From the Editor’s Desk
 
May 1st, 2005

by Janet Arden, Editor
May-June 2005

The “C” Words

Do you remember the Curious George stories? In each one a lovable pet monkey has an improbable adventure simply because he’s inquisitive and open to new ideas. You may recall them from your childhood or from reading them to your children. They capture young imaginations because they are genuine flights of fancy.

For many of us as adults, curiosity like George’s is a thing of the past. We have customers, employees, shipping problems and email to deal with. Text messaging and cell phones leave little time for inquisitiveness. I propose that starting now, with Coverings, we try to recapture that sense of curiosity, along with creativity and customer service.

Curiosity

With 1,000 exhibitors in 500,000 square feet of exhibit space, we all need to keep our minds and imaginations open to the possibility of what’s new at Coverings. You never know what new product or process you may find that will benefit your customers, your employees or your business. It can be as exciting as a new tile program or as straightforward as a new hand tool. It can be the solution to your shipping or inventory problems. The idea is to remain open to the possibility of finding something terrific and unexpected, but important to you.

Creativity

Tile is a creative business. From the design of the materials and installations to the development of new and better tools to make it work, we depend on creativity. As you know, creativity is not limited to “pretty.” The manufacturer that develops a better grout or anti-bacterial additive is as creative as the artisan who captures the light with glass tile or the architect with the vision to use ceramic cladding on the exterior of a building.

Creativity is also about solving problems, and in the business world we are faced with many of these challenges. Marketing on a budget, maximizing showroom space, and motivating employees are just a small handful of the challenges that require creativity. Creativity requires us to look at problems from a different perspective. This is why brainstorming is so often an effective way to develop new solutions for old problems.

The articles that follow in the pages of this issue are brimming with creativity—sometimes subtle and sometimes not. From installation techniques that offer real solutions to the special problems of installing glass tile to a new way of looking at business succession, this issue encourages you to look at things in a new way.

Customer service

A happy, satisfied customer is our bottom line. This is true whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, dealer or installer. We all try to deliver the quality materials, installation and techniques that guarantee a satisfied customer. When the customer is unhappy, we are sometimes compelled to deliver our best customer service—repairing or even replacing an installation at our own expense to get it right.

How do you define customer service? In this issue’s One-on-One interview, designer Kenneth Brown places a premium on dealers who can pinpoint stock availability at any time. NAC’s Patricia Bohnert compares the right underlayment to insurance—it goes “a long way to guarantee that the tile installation won’t fail.”

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