Discussion: FLOORING: An Industry In Crisis, by Lea MacDonald

Discussion in 'Article Discussion Forum' started by Jim McClain, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Discussion: FLOORING: An Industry In Crisis

    This is a thread for discussion of the article, FLOORING: An Industry In Crisis, by Lea MacDonald. Your comments and questions are welcome. You may also rate the article. Thank you for your participation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2006
  2. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Very good article. In my opinion, it is not just the carpet side of installations that have problems. The mentality that has been on the carpet side has now gone over to other types of floor coverings. The skill levels are quite low overall in the wood and vinyl side. I do not see much of anything being done to upgrade it either. I think the crisis is greater now than ever before. The big boxes have moved into the picture, and do not appear to be interested in quality as much as quanity. They sell a lot of flooring products.
     
  3. tony lamar

    tony lamar Charter Member

    Excellent job Lea.
     
  4. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    Like always, Lea..... great work.
     
  5. Nick Arrera

    Nick Arrera Resting In Peace

    good post lee .. The mills need some quailty control ,i just sold a piece of Stanton $72.00 a yd , my cost .. on the sample it says they don't gaurentee shading , or pattern match .. i see no need to learn how to install their product , until they stop producing junk .. The classes should also be free ..
     
  6. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Be sure to rate the article by rating the thread. It's a good indication to me and the author on what you like to see on the article pages of the site.
     
  7. hookknife

    hookknife Hard Surface Installer Charter Member Senior Member

    Nice article Lea, you are quite the writer:D
     
  8. Jim Carlin

    Jim Carlin Charter Member

    Great article Lea.
    Jim
     
  9. Lea MacDonald

    Lea MacDonald Charter Member Published

    Thank you gentlemen. Coming from this group, your compliments are deeply appreciated.

    While the article focuses mainly on carpet, it reflects difficulties across the entire flooring spectrum - no segment is immune.

    Education is the key . . . educating retailers, customers, and installers will make this vocation more appealing and financially viable.

    Of course, in order to know where one is going, one must first know where they have been and how they got here. This thought spawned the article.
     
  10. Jerry Thomas

    Jerry Thomas Charter Member Senior Member

    Yes, you have quite the knack for writing Lea, good article.
     
  11. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    Re: Discussion: FLOORING: An Industry In Crisis

    He's the best writer here by far, Jerry. Not an article, but I still like the dissappearing gingerbread men the best. :D
     
  12. Nick Arrera

    Nick Arrera Resting In Peace

    Re: Discussion: FLOORING: An Industry In Crisis

    here is one problem with the mills today .. i just ordered 1100 yds of mokawk , I wanted them to cut the rolls a certain size .. wont do , so now i have to eat a extra 60 yds of cpt to get all the cuts .. Asked them for a roll sequencing report with the rolls and they had no idea what i was talking about ..
     
  13. Lea MacDonald

    Lea MacDonald Charter Member Published

    Re: Discussion: FLOORING: An Industry In Crisis

    I can feel for you Nick. I remember a day when installers were threatened with bodily harm if they did not follow the correct roll series.

    I can also remember a time when we didn't have to check for flaws because that job was properly done at the mill before the carpet ever got shipped. Sure, a few slipped by, but not like today. Sad this.
     
  14. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Lea, I like and agree with your statement "Education is the key". I have been asked by a vo-tech school in another state to help them with a pilot program on flooring. I will teach six classes a year two on carpet, two on hard surface, and two on wood. This will be to 30 students at a time. This is to introduce them to the flooring industry. If they want to be inspectors, they can go that way, if dealers they can go that way, flooring salesperson they can go that way, or installers they can go that way. In other words they will leave the week long study knowing something about floor covering and how to push their careers forward by getting additional training. I will let you know how it goes. The first class is scheduled for August 21 thru 25. I was told that class is already full.
     
  15. Lea MacDonald

    Lea MacDonald Charter Member Published

    Mr. Reeves, I am heartened to hear that you'll be a lead-hand in the education of these people. They should consider them selves most fortunate.

    One module I like to teach is planning and job lay out - I taught: "Failing to plan is planning to fail." Though a hackneyed, tired old axiom, it rings very true.

    Be careful you don't succumb to the song of the education siren, she is strong and intoxicating, and she could steal you away from an industry that desperately needs you, your craftsmanship, and professionalism.
     
  16. Chuck Coffer

    Chuck Coffer Well-Known Member

    The implied causality was specious at best. The article was well written, but deeply flawed.

    Too many assumptions were asserted. Too many outcomes were treated as foregone conclusions. Lea described the world economy more than he described the flooring industry.

    Other than that, it was top drawer.

    It was a beuatiful read.

    CHU
     
  17. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I think there's room for more then one perspective here; Why not write an article from your point iof view... Anything that can be added to this topic is knowledge gained for us all. I think writing may be your forte.
     
  18. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I had to move this thread in order to edit the title. This inadvertently removed all the rank points it had received. Please be sure to rate this thread according to your satisfaction with the article. If you rated it before, you will have to do it again. I am sorry.
     
  19. Lea MacDonald

    Lea MacDonald Charter Member Published

    Hello Chuck, good to have you aboard and nice to see you posting.

    As I do with installation, I am quick to point out incorrect assumptions. The assumption I am pointing out in your post is the one that the piece is "deeply flawed."

    The data used was gained from information gleaned from the flooring industry through a poll conducted by the Gallop group which had a margin for error of +/- 3%. The data was then scrutinized and tested by a Chicago group called Industrial Performance Group headed by two gentlemen named Rob Nadeau and Ed Stecky. They held the data up against the findings of a questionnaire they developed to quantify the Gallop findings given to 500 Carpet One retailers at their national sales convention. The data was further confirmed.

    The Chicago group (Industrial Performance Group) had met with the mills in one on one meetings for historical cause and affect information. All data was then finally collated in a final report, An Industry in Crisis.

    The report was then sent back to the Gallop group for final corroboration as there are significant financial remedies attached to inaccurately conveying Gallop information publically. The Gallop group reviewed and permitted the final report. The information from that final report is accurately reflected in the piece.

    If there is any "deeply flawed" information in the piece, we need to know what it is. Also, whatever points you consider assumption please point them out specifically and I'll tell you where that data was found.

    The final report cost one quarter of a million dollars (in 1994/5 dollars) to produce, and despite some of the damning conclusions Shaw made it manditory reading for its executives.

    Perhaps the above information should have been written into the piece, but I opted to leave it out and get to the heart of the history that has brought the industry to this point. I did however point to the report in the subsection: There IS a Crisis.

    For your further edification please review this pdf file: http://www.orcon.com/FCISD/Document/analysis.pdf

    As well, the information below was a result of the Gallop Poll and a review of that information and the industry as a whole.
    http://www.orcon.com/fcisd/Document/vision.pdf

    Finally, after reading the data-supported reports, please point directly to the areas of the piece which are "deeply flawed."
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2006
  20. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    Lea, thank you for posting the additional info from Orcon. More than a few of the issues, as I see it are addressed in them. I do take small exception to the Vison for The Industry, in that flooring is, and I believe should remain viewed, as an installed product. This factors in the service aspect which is what differentiates one dealer from another. To compete with the very large "Box" retailers (think orange or blue signage) on a price basis is suicidal. The means to enticement to get buyers into a specialty store is the image as the experts in the field. Would you get price quotes from your doctor and go with the lowest one? When you will probably have a floor for ten+ years, why would price be the motivating factor there? The info you have posted confirms consumers are not buying based solely on price. If they were, EVERY sale would come from one of the boxes.

    Regarding the move by manufactureres into retail and contract, I have some first hand experince there. Our contract firm, started by my grandfather in 1930, was aquired during that buying frenzy by the 2 mills and one fiber company. During the courtship, we were told our gross margin was the lowest of any firm they were considering, but our net was among the highest. Seems to confirm our business philospohy that project managmement of the work, not sale of work, is what dictated return on investment. The terrible irony of the aquisition was during the first 2 years, 3/4 of the management, both upper and mid level, left the company. The esprit d' corp was destroyed and numbers (meaning dollars) became the all ruling principle. The company was recently sold to one of our previous competitors at fire sale price. What a sad and ignominious end to a great company.

    My biggest regret is I did not copyright my best practices manual. It was published by new owner and put into use in all of their locations. Lets see, 50 branches@ 50+ copies per branch; corporate- another 100+ copies; outside sales-??? ... probably wouldn't have to work so hard now. LOL
     
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