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Showing posts from March, 2011

Ignorance - the top cause of flooring failures

I realized when I read Lew’s post this week that I was a good example of what his post talks about - the importance of knowing the right product and installation method for the application. I am getting ready to have my basement floor jack hammered to replace the drain in the laundry room in my 65 year old Midwestern home (oh joy). This means new flooring over new concrete in an area with an existing intermittent moisture problem. I know enough about flooring to know that I don’t know enough to make the right choice of either product or installation method by myself. And as it turned out, neither did my general or flooring contractors. So who do you think I called?  Lew Migliore, of course.  He had the perfect solution.   His post poses an important question to you…with all of the products available now, so many innovations, how do we make sure that the right flooring solution gets installed for each application? - Susan Negley Lew Migliore - We often hear that the biggest

Using technology to achieve Instant Distribution

I have been fascinated with the mechanics of distribution since the early 1980s. I have been privileged to work with the finest flooring, tile, and stone distributors in North America, as well as with inspiring distribution consultants such as Bruce Merrifield of The Merrifield Consulting Group  and the brilliant Wayne Quasha. Over the years, distribution has had its challenges but it has survived though consolidation, the rise of the big boxes and manufacturers going direct. Technology, the Internet and globalization now provide great new competitive advantages to distributors willing to embrace change. Manufacturers and importers do not question the need for the function of distribution, but they should and do question the need for traditional distribution methods of the past. Today’s distributors must address their web presence and Business-To-Business (B2B) capabilities with as much attention as their warehousing and trucking capabilities. Emerging manufacturers and importe

Passing of an icon prompts look at risk to specialty flooring retailers

Recently, Al Wahnon , founder of Floor Covering News passed away.  I always considered Al an icon of the floor covering industry; a good businessman, someone with a huge heart and a good friend.  As I thought about my nearly 40 years of knowing Al, I realized how much our industry changed in his career and mine. There have been many new, and innovative changes but there is one change that concerns me greatly and I believe threatens the very existence of specialty floor covering retail.   It is the “dumbing down” of our products and product knowledge, and the willing relinquishment of an important market position for the specialty flooring retailer as the source of information and expertise. Al Wahnon Consider this. When computer sellers advertise their products they are described this way:  Intel Core i7  1.60GHz, 4GB DDR3, HDD, DVDRW, 15.6” Display, Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit, Bluetooth 3.0 & USB 3.0.”  We (the flooring industry) advertise “oak hardwood flooring,” crea

Who wants you to be stupid; Part II

My January 3/10, 2011 Floor Covering Weekly column, Who wants you to be stupid? , elicited many passionate responses; more comments were made by readers to that column than to anything I’d written in the prior four years. My column was based on a Harvard Business Review blog by Michael Schrage who asked: “Should your best customers be stupid?” and “Do we make most of our margins from our ‘smartest’ customers or from our ‘stupidest’ ones?” His point, as he explained, was to examine whether the bulk of profitability is captured because customers appreciate the value of what you do, or because they're (effectively) ignorant or ill-informed and you exploit that with your product and price positioning. Depending on ignorance is poor strategy in a consumer-centric era, particularly when the consumer is often better informed than your salesperson. One retailer told me that they were not attending Surfaces because their biggest supplier wasn’t going to be there. In my opinion the be

FCI sends six consultants to Coverings to share insights and knowledge with the industry

I f you are going to Coverings, we hope you take advantage of the great, free education offered at the US top ceramic tile trade show. While the show features the newest, most innovative and yes, beautiful ceramic tile from around the world, you can also take advantage of education seminars offered by some of the country's top experts in their fields. We're sending six of our own from the Floor Covering Institute ("FCI") to share their knowledge and insights on a variety of topics. We hope to see you there too - Coverings March 14-17 in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.   Monday, March 14, 2011 2:45-3:45 p.m.   Jim Gould, Donato Pompo, Mitchell Dancik, and Stuart Hirschhorn team up to provide insights on  Economic Strategies to Boost Ceramic Tile and Stone Sales and Profits   "To fully understanding the challenges and opportunities of a product category requires understanding global forces impacting the market, trends in style and tech