By Nicole Murray Software systems used in the flooring industry are designed to make retailers more efficient and profitable in many of their day-to-day business activities. Cloud-based systems, in particular, have proven to be essential in this regard as they can be accessed anywhere and at any time, thereby further streamlining any number of tasks and functions for specialty flooring retailers.
Following is an overview of some of the industry’s most popular cloud-based software systems and retailers who find success with each.
American Business Software
About the software: FloorPro III ERP relies on a client-server that can be located on site or remotely. The program is designed to run independently on each individual device, including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.
Another benefit: If a device is damaged, lost or stolen, the program just needs to be redownloaded on a new device; all the information will be restored because the information is saved on ABS’ server. What’s more, ABS regularly implements system upgrades at no additional cost to the retailer.
What retailers are saying: “It is a full-service package that can be accessed from anywhere,” said Andrew Shalkos, principal, Thomas Tile & Carpet, Addison, Ill. “If I am at a trade show or out of town, I can look things up to change a ticket from my laptop or give a project the green light after looking at all the information. We cannot afford to bring on an IT person, but we don’t need to because American Business Software continuously upgrades the system at no cost to me.”
About the software: BanaBoom is a multi-tenant platform that runs native to the cloud, which means the entire system—both on the front and back end—has been designed for ease of use while being accessed remotely. The system includes modern-day business features including eSignature, e-Payments, e-mail, CRM and B2B for e-commerce platform and shop-at-home integration. The system is multiplatform and mobile so it can be accessed on any device, including Pads, tablets, iPhones, Androids, PC and Macs.
What retailers are saying: “This system made our selling process a lot more efficient,” said Robert Hudson, president, Buddy’s Carpet One, Upland, Calif. “You never have to leave the main POS screen when placing an order, and, as a result, purchases can be placed in five minutes or less vs. the previous 15 minutes. The less time you have a customer sitting in front of you while you close the sale the better. The inventory module has also proven to be extremely useful. We carry one color of a product that has five available palettes and BanaBoom’s inventory module can tell me all the different places in my warehouse this product is being held. In addition, processing the payments can be done using one platform vs. manual entry, which means fewer mistakes are made.”
About the software: Comp-U-Floor ERP is a cloud-based business management system that can be accessed from anywhere using a web browser. The software also offers accompanying mobile applications, and it is now compatible with iOS and PC devices. Also available is a mobile extension specifically designed for installers to schedule and confirm jobs, report issues and upload photos of a completed project.
What retailers are saying: “The best thing about this software is how it integrates together,” said Vicki Wishau, controller, Carpetland, Racine, Wis. “You are using one software that does it all and it keeps all aspects of my business—such as accounting and inventory—tied together tightly. I can investigate where money is being spent and where we are with inventory and various orders that are still in progress. You can quickly and easily bounce from one area of the system to another because it is all so intricately connected, which means that we are getting jobs done faster and more efficiently.”
About the software: Measure Square is a cloud-based, measure estimating software that can be accessed from anywhere using a web browser. The software is compatible with desktops, iPads and mobile devices, allowing companies with multiple locations to easily communicate with one another. Measure Square’s software is integrated with other popular cloud-based flooring-specific programs, including QFloors and Comp-U-Floor.
“The cloud solution allows floor plans, measurements as well as 2D and 3D models to be shared through a web link that can be sent to customers, other employees or installers in the field,” said Steven Wang, president, Measure Square. “Better communication between your sales staff and installers means that you can deliver what was promised to the customer.”
According to Wang, the user-friendly program gives customers the option to take their own measurements, enter the data into a virtual calculator for an accurate quote and have their order sent directly to the store.
What retailers are saying: “I love this software because it makes everything happen significantly faster,” said Jason Goldberg, founder and CEO of America’s Floor Source, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. “Measure Square offers amazing customer service, and they are always improving the software, which only benefits our business. We can reconfigure orders and measurements instantly. The system offers API, and it is neat and organized. We never have to worry about deciphering people’s handwriting again. If you are still measuring by hand, I don’t know why.”
About the software: FloorManager from Pacific Solutions is designed to integrate the sales, operations and accounting departments of a residential flooring business into a single integrated solution. It all starts up front with the “opportunities” module. Every lead is entered and assigned to a salesperson. Samples can be checked out and all customer communications documented. When it’s time to generate a quote, a click of a button will transfer the desired products from the opportunity to the proposal. The software is a cloud-based ERP system.
What retailers are saying: “Our company used to rely on Excel spreadsheets, and mistakes could be made very easily,” said Nick Basso, vice president, Cavalier Flooring Systems, Richmond, Va. “This system allowed us to connect all the dots and become extremely efficient. For example, we have been able to go paperless in our warehouse because incoming and outgoing orders can be tracked using an iPad. On the financial side, I can run reports on anything I need. It is nice to have easy access to this information. It has really helped us to keep our ducks in a row.”
About the software: QFloors offers a suite of cloud-based systems and provides complete business management software with flooring-specific features. QCloud boasts cloud computing solutions to assist flooring retailers in their daily estimating tasks while QPro, a flexible, mobile point-of-sale system, facilitates everything from sales orders and proposals to B2B transfers from suppliers.
“A lot of companies add a layer of coding to a system so it can be accessed remotely, but that is how you end up with bugs and kinks in the system,” explained Chad Ogden, CEO. “We started from scratch with QPro, so the entire system is designed for an easy, cloud-based experience.”
What retailers are saying: “It really is a one-stop-shop specifically designed for the flooring industry,” said Katye Savage, owner, Family Tradition Flooring, Rochester, Minn. “I am currently home on maternity leave, but this program has allowed me to access everything that I need so I can still run my office. I can go through reports, communicate with the staff, review orders and view whatever else I need access to. You no longer have to worry about working while on the road or even going on vacation because this program will give you the full picture no matter where you are. We wouldn’t be able to operate without it.”
About the software: RFMS is an ERP cloud-based system that acts as the core to other applications and services that offer inventory control and management, financial accounting and scheduling. Everything within the system is fully integrated and RFMS handles all system updates, backups and maintenance.
“We have all the tools a flooring retailer needs in one program,” said Rahul Karadi, client success manager. “It is a mistake for retailers to rely on different platforms that do not communicate with one another because that is how mistakes happen.”
What retailers are saying: “RFMS has enabled us to take control of our business,” said Scott Carston, owner, Napa Carpet One, Santa Rosa, Calif. “We use everything this system has to offer because you can’t use just one module and be successful. Everything is connected, so the system enables you to be more efficient.”
About the software: RollMaster software is a fully integrated, cloud-based software system positioned as a complete solution for floor covering store owners looking to streamline their operations and make essential business tasks much more efficient. Built by flooring professionals for other flooring professionals, the software handles everything form inventory management and data analytics to estimating and job costing—all on a cloud-based platform.
“Now employees don’t have to be tied directly to an office to get their work done,” said Kelly Oechslin, product marketing manager. “You will always have an accurate picture of what is going on with your company no matter where you log on because once information is entered into the system, it is updated for each department. That is the beauty of the cloud.”
In addition, all data and information are stored on RollMaster’s secure servers. “We are built to help businesses grow,” Oechslin explained. “You don’t need to invest in high-end equipment or an IT person to manage problems. All this program requires is a simple download so it can be added to multiple machines and have any number of users at any given time.”
What retailers are saying: “This product has been nothing but extremely helpful for us because it takes care of everything from start to finish,” said Justin Lenson, owner, CQ Floors, San Marcos, Calif. “Our day-to-day business is now streamlined because I can manage my finances, quickly email POs to suppliers and it integrates with my measuring software. The system always has updated price lists, so if a customer calls looking for a product, we can easily look up to see what our competitors charge so we can close the deal.”