Benchmarking Our Success
July 1st, 2007

July-August 2007

CTDA is committed to growing and developing the professionalism of the industry. In the last issue I shared with you the results of the association’s strategic planning session in March. Our overall goal for CTDA and the industry: Triple the US consumption of tile, measured in square feet by 2020, with 80% of the market going through CTDA distributor members.

We set a number of intermediate and short term benchmarks to get there. They represent the targets CTDA needs to achieve to meet that larger, long-term strategic goal. They also demonstrate the association’s commitment to the industry, its members, and its mission: “to provide educational and networking opportunities for distributors of ceramic tile and their suppliers to further the consumption of ceramic tile.”

It’s a pleasure to report to you that CTDA is on track to meeting its 2007 benchmarks. As we go to press with this issue, we are already more than 20% of the way to meeting our new member goal and have certified 40% of the Certified Ceramic Tile Sales professionals we have targeted. And, as I reported in the last issue, the launch of the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency by CTDA and TCNA will make porcelain tile certification a reality in the months ahead.

Education and training are everything

Industry education is elusive. Just when you think you have mastered a topic, there’s a technological breakthrough, a new product or process that changes all of that.

Consider the rush of new products— glass, stone and large format tile. Because our customers come in search of these (and other) new products, we need to be well-versed on their virtues and applications. New products demand new and better setting materials and techniques. What worked ten years ago, even five years ago, may not work today. Yet our customers come daily, expecting us to be the experts. So, there’s always more to learn.

Attending industry shows like Coverings is a start. The show floor and the educational sessions are packed with information. TileDealer is a great tool for disseminating information and sharing resources.

However, if you are looking for in-depth industry education and training, you can’t do any better than the many training opportunities offered by CTDA. We use all of them at Miles Distributors, and I know, based on our continuing experience, that these educational and training tools are valuable and cost effective.

For starters, everyone at Miles Distributors—showroom staff to warehouse drivers—is required to successfully complete CTDA Online Education provided by the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone. This is a readily accessible, self-paced online-program. Our employees must pass it to successfully complete their 90-day probationary period.

We have discovered some unexpected benefits from this requirement. First, of course, the employees all develop a better understanding of and appreciation for the industry. This is especially important if they came from another business. But we have also come to realize that this requirement makes our employees feel valued. They appreciate that Miles Distributors is a company that invests in its employees.

We have also embraced the Certified Ceramic Tile Salesperson (CCTS) test and designation. I’m very proud to say that we have several CCTS on our staff. Those of you who have taken the exam know that it is not an easy test. You also know, then, that successfully completing it means you have excellent industry knowledge with which to meet the needs of your customers. And this is something we can all be proud of.

Later this year CTDA will sponsor a series of green building seminars designed to bring the professionals in the industry some long-awaited, useable information on this important industry trend. It’s yet another way of meeting your industry needs. Finally, the CTDA 2007 Management Conference November 7-11 at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort, Dana Point, California, will offer a full schedule of educational seminars and opportunities. I encourage you to put those dates on your calendar now!

Each of these opportunities is yet another way CTDA reaches out to grow and enhance both the marketplace and your business. I encourage you take advantage of them.

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