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NAFCD, NBMDA partner again for 2016 annual convention

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.33.15 AMChicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) and the North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA) have extended their partnership in 2016. The highly anticipated NAFCD + NBMDA annual convention will take place Nov. 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency here.

Bringing together more than 700 distribution professionals representing the leading distributors in the U.S. and Canada, the tabletop networking forum allows distributors and manufacturers to connect face-to-face and conduct meaningful business planning. Semi-private tabletop booths provide an ideal forum for senior executives and key decision makers to discuss distribution plans and strategies for the future while also reviewing past performance. Meetings are coordinated by appointment to ensure a highly focused and productive environment.

In addition to strengthening partnerships, the event fosters networking and knowledge sharing between attendees. New in 2016, the annual convention will host panel discussions for industry experts to share best practices and their experiences on hot topics such as social media. Attendees will be able to interact and continue to build relationships in social activities taking place throughout the convention.

The three days of the NAFCD + NBMDA annual convention will also be filled with value learning through five education sessions and the 2016 Distribution Management University (DMU). Rated highly year-over-year, education sessions allow attendees to take away relevant and practical business and sales knowledge.

“The joint event for NAFCD and NBMDA has proven to be successful based on the growth we see each year,” said Kevin Gammonley, NAFCD and NBMDA executive director. “We are confident 2016 will be no different. The annual convention continues to bring together top distributors and manufacturers to establish new relationships, enhance their business strategy, and access industry education, information and trends.”

Learn more about the event at www.distributorconvention.org. Attendee registration will open in July.

Manufacturers and service providers interested in securing a tabletop exhibit and/or sponsorship at the 2016 NAFCD + NBMDA annual convention can contact Robb Shrader at rhrader@distributorconvention.org or 312.673.5581.

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NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention wraps up

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 10.08.00 AMOrlando—Another successful NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention took place on Nov. 3-5 at the Hilton Orlando here. For the sixth consecutive year the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) and North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA) brought together more than 700 distribution professionals throughout the leading floor covering, specialty building material, cabinetry and woodworking industries to network, engage, learn and grow their businesses.

During the three days in Orlando attendees gained insights on trends in the floor covering and building products supply chain; learned tips for employee recruitment and retention; discovered how to expand their innovation and strategic thinking; reviewed global economic forecasts; shared best practices with their peers; participated in manufacturer-hosted meetings and social activities; strengthened relationships with current trading partners; and built relationships with new partners.

The 2016 NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention will take place Nov. 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

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2015 NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention gains momentum

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.40.02 PMChicago—The 2015 NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention, taking place Nov. 3-5 at the Hilton Orlando in Orlando, has gained momentum obtaining 45 new exhibitors. The show will bring together hundreds executives from leading distribution and manufacturing companies across North America.

Experts at the new social media lounge will assist attendees with improving their social media presence while nationally recognized speakers will provide an analysis of current trends and offer insights to the industry.

“This highly anticipated event allows attendees to establish and strengthen new partnership all in one place,” said Kevin Gammonley, executive vice president of NAFCD and NBMDA. “This is the most efficient event for our attendees to do business while receiving industry education and networking opportunities that allow their companies to grow.”

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2015 NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention reveals Diamond sponsors

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 11.10.34 AMChicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) and North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA) have revealed the Diamond level sponsors of the 2015 NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention, taking place Nov. 3-5 at the Hilton Orlando in Orlando.

The Diamond level 2015 NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention sponsors include Artistic Finishes, Chemcraft, Dancik, DMSI, Flooring Pro Fastening, Grass America, LW Mountain, M.L. Campbell, Zamma, UPG, Rev-a-Shelf and Meganite.

This annual convention brings together the top distributors, manufacturers and service providers from the floor covering, specialty building material, cabinetry and woodworking industries to network, engage, learn and grow their businesses in one place. Through the participation and contributions of the companies in the sponsorship program, NAFCD and NBMDA are able to develop and host a high-quality event where attendees can form their operating and logistics plans, develop marketing plans, discuss new products and cover the critical factors that establish and strengthen their partnerships.

Register at distributorconvention.org.

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2015 DMU focuses on maximizing sales, profitability

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Chicago—The 2015 Distribution Management University (DMU) will be held in conjunction with the NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hilton Orlando in Orlando.

The 2015 DMU is a unique opportunity for general, sales, branch and operations managers to expand their industry knowledge and enhance leadership skills. The 2015 DMU is focused on real world issues facing the market level manager. In this program, Bob Langdon, author of Managing Your Business for Profit, will show attendees proven techniques to increasing gross margin, cash flow and return on investment while retaining their best customers.

Managers who register by Sept. 15 can save $100. For more information visit distributorconvention.org/dmu.

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Despite challenges, optimism reigns for distributors

December 8/15, 2014; Volume 28/Number 12

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 1.48.29 PMDallas—From the opening inspirational story delivered by Sal Giunta—the first living soldier to earn the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War—to the closing optimism dispensed by noted economist Alan Beaulieu, the 2014 NAFCD + NBMDA annual convention left many attendees in a feel-good mood, ready to seize business opportunities in their markets.

“I’m very optimistic about the next couple years,” said Enos Farnsworth, president of Denver Hardwood. “We’re coming off unprecedented growth. Look at the crowd; there are 51 new exhibitors here.”

Torrey Jaeckle, vice president of Jaeckle Distributors in Madison, Wis., said the continued positive momentum was his big takeaway from the show. “We had it last year and it is continuing this year. Things are actually good. We forget how good things are sometimes when we get mired down in our business. We have a lot of opportunity.”

George Roth, general manager at Lockwood Flooring in St. Louis, said you come to the NAFCD show “to have the conversations you did not expect to have.” He added that the upbeat mood was stronger than last year. “People are positive; they feel there is so much opportunity. It is about helping each other, not just about winning.”

Heidi Cronin Mandell, president of The Cronin Co., Portland, Ore., called the relationships she has forged here the past two years “priceless.” She added, “I can learn something every day.”

Show officials said there were 355 NAFCD attendees, 51 first-time exhibitors (NAFCD and NBMDA combined) and 176 overall exhibitors. With more than eight hours devoted to exhibits, distributors were able to spend quality time with their customers.

“This is my favorite show to see customers,” said Kirk Sandifer, executive vice president of Cain & Bultman, Jacksonville, Fla. “It’s relaxed, you can get in and out of a booth quickly if you want, or spend as much time as you’d like.”

Bruce Hammer, sales manager at Elof Hansson, Norcross, Ga., said the company decided to exhibit only a week before the show. “We are glad we did. It has been a very productive show for us. We’ve picked up two distributors while we were here.”

Chris Thompson, vice president of sales and marketing at Boa-Franc/Mirage, said he had many quality one-on-one sessions with top-flight distributors over the course of two days. “It’s a very intimate setting here. You can usually spend as much time as you like with customers.”

During the conference distributors voiced their concerns about challenges they still encounter as the industry slowly recovers from the downturn. “It is an economy that is improving but not at rates we are used to post-recession,” Jaeckle said. “We all want to grow our sales better than the GDP. For us, residential was better than commercial in 2014. It looks like next year it might be reversed.”

For some distributors, among them Kevin Murphy, general sales manager of Trinity Hardwood in Austin, Texas, the biggest issue confronting them is labor. “It’s tough getting good people nowadays. That’s our biggest issue.”

Farnsworth added, “Getting drivers is the biggest challenge for us. We cannot hire drivers right now.” Jaeckle said the shortage of drivers heightens competition for the smaller pool of drivers, and that, in turn, leads to increased freight rates.

Margin pressure was another topic of conversation among wholesalers at the show. Cronin Mandell said that in product areas such as LVT, lines could get devalued when so many companies enter the channel, thus depleting margins for everyone. Some distributors have turned to private label programs as a way to improve margins.

Jaeckle said the real key is to not let margin issues occur in the first place. “You have to manage it, and we have the tools for that. Our data analysis tools allow us to drill down and find the problems and mistakes. It is a constant day-in, day-out process. You have to have someone in charge of margins or they will manage you.”

Economist spreads optimism 

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 1.48.14 PMAlan Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics and author of “Prosperity in the Age of Decline,” returned to NAFCD for a second straight year as a keynote speaker.

Beaulieu told a packed audience that the U.S. economy is still the strongest in the world, and challenged industry players to go after business now.

“The economy will be your friend for the next five years,” he said. “If you don’t have big, hairy, bodacious goals, you are going to miss out. You are entering a really good period in the U.S., but you may not feel that way. A lot of people don’t feel that way. I travel a lot and other countries have a better feeling about things than Americans, who tend to be introspective and down on themselves.”

Beaulieu said he is confounded by what he believes to be good economic data amid a grumpy populace. “GDP is at record high levels, employment is at record high levels, and yet 75% of our peers think we are in a recession. How is that possible? The media? I think they are all watching ‘Family Guy’ and think it is a documentary. What are we reading or thinking? This country has a lot going for itself and it is going to last a long time. It is fun and should be fun for a long time.”

The economist said his firm has upped its outlook in 2015 to 4% growth, which he termed “not the fastest growth rate, but still growing.”

Beaulieu said banks would lend money to those with stellar balance sheets. His advice: Borrow as much as you can now—even if you are flush with cash— because interest rates will be rising soon.

Installation challenge

The show featured roundtable discussions that touched on a variety of topics ranging from labor to social media. A common challenge continues to be finding and retaining qualified installers, with no easy answers in sight. Jon Namba, a certified flooring installer, said finding someone between ages 18 and 40 who will stay put beyond a year is difficult, almost to the point where he questions whether to provide training or not. “I feel like a temp agency sometimes, having to constantly babysit people. I don’t know what the answer is.”

Namba added that he has tried working with trade and vocational schools in his Salt Lake City market to cultivate new installers. After some initial success, interest eventually waned.

Graham Capobianco, who works in OEM business development and technical sales at Loba-Wakol in Charlotte, N.C., said during the roundtable that flooring leaders cannot by dissuaded by the “‘why train them if they are going to leave?’ mentality. Regardless of whether they stay or leave in a year, training is essential.”

Scott Rozmus, president of FlorStar Sales, Romeoville, Ill., said that flooring installation is not a glamorous job like being a doctor or engineer, and that hurts recruiting. “Mom and dad are not going to brag to the neighbors that their son is a flooring installer. Yes, the pay is good, but it is hard work and many new generations of kids don’t find that appealing.”

The 2015 NAFCD + NBMDA convention is scheduled for Nov. 3-5 at the Hilton Orlando Hotel.

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2014 NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention a resounding success

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 9.43.55 AMChicago—More than 700 distribution professionals came together from throughout the leading floor covering, specialty building material, cabinetry and woodworking industries for another successful NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention, Nov. 18-20 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Dallas.

Distributor attendees took advantage of many opportunities to build relationships and make strong business connections with hundreds of new and existing supplier partners. Attending distribution firms represented approximately 900 distribution center locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. One-on-one business meetings allowed attendees to form their operating and logistics plans, develop marketing plans, discuss current products and future offerings and cover the critical factors that establish and strengthen their partnerships.

In addition, the event’s educational sessions were highly rated and featured an impressive roster of thought leaders. Nationally recognized speakers shared their expertise on economic trends, innovative thinking, generational differences, trends in the building product supply chain and work-life balance. Attendees walked away with practical tips and best practices that they can implement to enhance their business and personal brand.

“We are very pleased with the number of industry leaders and executives who attended this year’s event and helped make it a success,” said Kevin Gammonley, executive vice president of NBMDA and NAFCD executive director. “As always, this highly anticipated event allows attendees to establish and strengthen new partnerships all in one place. We received positive feedback on the tabletop session, networking opportunities and education offerings.”

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NAFCD announces Leadership in Action and Lifetime Achievement Award recipients

image001-4Chicago—To celebrate leaders in the floor covering distribution industry, the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) announced its Leadership in Action and Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.

The Leadership in Action Award recognizes individuals for the positive impact and meaningful contributions that they have made to their company’s success. Aaron Hormann of Herregan Distributors, Jim Boyce of Rosel-Heck Co. and Flavia Baggio have all demonstrated leadership and contributed positively to the industry while being an innovator, motivator and a proactive contributor towards effective solutions.

Lifetime Achievement Award recipients have shown exceptional leadership and made outstanding contributions that have led to expanding the vision of the floor covering industry. Don Evans of Swift-Train, Jim Gunter of The Cronin Company, James C. Gould of The Floor Covering Institute and John Capell, Kerry Capell and Marsden Haigh, founders of CMH Space Flooring, are all recipients of the award.

All award recipients have made a tremendous impact in the floor covering distribution industry, and will be honored during the 2014 NAFCD and NBMDA Annual Convention.

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NAFCD and NBMDA announce convention location, partnership extension

Chicago – More than five hundred distributors and manufacturers will join together at the 2013 NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention to enhance their business strategies and meet with key decision makers in the flooring, woodworking and building materials industries. This year’s event will take place Nov. 12 to 14 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers in Chicago.

The 2013 NAFCD + NBMDA Annual Convention is not a traditional tradeshow. This event is recognized as a highlight every year by distributors and manufactures who are able to connect face to face and conduct meaningful business planning. Instead of full displays of products, distribution professionals come together to develop business plans and set sales strategies. A semi-private, tabletop booth offers a comfortable setting in which senior executives interact and discuss distribution plans and strategies for the future while also reviewing past performance. Meetings are coordinated by appointment to ensure a highly focused and productive environment. Continue reading NAFCD and NBMDA announce convention location, partnership extension