2011 World Series Champs. What an amazing ride this season has been for St. Louis fans. Congratulations Cardinals!
St. Louis, home of the Floor Covering Institute.
• A large US manufacturer claims it has had to lay off one third of its workforce and that capacity utilization sits at 43%.
I believe any lay offs and capacity utilization reductions is mainly due to the catastrophic decline in the US housing market resulting from bad decisions by US banks.
• The playing field has changed. It is a race to the bottom and is driven by something that did not exist five years ago and that is imports of Chinese products.
Chinese products have been around for the past 10 years including the time of the housing boom in the early to mid nineties.This would have been a better time to complain as at that time the allegations made in this case were much closer to the truth. But they're right in one aspect. The playing field has changed - the global playing field that is - and we need to be aware of that.
• Chinese cloning of creative product and illegal logging all contribute to the increase in sales of Chinese products in the US.
To blame the Chinese for cloning is not really fair. All US manufacturers closely monitor the new product introductions of their domestic competitors and if successful they happily clone them, sometimes they even used China to do it. Thinking ahead, if US manufacturers export to China's growing floor covering market they will surely ship products compatible with existing consumer preferences there. Is that a form of cloning?
• Chinese suppliers are more flexible regarding minimum volume requirements and therefore make private label programs easier and more viable.
Chinese manufacturing methods allow them to make smaller product runs efficiently.
• Chinese products complement rather than compete with those of US manufacturers.
So there are the major comments from both parties. I remain unconvinced that the US manufacturers have a case. It is interesting to note that whilst the importers and distributors have received widespread support from their peers, many of whom were in attendance at the hearing, the two largest US manufacturers appear to have maintained a neutral stance throughout the proceedings.The vast majority of Chinese products have a sliced veneer face which resembles solid products whereas the vast majority of US manufactured products have a peeled veneer face and this gives a totally different visual.
• You can think of them as “apps”
• They are easy to program and easy to deploy
• Last year’s prototype web service is now a reality called “stock check”
• The specifications for how to a write a web service is available to all fcB2B members via the web site www.fcB2B.org
• Any supplier that supports the “stock check web service” can offer real-time inventory information to anyone they choose – retailers, designers, architects, distributors, and even consumers.
• Implement web services anywhere – any computer or mobile devices
• View data without needing to first import that data to your own computer
• Implement in small modules (Stock check, price check, hold stock, etc) instead of large file transfers
• The EDI-style B2B programs include Product Catalogs, Purchase Orders, Order Acknowledgments, Advance Shipping Notices, and Invoices. Most of these programs are complete, with only minor revisions slated for 2012. The idea is for the industry to support these programs “as is” for as long as they are purposeful for the thousands of current users.
• The EDI-style Product Catalog remains problematic, as it relies on huge batches of product information that varies greatly based on the type of product and the information available at each supplier. The industry has agreed to program a final set of improvements, primarily to deal with hard-surface products that require a Stock-keeping-unit (SKU) based scheme. Many flooring systems were developed for carpet and use a “style/color” scheme that (a) does not work for hard surface, and (b) is out of step with nearly all other consumer product cataloguing techniques.
• Web services can replace all of the functions of the EDI-based programs, but there are no plans to discontinue support of the EDI-based programs. Each company can decide which path is best for them and their customers.
|Cluttered signage in the window is uninspiring|
|Imagination, repetition, color - a fabulous and clear message to the consumer|
|"Inky Dinky Carpet Samples"|