By Melissa McGuire
Volume 26/Number 22; March 18/25, 2013
With the Surfaces sentiment among many exhibitors including terms such as “surprisingly good” and “better than expected,” flooring software companies were singing similar songs.
“We no longer expect the huge crowds of the pre-economy-crash era,” said Chad Ogden, president of QFloors. “But we experienced a steady stream of traffic at our booth and were busy the entire show. While the foot traffic and ‘just browsing’ numbers are still down from historic highs, those who stopped by our booth as interested and qualified potential customers had actually increased.”
FCNews caught up with software exhibitors at Surfaces to browse the new and notable in flooring programs.
The company unveiled its improved Comp-U-Floor software, touting more effective control over the entire business cycle along with the ability to process more orders with greater efficiency, said Edgar Aya, president, Aya Associates.
Comp-U-Floor is a business management system geared toward floor covering retailers as well as residential and commercial installers. The technology associated with the product includes estimating, point of sale, inventory, business-to-business, purchasing, installation management, managerial and financial reporting in addition to a full accounting system, Aya said.
Emphasizing wireless technology for the showroom and warehouse, the improvements include the integration of bar coding, mobile and wireless upgrades, and a web-based credit card processing system called Payware. This program allows the flooring retailer to estimate, quote, close and collect a down payment at a customer’s home.
“Our technology continues to have a profound impact on how flooring products are received at the truck-bay; stored at the warehouse; made available at the salesperson’s desktop or laptop and then processed through selection, cutting and shipping,” Aya noted.
The company launched its latest system, Navigator, declaring it “the floor covering industry’s leading ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] system.” Greg Grady, director of sales noted Dancik customers have reported an 80% decrease in training time for new employees due to Navigator’s easy-to-use graphical user interface without sacrificing any of the renowned system functionality.
In addition, he said Navigator opens the doors to customizing the user experience as a result of the service-oriented architecture upon which the application is built. “This is the system positioned to create a transparent 21st century supply chain for manufacturers, distributors, builders, dealers and consumers.”
Measure Square (formerly Floor Covering Soft)
Dr. Steven Wang, chief developer and founder of Measure Square, described Surfaces as the launching pad for the company’s iPad edition. The new version of the software is part of the company’s next-generation flooring layout and estimating program for commercial and retail flooring contractors and dealers, on top of its desktop measure estimating flagship suites MeasureSquare 2013 (formerly FloorEstimate Pro).
“The iPad edition stands out from competing products with its strength as a full-featured mobile solution for retail flooring including onsite measuring and drawing, product selection, seam and cut sheet layouts, generating quotes and collecting customer signatures immediately,” Wang noted. “It also syncs to the cloud making it accessible from anywhere over the web.”
In addition to the iPad edition, the MeasureSquare desktop 2013 edition runs on Windows 7 and 8. Both versions are widely used by major trades of the flooring industry.
Ogden said two new products in particular were received with universal excitement: Instant Stock Check and its Basic/QuickBooks version.
According to Ogden, Instant Stock Check is an industry game changer that resulted in a Best of Surfaces award in the technology category. The software allows dealers to instantly see stock in their suppliers’ warehouses, meaning the salespeople “don’t have to take the time to walk off the showroom floor and make a call to a purchasing agent or search through a website. They can just whip out their iPads, tablets or smart phones and select the product, immediately knowing the availability at the manufacturer’s or distributor’s warehouse.”
In order for a retailer to maximize profitability, overhead must be as low as possible, he said, while still providing a good customer experience. “B2B technology streamlines things. Utilizing technology like this drives the cost of doing business down, which is just as important to your bottom line as closing that sale. It gives you a competitive advantage.”
The company also took the wraps off its Basic/QuickBooks version, which offers an option for flooring professionals who are fans of QuickBooks Pro and other accounting software.
Ogden explained users can benefit from the efficiency-building perks and flooring-specific features of QFloors Basic while still relying on familiar Quick-Books for back office needs. “We also have time-saving features like easy-to-use job pricing, precise inventory management, automatic B2B downloads from the manufacturers and helpful marketing tracking,” he concluded.
The RollMaster cloud (RM-Cloud) was garnering most of the company’s excitement at its Surfaces booth, said Dev O’Reilly, president and CEO. Also attracting interest was the Roll graphic point and click modernization, RollMaster’s new data drill down features, its bar code and inventory management developments along with its E-Docs system.
The RMCloud—formerly known as NetFloor—is Rollmaster’s core system with many helpful features from order entry to accounting, O’Reilly noted. The hosted system is cloud-based and can be accessed from anywhere, eliminating the need for a server, backups or updates. With the primary benefits of cloud use being low cost, faster deployment and elasticity, O’Reilly explained adding users, additional disk space, branch locations and companies eliminates the need to purchasing more hardware.
Also of note was the company’s E-Docs and wireless bar-coding system. “E-Docs is multi-faceted, allowing users to attach electronic files to various places in RollMaster,” O’Reilly said. “For example, the No. 1 use for a property management, retail or contract dealer is to attach a diagram to the template and then print it out with the work order with just a couple of extra clicks.” And the wireless bar code system provides real-time wireless inventory management which improves inventory control, identifies materials at POS, creates purchase orders, receives materials and enters orders all from the sales or warehouse floor.
Likewise, RollMaster’s web portal is said to create an easy way for dealers to connect with the business community over the Internet. “The web portal connects vendors with other partners, retailers with customers, and provides a customized web browser for business application information,” O’Reilly said. “It allows all users to directly access relevant business information and conduct business transactions with the RollMaster Property Management Web Portal through personalized, role-based systems via the Internet.”