December 5/12, 2016: Volume 31, Number 13
By Lindsay Baillie
Flooring industry software developers are constantly upgrading their programs to help retailers, installers and contractors become more efficient at estimating, measuring, job scheduling and inventory management.
Following is an overview of programs designed to help maximize efficiency for both retail and commercial operations.
American Business Software (ABS)
ABS’s FloorPro III ERP is an industry-specific system designed to handle most office and warehouse functions for flooring, ceramic tile and stone retailers.
“Our software helps automate a lot of the paperwork processes in the front office as well as inventory and warehousing functions in the back office,” said Joseph Flannick, president. “It helps you prepare quotes, produces documents for your customers to take with them, keeps track of orders and helps with purchasing—especially special orders. Our software keeps track of inventory, creates invoices, does sales analysis and handles the bookkeeping. It helps with pricing, gross margin and profit.”
According to Flannick, FloorPro III ERP differs from general purpose software in that the latter doesn’t always handle inventory. “Most off-the-shelf software cannot handle issues like converting between square feet, cartons and pieces, but our software can,” he explained. “Our software is designed to seamlessly handle various dye lots and run numbers of the same SKU.”
In addition to its multiple features and functions, FloorPro III ERP is also customizable based on what the retailer is looking to accomplish. “Few companies do that these days and if they do it costs a small fortune,” Flannick said. “Depending on what it is, we do most custom programming for free or at a reduced cost.”
Comp-U-Floor ERP, packaged with Hosting service along with the web and Mobile solutions, allows retailers to have a complete ERP that can be accessed from anywhere via the web or mobile device. This allows a retailer to have a system that has minimal startup investment and low monthly costs.
“We support thousands of satisfied flooring industry users throughout North America for whom our point-of-sale, order processing, business-to-business, inventory, purchases, installation management and integrated accounting provide the foundation for growth and profitability,” said Mark Wiltgen, sales and marketing manager.
The Comp-U-Floor ERP is available to retailers of all sizes and can be tailored to automate and streamline many processes. Communication with customers is seamless via email. Purchasing can be automatically generated through the sales order and communicated to suppliers via the web using the B2B module. But the best part, according to the company, is the retailer can add more locations and turn on more features as the company grows, at no additional cost. “Our package is unique and can be tailored to various business models in the flooring market,” Wiltgen said. “The user is in total control of how the system functions based on their business requirements.”
Dancik Navigator provides a single, affordable solution for managing a flooring retailer’s business from sales and customer relationships to operations and accounting. In short, the program offers total business management and B2B solutions.
Unlike generic software solutions, Dancik says Navigator supports integrated, industry-specific functionality that encompasses sales, inventory, warehousing, logistics, purchasing, operations and financials. The program, which is mobile compatible, utilizes a point-and-click interface and is adaptable as business needs change.
Navigator also comes with add-on modules to increase showroom productivity. DNav-showroom manager reduces the need to write or extend selections by hand. It manages customer selections by room and area, analyzes product trends and personalizes appointment calendars.
Dancik’s DNav-edi provides B2B solutions that allow the user to create sales analysis transmissions for suppliers and buying groups, provide customized price lists to customers, invoice customers in their preferred units of measure, accept orders, connect to banks, credit companies and other businesses while offering real-time web services.
The MeasureSquare estimating application is specifically designed for retail flooring and can be used both onsite and in the showroom. This app enables onsite measuring utilizing a laser disto and offers an accurate estimate to customers. MeasureSquare estimating software also aims to maximize retail sales associate efficiency where it matters most.
“Measure estimating software is critical to [the retailer’s] sales process,” said Steven Wang, president. “The MeasureSquare estimating app solves [the RSA’s] problem of selling right on the spot. It makes sales reps look more professional to win more sales, which then increases conversion rates.”
According to Wang, the estimating app saves RSAs 60% of their time by measuring with a laser meter while eliminating 80% of manual errors. The application also creates seam diagrams, which are available for customer review. The same diagrams and cuts are also available for installers and are more accurate than hand sketches.
“This program is easier to learn on mobile devices like an iPad/iPhone,” Wang explained. “It works alone but can also be used to collaborate with office and field reps through the MeasureSquare Cloud. The application can also be integrated with management software.”
NivBen Software offers the Flooring Estimator Professional System 2040 to retail and commercial businesses alike. This program and its many features are designed to eliminate inaccurate measuring and estimates for all types of flooring.
“It’s a program that reduces [incorrect] measuring,” Dennis Benton, president, said. “It can take dimensions off blueprints and lay the blueprint out on the digitizer and then trace the walls. The program will do wood, vinyl, tile, carpet, carpet tiles—it will also tell you how much padding is needed and how much seaming is involved. All of this saves you time and money, and it is much more accurate.”
According to Benton, other programs often fail to show important information such as seam layouts. NivBen’s Flooring Estimator system shows fill pieces, seam layouts and labels. It includes a color-coded feature to identify rooms with different flooring, a proposal/sample management program, a work order form and quick key estimator program. The program also creates more accurate drawings, according to NivBen. “You have a printout that you can give to installers, which is a big [deal],” Benton said.
Pacific Solutions sells three primary products: management, estimating and measurement software. Of the management programs is JobRunner, specifically created for commercial business. What makes this program unique, according to Pacific Solutions, is its exclusivity in introducing a business process to commercial business.
“Quite often in commercial flooring businesses are using Excel to calculate their budgets and determine [the cost of the job],” said Bob Noe Jr., president. “Then they’ll go over to a program like Microsoft Word and type up the bid for presentation purposes for the client. Then they give it to the accounting department, which re-enters the job into a program like QuickBooks. So they end up using three separate systems for the job, which opens up room for errors. When all this information comes together in a project management system it takes the whole business out of separate silos and puts them all together.”
JobRunner’s ability to consolidate information and eliminate errors is what makes this program so efficient, Noe explained. “We givea tool that can revolutionize redundant tasks and the passing of information from different departments,” Noe said. That is, of course, if retailers operate within the scope and design of how the system is designed. “If a software system has a streamlined process it can create an efficient path for the job to travel.”
QFloors’ QPro Software, scheduled to be released in February, is a browser-based system offering customers brand new software, customizable features and operational efficiencies.
“Over the last two to three years we’ve put in effort to upgrade to the newest technology,” said Chad Ogden, CEO and president. “We’ve had to completely rewrite our software to run in a web browser. With this new software you can write within Chrome or Firefox, and we’re the first in this industry to attempt to do this. The technology tools we’re using are less than two to three years old.”
Ogden believes most of the software that is flooring specific is getting old and requires multiple clicks. As technology evolves, newer systems are needed to make software navigation easier.
Ted Schultz, national director of sales, said QPro’s easy-to-use nature translates to fewer clicks to complete tasks, which in turn results in greater efficiency. “On a browser-based program all you need is a browser and as long as you have the URL you can access the site,” he explained.
The QPro Software—which was created without sacrificing features, according to QFloors—allows companies to create custom features and transport them into the software.
RFMS’s Measure Mobile application is designed to streamline workflow while ensuring RSAs use up-to-date pricing and products. “Our Measure Mobile application allows for the mobile measuring of a room, estimating of quantity needed and coming up with a drawing onsite,” said Kurt Wilson, product manager. “The application helps retailers stand out and provide a great experience for the customer.”
For example, when a customer walks into a flooring store and asks an associate for the price of a product, oftentimes that RSA has to walk away from the customer to find out the cost, Wilson stated. Similarly, if the customer asks about multiple products the associate may have to walk away numerous times. “With Measure Mobile the associate can look up prices from a device either in the showroom or the home.”
One of the many benefits of the Measure Mobile estimating systems is the fact that it’s geared specifically toward the retail salesperson. Another key feature of Measure Mobile is it interfaces with RFMS. “Features like the checklist tool and photo feature are designed for quick quote creation and to provide photos directly to customers and installers,” Wilson said.
The RollMaster Property Management Quick Order feature is designed maximize efficiency for property management flooring businesses. This feature complements the software’s RM Web Calendar, an online installation scheduling product.
“One of the most integral features is the streamlined design, which allows for fluid order taking based on the conversation with the property management client,” said Kelly Oechslin, marketing coordinator. “This means the order taker can move back and forth within the program based on the flow of the conversation. The on-screen prior job comparison tool allows for comparing the current order to the last time the unit was serviced, allowing for reduction of errors and duplicate job entry.”
The RollMaster Property Management Quick Order feature is specifically designed to expedite the processing of property management order taking.
“It is further differentiated by the numerous other PM-focused features that are integrated within the streamlined design,” Oechslin explained. These features include a property manager reporting hierarchy, the ability to program multiple levels of special pricing, the advanced template design, the add-on wireless barcoding software and equipment, the inventory projection reports and a customizable web portal.