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Showing posts from May, 2010

Wood flooring’s role as a sustainable carbon storage container needs to be told.

Is hardwood flooring bad for the environment?  This is not a rhetorical question.  I recently learned that in parts of Europe there exists a persistent belief that cutting down trees to make hardwood flooring is a waste of natural resources and bad for the environment.  The reason for this misconception, what is being done about it and what wood flooring manufacturers can do to promote the truth about the positive role of hardwood flooring in carbon storage are topics of this post; but first, some general information to set the stage.  Trees are carbon storage containers and a primary tool in the process of carbon sequestration .  As trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide. They release the oxygen into the environment and sequester the carbon.  In fact, up to half of a tree’s dry weight is carbon. When timber is transformed into durable products, like flooring, the carbon remains in the wood and is transferred to the flooring which becomes a long-term carbon storage container (or “si

How Training and “E-learning” Can Improve ROI

With heightened market pressures and the need for increased efficiencies we know our flooring industry clients need to cut costs and increase business performance. Using the e-learning methodology for training is one way to cut expenses and increase sales while improving your training ROI. Even though we all know training is important, when the economy is lagging and budgets are cut, training is often one of the first things put on the shelf. Training, travel and seminars can be expensive and it can be hard to justify the lost opportunity cost of taking your employees out of the field or away from their jobs. Against these costs it’s sometimes difficult to realize the return on investment (ROI) that comes from investing in training.  But it doesn’t have to be that way. On-line education is an effective, cost-efficient way to train your sales force and reduce expenses, increase your competitive edge and improve the return on investment spent on training. E-learning technology allo

Predictions For the Changing Floor Covering Industry

The Floor Covering Industry has hit bottom and that’s a start upward.  Although the comps are low, we’re beating last year now.  While no one knows what the future holds for the floor covering industry in the U.S., we can be certain that public companies have plans and the necessary capital to ensure successful growth.  It’s also likely that we’re about to enter an era of new competition and unpredictable hyper-change that will alter the landscape as we know it today. The new buzzword in the luxury segment coined by Ron Kurtz is “ frugal fatigue ” which roughly means the affluent are becoming tired of frugality. Perhaps that’s analogous to “home sick” - the new home furnishing buzzword.  It is defined as being sick of the way your home looks when you know you’re going to live in it until its value increases, which is probably a long time.   “Home sickness” bodes well for the floor covering industry. Other trends don’t look quite as positive for floor covering retailers however.  A

Five Steps for Creating a Succession Plan in Your Floor Covering Business

Earlier this year I wrote about the annual "spring-cleaning" - that is cleaning up your balance sheet – which reflects your company’s assets such as real estate, equipment, inventories and receivables. Today I want to talk about creating a succession plan because without the right people in place the health of your business will be at risk even if your balance sheet is in order.  Businesses spend a lot of time and money maintaining buildings, plants and equipment in good working order and it is important to do the same for your most important and very expensive asset - your people. Even small businesses need to consider what to do if they lose key personnel. Personnel can change for many reasons. Sure they can be fired but they also retire, die or become disabled, get promoted, take a better job with a different company or relocate with their spouse.  People’s lives change and that means your company will too; well managed organizations will have succession contingency pl