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FCLC commissions research initiative on installation crisis

LaGrange, Ga.—The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) has commissioned a strategic research initiative to lead the industry through the next phase of resolving the flooring installation crisis.

In September, members of FCLC worked with an industry consultant to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the research project. Four research firms were selected and made proposals for the program. In December, coalition members within FCLC met with the contenders and decided to move forward with Chicago-based firm, The Blackstone Group.

The Blackstone Group brings 30 years of expertise in delivering custom marketing research and consulting solutions. According to council members, Blackstone stood out from the other firms as they offer a full-spectrum of resources for multi-dimensional, multi-phase research engagements, and they employ advanced analysis tools and out-of-the-box approaches. FCLC members concluded The Blackstone Group will provide crucial insight and expertise as the flooring industry continues its resolution of installation challenges.

Key research objectives of the FCLC commissioned study include an examination of the evidence for gaps between the supply of and demand for floor covering installers, including an estimation of the size of this gap now and over the next five to 10 years. The study will also seek to quantify the financial consequences of the installation crisis on industry participants and lay out a stakeholder-driven determination of barriers and potential solutions.

The coalition is now working to gain industry support to fund the approximate $150,000 required for the research project. FCLC members committed approximately $50,000 to kick off the funding. Research sponsorships are available as follows: Platinum $20,000+; Gold $10,000+; Silver $5,000+ and Bronze $2,500+.

For more information, contact FCLC member Phil Zolan at pzolan@wfca.org or call 229-220-4974.

 

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FCLC tackles installation crisis head on

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 9.38.20 AMOrlando—The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC), a coalition of 11 flooring industry trade associations, convened its annual fall meeting to address installation—the most vexing issue facing the flooring industry today.

The meeting, which coincided with its second annual installation summit, prioritized objectives and confirmed a plan of action for the coming year.

The industry leaders acknowledge they cannot solve the challenge of installation until the scope of the problem has been formally quantified and analyzed. Their objective is to fully assess the scope and severity of the lack of installation professionals on industry sustainability and growth.

Industry executives say there are three facets to the installation challenge: The dearth of installers today in an aging industry; the declining skill level of existing installers; and the need to recruit the next generation of installers. At a recent Certified Flooring Installation (CFI) conference, it was noted that the averaging flooring installer working today is 56 years old.

The FCLC announced the member associations would fund a comprehensive research project in order to give a clearer picture of the severity of the growing installation challenge and the level of resources it would need to ensure long-term industry growth.

An experienced research firm will be engaged to conduct the work. An FCLC-member task force will recommend the appropriate research firm. The project is expected to be completed in early 2018.

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FCLC holds strategic planning meeting, funds installation research

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 3.21.11 PMOrlando, Fla.—The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) held its annual fall meeting Aug. 16, here, in conjunction with the Second Annual Installation Summit. The primary focus of the FCLC meeting was to hold a facilitated strategic planning session designed to prioritize objectives and confirm a plan of action for the coming year. Volunteer leaders and executive staff from 11 flooring associations participated in the meeting.

The FCLC noted it cannot solve the challenge of installation until the scope of the problem has been formally quantified and analyzed. The council has identified its current mission as follows: Quantify the scope and severity of the lack of installation professionals on industry sustainability and growth.

A comprehensive research project will be funded by the member associations of the FCLC designed to give a clear picture of the severity of the growing installation challenge and the level of resources ultimately needed to ensure long-term industry growth. An experienced research firm will be engaged to conduct the work. A task force comprised of FCLC member volunteers was appointed to develop the request for proposal and recommend the research firm. The research project will be completed in early 2018.

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FCLC to hold second Installation Summit

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 9.35.06 AMOrlando, Fla.—Leaders from across the flooring industry will convene at the second Installation Summit next month here, according to Robert Blochinger, president, National Institute of Certified Floorcovering Inspectors, and chairman of the Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC).

Retail owners, executives and other key personnel will meet on August 16 to discuss the installation crisis affecting the industry, progress made since leaders began addressing the problem and methods for furthering that progress. The meeting will take place at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando just prior to the 2017 CFI Convention. The Installation Summit, presented by Informa, will include an esteemed panel of industry members and experts who have been leading the campaign to manage and overcome the installation crisis.

“The FCLC, together with organizations including Certified Floorcovering Installers Association, have made great strides over the past two years in our efforts to resolve the installation crisis that touches everyone in our industry both domestically as well as internationally,” said Blochinger. “When we formed FCLC we worked together with leaders from all sectors of the business to identify the hurdles that are preventing growth and success in our industry. Installation shortage was the leader of the pack.”

For more information visit tinyurl.com/installationsummit or contact Blochinger at 954-830-4426 or bob@blochinger.net.

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FCLC taps Blochinger as chairman, welcomes new member

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.05.03 PMChicago—The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) added Robert Blochinger, president of the National Institute of Certified Floorcovering Inspectors, as its new chair starting immediately. Blochinger will help lead FCLC through a strategic planning process this year designed to develop an industry-wide plan for tackling the shortage of qualified installers in the industry.

Blochinger is the owner of Blochinger & Co., based in Boca Raton, Fla., where he has worked as a certified flooring inspector since 1990. He has been a flooring contractor for 35 years and is also a forensic investigator of flooring failure, consultant, expert witness and training instructor in addition to supporting a variety of industry organizations and initiatives.

FCLC also welcomes the Multilayer Flooring Association (MFA) as its newest association member. Based in St. Calhoun, Ga., this newly formed industry trade association has a mission to establish standards to insure the performance and safety of polymer composite core products for indoor residential and commercial environments, as well as monitor compliance of its members’ products through third party certification of these standards. In addition, the MFA will actively promote sustainability throughout both the life cycle of the product and the supply chain.

FCLC’s next meeting will be held in August during the Certified Floorcovering Installers Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla.

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FCLC holds first meeting of the year, identifies installation as top priority

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 10.17.30 AMLas Vegas—The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) conducted its first meeting of 2017 on Jan. 19 in Las Vegas during The International Surfaces Event. The organization begins its third year as an industry-wide working group established to identify issues and develop solutions that lead to the success of the floor covering industry and its professionals.

Fourteen volunteer representatives from flooring industry associations representing all sectors of the industry attended the January meeting.

The FCLC meeting was held immediately following the All Industry Installation Summit Task Force meeting also held during the Surfaces event. At the FCLC meeting, Tom Jennings, vice president of professional development at the World Floor Covering Association, recapped the highlights of the Installation Summit Committee Meeting as well as insights and ideas gathered since the first Installation Summit held in August 2016.

The FCLC determined that there was no higher industry priority than the installation crisis and thus the decision was made to direct all of FCLC’s focus and resources to this important industry-wide issue. Secondly, it was agreed that the members of the FCLC will develop a strategic plan which will serve as the road map for the Installation Summit Task Force moving forward.

FCLC’s next meeting will be comprised of a professionally facilitated strategy session focused on the industry installation crisis and will be held in Phoenix on April 13 during the NWFA Wood Flooring Expo.

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FCLC reconvenes to discuss, address industry issues, initiatives

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 8.51.48 AMCharlotte, N.C.—As part of its mission to work together to resolve some of the flooring industry’s largest issues, the Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) conducted its first meeting of 2016 on April 29 here. Fourteen volunteer representatives from flooring industry associations representing all sectors of the industry attended the meeting.

The two-year-old group’s initiatives, decided on in 2015, include improving communications between member groups and the industry, collaborating and sharing industry-wide professional training programs between member organizations, and addressing needs and issues related to the installation crisis.

As part of its initiative to streamline communications and cooperation between organizations, members of each group comprising FCLC provided a general overview and update on the state of their respective groups at the meeting. Discussion points included general news, executive hires and staff changes, upcoming events, and industry-related issues facing each association. Once each organization shared its updates, members collaborated to discuss which of the issues faced by their groups could be better addressed by working together at the local, state and national levels. In addition, representatives shared information on their own training programs and initiatives that are available for use by members of other FCLC associations. Updates on the group’s own website, fclcouncil.org, which houses a database of all member industry events as well as industry news, were also discussed.

One of the most pressing topics for the group at its April meeting was the need to address and resolve the installation crisis. Certified Floorcovering Installer’s Association (CFI), whose own mission is tied closest to this industry-wide issue, provided updates about the launch of its new school located just outside of Dallas. Throughout the year the school provides a full schedule of professional installation training and certification to students at all levels and in every category of flooring. In addition to its lineup of ongoing courses, the school also regularly offers a one-of-a-kind, proprietary accelerated five-week carpet installation training course throughout the year. Robert Varden, vice president, CFI, shared news about international attention that the school has attracted. He told the FCLC attendees that discussions of CFI training programs overseas are underway.

FCLC attendees also elected members to fill open positions for the 2017-2019 term. The term begins January 1, 2017 and ends December 31, 2019.

  • Chair- Michael Martin, NWFA
  • Chair-Elect- Bob Blochinger, NICFI
  • Secretary- Kim Oderkirk, FCICA
  • Chair of Communications- Kevin Gammonley, NAFCD
  • Chair of Training- Stephanie Owen, NWFA
  • Chair of Installation- Robert Varden, CFI
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FCLC outlines industry initiatives in first 2015 meeting

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 3.03.49 PMAnaheim, Calif. — The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) recently conducted its first meeting of 2015. The Council was formed in 2014 by 12 flooring-focused associations to identify the most important issues affecting the industry and develop solutions for the benefit of floor covering businesses and professionals. Leaders from 10 associations participated in the St. Louis meeting.

The three initiatives set forth by members of FCLC at inception are the creation of an industry-training portal, improvement of communications between members and the industry, and dealing with needs and issues related to installation.

On the issue of training, the group identified a pressing need for access to efficient, effective and affordable professional training and instruction for industry members in all capacities.

To address this concern the group agreed that an industry “portal” was needed to consolidate all available training programs by all organizations within the flooring industry in one location. This portal would provide access across the board to all available training programs at all levels and designations. In addition to the convenience factor, this consolidated platform would help to alleviate training program duplication and ultimately reduce training costs for companies by connecting them with programs that already exist. At it’s meeting in St. Louis the Council reviewed plans and options for the shared platform collected from outside vendors.

The FCLC delegates also discussed ways to streamline communications and cooperation between association members as well as the industry overall. The Council’s objective is to promote concerted efforts by flooring businesses and professionals in the furtherance of their shared interests and to economize on those efforts through unification.

As a part of this initiative the FCLC recently publicized the launch of its website at fclcouncil.org. Among other features, the site offers an industry-wide calendar of events. The calendar is event based only and does not include training programs of any kind. The site also includes a section on industry news, including press releases dispatched by member organizations. To submit an event to the FCLC calendar, please send the event name, date, time, location and informational web site address to sarah@fcica.com. Submission forms are also available on the website.

The last topic of discussion for the group was installation and its future. The group unanimously decided to address the need for adequate installation training programs as one of their key drivers due to the tremendous shortage of trained professionals across the country. Robert Varden from Certified Flooring Installers (CFI) and Brett Miller from National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) presented a program that they had recently launched and that includes working with groups such as Goodwill to put an installation program together. The program consisted of a five-week training session that included Business 101, OSHA Safety Training, wood flooring training and carpet installation. At the end of the training one manufacturer was targeted to work with the graduates on successful job placement. It turned out that the majority of the attendees for this most recent training program were U.S. military veterans.

The group will meet again in the fourth quarter to determine next steps.

 

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Floor Covering Leadership Council launches new website

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.18.23 AMAnaheim, Calif.—The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) has published a new website, located at www.fclcouncil.org. It consists of a home page about the organization, information on the council members with links to their association websites, a subpage listing member representatives and emails, a key initiative page, FCLC news, industry training emphasis that showcases the council members’ education and training with links to their individual training pages, an industry calendar of events and a submit an event form.

According to Kim Oderkirk, committee chairperson for the Communication and Cooperation Committee, “The website will help those in the flooring industry have a better understanding of who the FCLC is and the members it represents. One of the most powerful features within the website is the industry calendar, which captures all events of the floor covering industry. We ask those in the industry who plan events to look first to the calendar so we can avoid unnecessary overlapping of events.”

If you would like to submit an event to the calendar, please send the event name, date, time, location and event information website to sarah@fcica.com or use the submission form on the website.

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Floor Covering Leadership Council approves new logo

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.49.51 AMAnaheim, Calif.—The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) is pleased to announce it has approved a logo. According to Kim Oderkirk, committee chairman, communication and cooperation committee, “the logo represents various aspects of flooring including tile, carpet, resilient, stone and wood. We also wanted the name to be written out and avoid simply using the letters FCLC, as there are so many acronyms currently being used in the flooring industry. The new logo is a great representation of this organization.” The council plans to use the new logo on letterhead, press releases, marketing materials and the website which is the next project to be completed by the committee.