle Distributors, a Madison, Wis.-based distributors of flooring and countertop surfacing products. He also serves on the executive committee of the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors. Outside of business, Torrey has written several op-ed pieces for the Wisconsin State Journal on educational issues.

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WFCA acquires fcB2B

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 9.52.26 AMDalton—The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) has purchased the Floor Covering Business To Business Association (fcB2B) and all of its assets. The decision was made on June 3 at an off-site meeting of the WFCA Board of Directors. The Board’s vote was unanimous in favor of the acquisition.

“The WFCA has been a visionary supporter and a financial backer of fcB2B since conception” said Scott Humphrey, CEO, WFCA. He explained the association’s mission is to enhance the business landscape for the flooring retailer. “Placing ourselves 100% behind a next-generation initiative that will streamline business transactions—thereby increasing efficiencies and reducing costs—was a logical next step for us.

“Technology is one of the six pillars on which WFCA’s foundation stands,” Humphrey continued. He identified fcB2B as a key component of that pillar. “We recognize that our member constituents will not be able to compete and thrive in the 21st century business landscape without the proper tools to streamline transactions and keep pace with the market. FcB2B is poised to change how we do business and the WFCA stands squarely behind this initiative.”

Through fcB2B, the groundwork has already been laid to move the flooring industry into the digital age. The task at this point is industry-wide adoption of the system. Once wide acceptance is secured, business transactions and the pace of doing business will be streamlined and new efficiencies will become the norm. It has been calculated that the fcB2B model could save flooring companies over $20 million annually. Manufacturers could save about $12 million and independent dealers may save about $8 million.

“A standard of doing business already exists in today’s e-commerce world and our industry has not kept pace,” said Phil Zolan, executive director, fcB2B. “Through our new association with WFCA, fcB2B will receive a much-needed infusion of support and credibility to take it to the next level. WFCA gives us a much broader platform for directing operations as well as the exposure and horsepower to push fcB2B through to all levels of the industry.

“What might surprise some in our industry is that they are already using the very technology that comprises the fcB2B platform,” he continued. “Users are not utilizing and tapping into the full potential of the technology they already have in place.”

Zolan added that fcB2B offers the same efficiencies for the retailer that exist in the B2C (business-to-consumer) market today. “Could you imagine going on Amazon.com and going back and forth with their customer service department for days to order a book?” he asked. “That is essentially how our industry is conducting business right now.”

He explained fcB2B technology brings the efficiencies of B2C to B2B. “Right now we are on the ground floor rolling this technology out into our industry,” he said. “Our estimate is that within in the next 12 months we will have doubled the adoption rate.” Zolan said retailers getting on board with fcB2B right now are part of the solution and these early adopters are helping to shape how the system will work moving forward.

For more information on fcB2B please visit www.fcB2B.org.

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Labor, installation issues dominate WFCA agenda

June 6/13, 2016; Volume 30, Number 25

By Ken Ryan

Rarely do a few weeks pass without the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) making some significant news, whether it is partnering with another flooring association or funding entities such as fcB2B or CFI. So it was no surprise that the recent WFCA board of directors meeting in Colorado Springs was themed: What is our next move?

Scott Humphrey, CEO of the WFCA, told FCNews that sometimes the next move is to “walk away from a deal; sometimes it is to double down and other times it is to consider something completely different than what you have been doing.”

Following are some highlights from the meeting.

In January, the WFCA announced a partnership with the Floor Covering Business to Business Association (fcB2B) through a financial commitment that included hiring a full-time executive director, Phillip Zolan. WFCA has taken the next step by folding fcB2B under the WFCA umbrella “as a way to secure its future viability,” Humphrey said.

Over the past 15 years the fcB2B team has worked to create a seamless digital program for the flooring industry, and studies show the program could save flooring retailers and manufacturers significant time and money. Humphrey encouraged flooring retailers to embrace this technology. “Not utilizing fcB2B is like using a rotary phone as opposed to a smartphone,” he quipped. Nine new members have joined fcB2B since January; dozens more are being recruited.

 

CFI

The WFCA, which absorbed CFI as a standalone division last year, has amended its bylaws so CFI will have at least two positions on the board. This is meant to give CFI a voice within the WFCA hierarchy. Tom Cartnell, who has two years remaining on the board, is currently the lone CFI member. However, CFI will create an advisory council to choose a second CFI member who will join the board during the next board rotation in January 2017.

 

Overtime law

In a move with implications for scores of flooring retail owners, the Department of Labor recently announced its biggest changes to overtime regulations in more than a decade, essentially doubling the salary threshold at which workers are eligible for time-and-a-half if they work more than 40 hours per week.

The final rule, as it is called, focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative and professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the final rule sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the south ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker). Additionally, the final rule amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10% of the new standard salary level. The effective date of the final rule is Dec. 1, 2016.

The WFCA, lobbying on behalf of independent dealers, urged the Labor Department to adopt the southern data, which in this case lowered the salary threshold by $3,000 to $4,000. According to Humphrey, more than 270,000 comments were submitted on this law, with the final rule included WFCA’s proposal to recalculate and lower the minimum salary requirement, to include bonuses in salary calculations and to make no changes to duty test.

The OT rule is one of several actions being addressed by the lobbying arm of the WFCA. There is the much-discussed employee/independent contractor issue, which puts flooring installers and retailers at the mercy of various government agencies and their specific benchmarks for what constitutes an IC vs. an employee; and the Marketplace Fairness Act, in which a state cannot require out-of-state online sellers to collect the sales tax owed from its customers who purchase flooring products. WFCA members, however, must collect the local sales tax, which ultimately affects the final price on their products.

Humphrey noted the WFCA’s lobbying efforts are gaining influence. “It’s because we represent the mom and pops. The lawmakers see the mom and pops on Main Street as having real votes—they matter. The legislators look at Walmart as one vote. I want our dealers to understand the power of their influence. We want to amplify their voices; we want to give them more clout in the marketplace.”

 

In other news…

Paul Pumphrey, now 90, is going to Washington, D.C., to visit the National World War II Memorial. The trip was made possible by the WFCA in recognition of Pumphrey’s contributions to the association as well as his military service. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marines from 1943 to 1945. He will be joined by Humphrey and others who will go to Washington to meet with lawmakers.

Pumphrey is the only individual to have served as president of both the Western Floor Covering Association and Retail Floorcovering Institute (later named the American Floorcovering Association), the predecessors of the World Floor Covering Association. Pumphrey, who regularly attends WFCA meetings, is a member of the association’s Hall of Fame.

 

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WFCA aligns with fcB2B to enhance e-commerce for flooring

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 4.22.01 PMAnaheim, Calif.—The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) has partnered with the fcB2B (Floor Covering Business to Business Association) to make the digital standard a reality for the flooring industry. According to WFCA, its board approved the initiative and investment at recent meetings.

As part of its financial commitment, the WFCA is funding the full time executive director position for fcB2B. Phillip Zolan, former director of continuous improvement at Mohawk Industries, will take on this role.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 4.22.12 PM

“Our industry has been doing business the same way for decades,” said Scott Humphrey, CEO of the WFCA. “Face-to-face meetings, pushing papers, sending faxes and making phone calls all have their place in our industry but not when it comes to financial transactions that can and should take seconds. No matter what industry you are in there is no doubt that e-commerce has become the common denominator for doing business efficiently and effectively.”

Over the past 15 years the fcB2b team has worked to create a seamless digital program for the flooring industry, and studies show the program could save flooring retailers and manufacturers significant time and money, according to Aaron Pirner, CEO of CAP Carpets and co-president of fcB2B, whose company conducted a study focused on e-commerce. “E-commerce is a must for the independents to survive against their big box competitors,” Pirner said. “It will improve business efficiency, business relationships and order management reliability. Ultimately this system will make customers happier.”

Citing the WFCA’s Purpose Statement, which seeks to “ensure the success and profitability of professional floor covering dealers and to protect their common interests,” Humphrey said it is time for the industry to enter the digital world with a fully integrated e-commerce business model. “The foundation is set and the pieces are in place to take it to the next level—full implementation—which is what we are going to do.”

Mitch Dancik, chairman emeritus, Dancik International and co-president, fcB2B, added, “Isn’t it time for flooring stores to act more like the Apple stores, and for flooring customers to have the buying experience they deserve?”

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RollMaster forms B2B partnership with Engineered Floors

Hammond, La.— Engineered Floors, in partnership with RollMaster Software, took a major step toward becoming an FCB2B Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.30.59 AM) trading partner this week. Working closely with RollMaster Software, Engineered Floors has successfully generated a fully functioning B2B Import Catalog and price list. Both companies are currently working to finalize the programming of all remaining electronic documents.

“Our clients have expressed great interest in receiving their product catalog as well as other FCB2B information electronically,” said Dev O’Reilly, president of RollMaster Software. “The RollMaster cloud delivery model enables everyone to participate immediately.”

This key partnership will result in Engineered Floors becoming B2B Compliant, benefitting all flooring dealers with B2B Import functionality as part of their business management software.

“The addition of Engineered Floors to the FCB2B partnership is an important step that is driven by the needs of our mutual clients.,” added Clay Rigsby, web development manager, Engineered Floors.” This furthers Engineered Floors as a technology leader in the floor covering industry.”

B2B technology enables software users to automatically send and receive key documents exchanged daily between manufacturers, distributors, and flooring retailers and contractors, such as pricing updates, purchase orders, and invoices, in a fraction of the time it takes to complete manually.

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‘Instant stock check’ creates fcB2B buzz

Volume 26/Number 17; January 7/14, 2013

ATLANTA—The latest web services technology demonstrated at the recent fcB2B (Floor Covering Business to Business) annual meeting here was met with universal excitement and enthusiasm.

In a live demonstration, Chad Ogden, president of QFloors, showed how his company’s flooring software could connect with Shaw and several distributors (J.J. Haines and Jaeckle, both using Dancik software) and immediately check stock in their warehouses. Continue reading ‘Instant stock check’ creates fcB2B buzz

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Dancik joins Pirner as co-president of fcB2B

Mitchell Dancik

Anaheim, Calif. — The board of directors of the Floor Covering Business to Business Association (fcB2B) announced the appointment of industry veteran Mitchell Dancik

as co-president to serve along with existing co-president Aaron Pirner, CEO of CAP Carpet, Wichita, KS. Co-presidents of fcB2B serve without compensation.

In making the announcement, fcB2B chairman of the board, Chris Davis, stated the organization is fortunate to gain the services of Dancik to complement and work in concert with Pirner.  “Mitch brings a wealth of experience and technical knowledge to the table that will mesh well with Aaron’s organizational skills. Together they form a very dynamic team to move the fcB2B agenda forward,” Davis said. Continue reading Dancik joins Pirner as co-president of fcB2B

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California’s stewardship law AB2398: Software suppliers respond

HICKSVILLE, N.Y.—On July 1, California’s AB 2398, otherwise known as the Carpet Stewardship Law went into effect. Though it is only two months in, it appears the thousands of hours spent by the industry—from manufacturers to associations—have paid off as so far the transition has gone about as smoothly as anyone could have hoped. One of the key reasons for this was the quick response by the industry’s software suppliers who made sure their systems were up to speed in providing the assessment to end users as required by law. Continue reading California’s stewardship law AB2398: Software suppliers respond

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CTDA to host B2B webinar

The next Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) webinar is scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 10:00 am Central on “Connecting to your Customers and Suppliers using the Floor Industry B2B Standard” with Pamela Bowe, executive director of fcB2B. Continue reading CTDA to host B2B webinar