Industry professionals keep top rank thanks to continued education
Nov. 18/25 2013; Volume 27/number 15
By Jenna Lippin
Committed, prepared, well-trained professionals represent a hallmark of the flooring industry. In an effort to maintain momentum of this legacy, a number of manufacturers and organizations host training initiatives for its members and partners.
Flooring America/Flooring Canada
Flooring America/Flooring Canada (FA/FC) University offers a number of training programs to their members. For example, Fast Start is a premier program for new sales professionals to build their confidence in product knowledge and challenge their selling and service skills.
Also hosted by FA/FC is ReStart, a multi-day course that is meant to recharge the veteran sales professional by getting refocused and reenergized.
Custom-order training is also available. A Neighborhood Network can schedule in-person training in which an instructor will develop a course that fits individual, immediate sales needs.
Partnering with the International Certified Flooring Installers Association (CFI), the university also brings the process for CFI installation certification to a store or Neighborhood Network so installers are trained in the latest standards.
Available 24/7 to all FA/FC members is Online University, a computer-based training that covers hundreds of topics from brands to product knowledge, installation and sales.
FA/FC also offers Tuesday Training @ 2 sales webinars on every second Tuesday of each month. During Tuesday Training, a university trainer hosts a 30-minute sales-based webinar. Each month a new topic and action plan is introduced to keep members focused.
Coming in 2014 is Managing Sales Performance, the pinnacle sales management class. This multi-day class is designed for anyone who manages a sales force and will provide proven techniques and tools to build communication, goal setting, managing, coaching and leadership skills —all with one goal in mind: increase profit margins and revenue.
The International Certified Flooring Installers Association (CFI) has trained over 50,000 individuals worldwide. The organization conducts installation training in all flooring surfaces, in addition to installation inspection, estimating and specialty workshops, and has been instrumental in establishing installation schools throughout the world.
At Surfaces 2014, CFI will hold ceramic, laminate and wood training and certifications. These events allow installers to demonstrate their skills and visit numerous manufacturers to learn about the latest products.
CFI will also be conducting two-day WFCA Installation Training workshops in 2014, which will stop in Chicago (1/14), Seattle (2/18), Baltimore (3/4) and Wichita (3/18), with more dates to be announced. The workshops will include installation training for carpet, ceramic, laminate, wood and resilient flooring along with the CFI Installation Inspection Course. Scholarships are available from the WFCA with an opportunity to attend for $147.50.
Numerous courses are also scheduled through individual dealers and workrooms designed specifically for these entities. CFI conducts over 125 events annually in all flooring surfaces. CFI partners, the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) and Armstrong make their certifications available to installers who successfully complete the CFI requirements. By attending one event, installers have the opportunity to earn several industry certifications.
Invista is integrating a little fun with training in a series of “edu-taining” product knowledge videos targeted toward carpet sales professionals. The goal is to help them better understand how Stainmaster carpet can meet the needs of their customers. Anyone can view the short, engaging videos on Stainmaster brand’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/ stainmaster.
With the launch of Stainmaster PetProtect carpet and cushion system, the company is focused on delivering new training tools to complement the product line. Stainmaster Flooring Center showrooms will receive live in-store training. Invista is offering multiple web-based training sessions for aligned retailers to accommodate the schedules of retail sales associates, ensuring they receive training without having to arrive at their stores early, stay late or leave the sales floor unattended. The company’s mill partners will also receive web-based training and tools to help understand the product offering and how to promote it to customers.
Invista will release more product knowledge videos that will be posted to the Stainmaster brand’s YouTube channel so retailers and consumers can learn more about the trusted carpet brand.
Over the past two decades, Mohawk University (MU) has made a name for itself by partnering with industry leaders to provide Mohawk retailers with innovative training resources. As one of the only comprehensive programs offering classroom and online training, MU’s reputation has consistently earned recognition as one of the Top 10 training programs by Training magazine.
Taking a look at the progression over the last 20 years, the program has devoted a vast amount of energy and resources to bring value and learning to the Mohawk retailer in a relevant and meaningful way. In 2014, MU will continue making the transition from a classroom learning experience to a world-class online training facilitator hosting hundreds of learning opportunities—all from the convenience of a computer. This new approach to training focuses on a self-paced, blended and guided learning model.
Online offerings will include hundreds of live and on-demand webinars covering a range of topics to improve retailers’ businesses. Retailers are encouraged to take advantage of the convenient guided learning and study-at-home opportunities including TOPS, Mohawk’s premier professional selling system. In addition to online courses, MU will continue to offer key classroom offerings in the Sales & Product colleges, Installation Training & Certification (CFI) and retail courses led by outside subject matter experts.
National Wood Flooring Association
The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has expanded its 2014 training schedule to include more than 40 weeks of training in 20 locations. The new training format features more than a dozen one-day workshops that allow students to customize their programs. Workshops are available throughout the United States and vary by location. Sessions include “Wood Flooring Sales,” “Estimating/Job Costing,” “EPA Lead Renovators,” “Problems, Causes and Cures,” “Certified Professionals Moisture Testing” and many more.
These workshops provide the foundation for hands-on training in six locations throughout the U.S.: Richmond, Va.; Marietta, Ga.; Chicago; St. Louis; Grand Rapids, Mich., and Las Vegas. Offerings are different across locations, including “Principles of Wood Flooring” and basic, intermediate and advanced level courses.
North American Laminate Flooring Association
The North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the laminate flooring segment. The organization hosts two certification classes through the NALFA Certification School.
The NALFA Installer Certification Class is for installers with two-plus years experience. The one-day, hands-on class curriculum covers moisture testing, safety, trammel points, installation, complete install, plank replacements, review of individual products, molding and stairs. Industry expert Anthony Palandro teaches the class.
The NALFA Inspector Certification Class is for certified inspectors, installers with three-plus years experience or NALFA certified installers. Like the Installer class, the Inspector class is a one-day, hands-on course. It covers NALFA history, laminate 101, installation requirements, inspection tools and standards, product defect review, inspection reporting and process, certification testing and evaluation. Industry expert Ron Starkey teaches the course.
The cost for each class is $350. Classes for 2014 will begin the day after Surfaces concludes—Fri., Jan. 31—at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
In October, Shaw expanded its focus on critical industrial maintenance training via an innovative partnership among the flooring manufacturing industry, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Workforce Development (GOWD) and the Northwest Regional Commis-sion and Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC). Complementing Shaw’s extensive in-house training, the newly created 10-week, Fast Track Innovation Program provides technicians with on-the-job training for employment in the industry. Through classroom teaching, computer-based learning and lab instruction at GNTC, participants selected by Shaw (and other manufacturers) left the program equipped with the mechanical, electrical and maintenance skills to perform the jobs successfully.
The award-winning Shaw Learning Academy continues to offer associates skills-based training across eight centers of excellence. Each year, thousands of participants take part in interactive learning on topics ranging from sales, leadership, business and diversity, to safety, industrial maintenance and technology. Based on feedback generated from Shaw’s retail customers, in 2014 the Shaw Learning Academy will launch the SLA Knowledge iPad application, which will allow retail sales associates to have product and sales training at their fingertips.
Also for 2014, Shaw is bringing back one of its most popular programs, SALT (Shaw Academy for Leadership Training) Retail. This program provides an intensive leadership experience to help owners and managers become better leaders within their own organizations. The 2014 dates will be announced at the beginning of the year.
World Floor Covering Association
The World Floor Covering Association’s (WFCA) current training initiatives focus more on education, providing resources on a variety of topics relevant to the industry. WFCA Direct is a marketing program that allows members to enhance relationships with customers, while WFCA’s Green Primer and Independent Contractor Primer provide information and insight on green assessment programs and contractor classification, respectively. In encouraging members to develop business skills and participate in specialized training, WFCA’s Trade Scholarship program offers tuition reimbursements to those who participate in specialized training courses.