Jan 4/11; Volume 30/Number 14
By Jenna Lippin
In the age of technology that seems to evolve daily, businesses of all kinds need to stay ahead of the curve to deliver to end users. Flooring retailers are no exception, with a plethora of software options that offer inventory tracking, financial organization, customer databases and more. FCNews caught up with top software companies in the industry to find out what’s on deck for 2016.
For 2016 Dancik is prepared to enhance business- to-business functionality, which includes what automated data retailers can transfer between distributors as well as manufacturers that deliver direct to them
The company introduced web services in 2015 that allow its retail customers to look into inventory of their distributors. If a dealer is out of a product he can look into the inventory of the next closest aligned distributor or manufacturers for production lead times. “We are going to leverage that functionality to do something very big in retail specifically in late 2016, first quarter of 2017,” said Greg Grady, Dancik’s director of business development. “We have the resources and the sophisticated technical platform that can scale to any size customer. We’re going to leverage that and B2B functionality.”
In addition, with Dancik’s Selection Sheet Manager retailers can arm their showroom personnel with tablets that help guide customers and build jobs from a mobile network. Accessing inventory, looking into closest supplier inventory positions, etc. “
“Technology helping flooring is more about customer service and customer relationships,” said Steven Wang, Measure Square founder.
The differentiator for Measure Square is the company’s cloud-based FloorLink CRM that facilitates sales automation and job scheduling. “The CRM is the job management process that is integrated with the measure estimating tool, which is our flagship product,” Wang explained. The cloud-based system gives users access to FloorLink from mobile devices. Measure Square also offers a mobile version of its estimating program for iPads and iPhones.
According to Wang, Measure Square is the solution from the point a customer contacts a store to schedule an appointment to the in-home measure of the room to selling “on the spot.” The software also tracks purchase orders, scheduling installations and post-job follow ups.
A significant highlight of Oneir’s software is its calculation functions. When a customer order is made, Oneir will complete calculations to determine square footage of product, which includes the number of bundles and individual pieces needed for a job. It also calculates the weight of those products being ordered for shipment details.
Jon Manwaring, co-founder and executive vice president, said Oneir “helps dramatically with the sales process.” One of the main reasons is calculations are more accurate, helping customers buy the proper amount of flooring. Therefore, they aren’t wasting money on unneeded materials or ordering short. An accurate order means a satisfied customer.
Oneir is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) program, integrating applications to collect, store, manage and interpret data from product planning, cost, manufacturing, marketing and sales. It also works for companies with multiple locations, whether it’s retail or wholesale. A job cost module is included as well, which keeps track of estimates for each job and creates invoices so store owners can track profitability.
A major differentiation for Oneir is its web integration. “A retail customer can integrate the software with their websites,” Manwaring explained. “That same customer might come in through the web and place an order there. So we provide what we call multi-channel sales for our customers.”
The big announcement last year from QFloors was its 7.0 software. Since then the company has created a team for the development of a new product. The program, called QPro, will be unveiled at Surfaces, meaning a working version will be available for users to start exploring. The product will officially launch at the end of Q1 of 2016, around March. “For 15 years we’ve called [our software] QFloors, but we felt this product is different enough that we’re going to rename and rebrand it,” said Chad Ogden, president and CEO.
QPro is based entirely on new technology. It’s going to be web-based, whereas the previous version of QFloors software was available on a client server, running locally on users’ desktops. “It will allow people to be more mobile,” Ogden said.
In all, there will be five versions of QPro. Users can choose which version they want based upon features they need for their businesses. The monthly subscription is priced based upon the number of users and features used. Retailers won’t pay for features they don’t want or need.
QFloors will sell pre-release licenses for QPro at Surfaces. Some free usage will include reviewing data systems to get a feel for things before the official launch.
RFMS flooring software is going mobile with several new programs. The new Measure Mobile 3 (MM3) syncs up with the desktop version of RFMS’ flagship estimating product called Measure. The application allows users to calculate a flooring project on a mobile device; homeowners can download it free of charge to calculate flooring usage, as well.
Mobile Order Entry (MOE) allows a salesperson to create an order or a quote from anywhere on a mobile device which also syncs back to the RFMS business management databases, while Installer Pro Mobile gives installers access to project data such as customer details. Installers can also view the material and labor quantities, clock in and out, and send pictures and notes back to the RFMS business management databases for visual documentation.
Additionally, with its next major release RFMS has added a new Smart Search feature that will revolutionize the way the program assists users in locating data.
These three new products are unique in that they all sync back to necessary databases for further data processing without additional entry. All the new modules work in sync with each other, helping employees perform their jobs with greater efficiency and accuracy. “The immediate future is about mobility,” said Dave Dumoulin, RFMS director of sales. “Everyone wants to do more on their phones or tablets and the flooring consumer/contractor expects this technology. Additionally, as businesses become more mobile, integration and interactivity with the software is of high importance.”