Industry News: Promotions, Products & Certifications
 
August 27th, 2013

Florida Tile Promotes Barbari & Facca To New Strategic Roles

Florida Tile has announced two significant changes to its sales and marketing organization due to recent growth in it independent and commercial divisions.  Massimo Barbari, previously Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Florida Tile, has been promoted to Product Development of Foreign Panariagroup Brands.  In making the announcement, Florida Tile President Michael Franceschelli said, “In this important role for Panariagroup* (which owns Florida Tile), Massimo will employ skills successfully used redeveloping Florida Tile’s product portfolio to further support the Panariagroup strategy of international expansion. Massimo also will have the role of Executive Vice President of Marketing, Product Development and Home Centers for Florida Tile and will continue to report to me as Florida Tile’s CEO for these responsibilities.  The Director of Marketing and Director of Home Centers will report to him.” Tom Facca has been promoted to Executive Vice President of Independent and Commercial Sales. He joined the company in January 2012 as Senior Director Independent and Commercial Sales. “This action further supports the recent growth of Florida Tile in the areas of independent distribution and development of the commercial business,” said Franceschelli. “Tom will report directly to me as CEO. Reporting to him will be the Director of Independent Sales, Director of Commercial Sales and Business Development and Independent Canadian Sales.”

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Stonepeak is Green Squared Certified

StonePeak is proud to announce that every porcelain tile produced in our Crossville, TN manufacturing facility is Green Squared Certified! Green Squared, the Tile Council of North America’s third party sustainability certification initiative, is set to help revolutionize the North American tile industry as it is the first program of its kind written exclusively for tiles and tile installation materials.  The standard that Green Squared is based on is ANSI A138.1, which contains the social and environmental sustainability criteria for porcelain tile, among other tile and installation materials as well. The criteria to achieve Green Squared Certification include:

-      General Environmental Characteristics

-      Environmental Product Manufacturing

-      End of Product Life Management

-      Progressive Corporate Governance

-      Innovation

StonePeak is proud to have not only exceeded the amount of points needed to certify for Green Squared; however, we are still improving our efforts in pursuit of more.  Green Squared is the new benchmark for defining and acknowledging tile products which are truly sustainable, and teamed up with our new Green Step System, you can rest assured that there are no ‘greener’ tiles than StonePeak.

 

Crayola Glass Tile

The new Crayola Collection of glass mosaic tiles was recently unveiled at Crayola’s Easton, Pennsylvania, headquarters in a whimsical mural depicting an inviting cartoon figure of a Crayola crayon. In bringing this beautiful, awe-inspiring tile range to North America, Miami-based Surfaces, Inc., one of the nation’s premier producers and suppliers of glass tile, is partnering with Crayola, LLC, well-known for its iconic art tools that inspire kids’ creative expression, which has 99% name recognition in U.S. consumer households. Personnel from Savona Tile, Surfaces’ distributor based in Central New Jersey, were there to support this effort. “We’re excited about this new partnership,” stated Mark Nielsen, General Manager of Savona Tiles. “We’re located very close to the national headquarters of Crayola, and know quite a bit about the company… and, have a great deal of respect for what they do. The American homeowner is immediately drawn to the Crayola name. We have great expectations relative to this new product being marketed by our company!”

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“Crayola is a wonderful, well-respected American brand-name,” stated Albert Claramonte, President and Founder of Surfaces, Inc. “It’s a name associated with beautiful colors, creativity… and of course, with children. When one associates the word ‘kids’ with ‘creative colors,’ it’s a safe bet that the word ‘Crayola’ will pop up as well. And, we’re taking this very “green” collection to a new level by also offering it to the commercial marketplace, which clearly has an interest in beautiful, long-lasting and easy-to-maintain glass tile.” The Crayola Glass Tile Collection colors reflect the brilliant hues that characterize Crayola crayons, and include Fire Engine Red, Taxi Cab Yellow, Green Monster, North Pole White and more. All of these series are stocked in the US ready for timely distribution. The Crayola Glass Tile Collection colors reflect the brilliant hues that characterize Crayola crayons, and include Fire Engine Red, Taxi Cab Yellow, Green Monster, North Pole White and more. All of these series are stocked in the US ready for timely distribution.


Attack of the ASAPeople
 
August 21st, 2013

By David Long

Recently, a customer sent in a PO for 300 pcs. of a brand-new rotomolded part – great news!

Upon further examination, though, a major problem was discovered: the specified “MUST” ship date was 3 days from receipt of the PO. This would prove difficult to accommodate for a number of reasons, most significantly that it failed to account for that nagging detail we in the business call “building a mold.”

This particular incident was quickly cleared up and was good for a laugh around the office, but it struck me as yet another incidence of a growing trend that has been the source of some very serious headaches.

For many buyers (I like to call them the ASAPeople), desperate shipping instructions like “ASAP”, “immediately,” or “now PLEASE NOW” are employed so frequently that they may as well be boilerplate language. Practical matters like adherence to quoted lead times or the realities of capacity constraints are of no concern or relevance.

Often, a dramatic picture is painted. Until the arrival of your rotomolded tanks, they say, production here will be utterly crippled. Employees will sit idle, machines will go offline, our customers will likely riot in the streets. The wheels of American commerce will slowly grind to a halt. Only you, brave rotomolder, can save us all! So, really, what’s the best you can do for me?

Faced with such theatrics, we tell them that we’ll do the very best we can. Then we disrupt schedules, scrap long-standing plans, run machines around the clock, and authorize overtime if necessary – whatever it takes. Against all odds, the deadline is met! High fives and good vibes all around. Then…

Scenario A: The customer sends a glowing letter of appreciation that is quickly framed and hung in the conference room. Our relationship with the customer is forever strengthened – they know that we can deliver when they really need it!

Scenario B: We watch as the finished skids collect dust on the dock for 3-4 days as shipping arrangements are worked out – or something. Grumbling ensues. What happened to the idle employees, the rioting customers? Can the wheels of American commerce really afford to stay halted until the very best freight rate is obtained?

Sadly, one of these scenarios is much more common than the other (hint: space remains available on our conference room wall).

I feel I should stop here to note that Formed Plastics values all its customers immensely, and we are always happy to do whatever we can to meet the challenges of their uniquely difficult business climate. But on the other hand: can we try to restore some freaking sanity here?

Words matter… until they don’t. “ASAP” matters, until it’s overused to the point that trust is permanently damaged. As the ASAPeople continue their assault, it’s critical that the gatekeepers (those who deal directly with the customers) are able to effectively discern the truly legitimate ASAP requests from the non-urgent ones.  After all, how many times can you fire up the troops for an all-out effort on a job where the effort turned out to be completely unneeded? If ASAP-bullets aren’t fired strategically, a production manager’s credibility and his workers’ morale will crumble in tandem.

Personally, I try to evaluate each incoming ASAP request as diligently as possible before communicating it to production and setting off the inevitable frenzied dash on the shop floor. This evaluation typically takes the form of simply asking the customer to confirm that the desperation expressed on the PO is reflective of reality. After all, it’s extraordinarily easy for a buyer to type “ASAP” onto a PO when all he knows for certain is that the parts are needed sometime in the near future.

It’s much more difficult to check inventories against existing and expected orders or to perform the other kinds of tedious chores that would allow a buyer to specify more reality-based requirements. So if nobody is asking, then why bother? ASAP it is!

I’ve found that a quick phone call to the ASAPerson can very often accomplish more than exchanging dozens of emails. It goes without saying, this is one of many instances where having established a strong pre-crisis relationship will pay huge dividends.

In the end, it’s unlikely that the ASAPeople will be changing their ways. All we can do is work to manage and understand them better so that their often unnecessary pleas for NOW! are safely contained within an email, the telephone, or the fax machine.  By establishing strong relationships with our customers, we can ask the kind of questions and get the kind of answers that will spare the shop floor from the immense stress that goes with chasing an unending string of down-to-the-wire deadlines.

David Long is the Executive Vice President of Formed Plastics, Inc. and a member of the Association Rotational Molders (ARM). This post originally appeared on the blog at www.rotomolding.org


What’s New Right Now? Kerabond™T, Tile of Spain gets ready for Cersaie, and LATICRETE wins an award
 
August 13th, 2013

MAPEI introduces Kerabond™ T

Recognizing the need in the marketplace for a mortar that would deliver successful large-format tile installations, MAPEI has developed Kerabond T, a premium-grade, nonsag, nonslump mortar for use in thin-set and medium-bed tile installations on interior/exterior residential and commercial floors and walls. When mixed with water, Kerabond T acts as a medium-bed mortar meeting the ANSI A118.1 standard and ISO 13007 Classification C1T. When mixed with Keralastic™, a second-generation “flexible” acrylic latex additive from MAPEI, the resulting system has exceptional bond strength, flexural strength, elongation characteristics and freeze/thaw durability, meeting the ANSI A118.15 standard and ISO 13007 Classification C2ES2P2. The high-performance bond makes Kerabond T / Keralastic the best medium-bed mortar system for the most difficult tiles, substrates and conditions. “The Kerabond T / Keralastic two-component mortar system provides superior bond strength, improved deflection characteristics and the ability to bond to porcelain tiles, plywood and other difficult-to-bond-to substrates,” said Brian Pistulka, Business Manager for the MAPEI Tile & Stone Installation Systems line. “Kerabond T is the perfect mortar for use with the new large-format tiles and thin-tile panels that the architectural and design community is currently specifying for their eco-sustainable qualities.”

Through research at its Centers for Excellence in Research and Development over the past two years, MAPEI has documented the successful process for installing large-format thin tile panels on walls and floors. This type of installation allows renovations over existing tile as well as other engineer-approved substrates, as it takes into account proper surface preparation, the use of suitable installation equipment, tile leveling systems and correctly formulated mortars such as the Kerabond T / Keralastic system. “MAPEI has manufactured Tile & Stone Installation Systems for more than 75 years,” Pistulka stated. “We’re here to do more than sell products; we work hard to serve our customers and anticipate their needs for success today and tomorrow.”

www.mapei.com

Kerabond_T_Application

 

Growing representation from Spanish tile industry at CERSAIE 2013

From September 23rd to 27th, the Spanish ceramic industry gathers in Bologna, creating the

largest foreign participation in the international fair. A total of 94 Spanish ceramic companies and ancillary industries will participate in the thirty-first edition of the Cersaie held from September 23 to 27th in Bologna, Italy. Spanish participation in the Italian event exhibitors this year includes ceramic sectors (80 companies), bathroom equipment (6 companies), and ancillary industries and related ceramics (8 companies). Once again, the group of Spanish ceramic companies is the main foreign participation in CERSAIE with about 100 exhibitors, which strengthens the position of Spanish ceramics in international markets and reaffirms the effort to expand the brand Tile of Spain abroad. After the last year’s success, Tile of Spain will again create an app for tablets and smartphones (Apple and Android) with the catalog of Spanish exhibitors at the fair. Available in late August, the new app will include information from all participating companies (new products presented at the fair, images, fair location, contact details, etc.) And includes useful filters for searching for companies by name, sector, and pavilion. The application of “Tile of Spain – CERSAIE’13″ aims to be a useful tool to help attendees plan to visit the fair, providing comprehensive information and even offering the possibility of drawing up a list of bookmarks for organizing the visit. A new feature has been improved allowing the maps section navigate the different wards to locate businesses, hits and others.The application will be available for download from the App Store (iPhone and iPad) and Android Play Store. It will also be accessible from the microsite: http://www.spaintiles.info/cersaie

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HYDRO BAN® Shower System Named 101 Best New Products

LATICRETE announced  that its HYDRO BAN® Shower System was awarded a certificate of achievement under the 101 Best New Products for 2013 by Professional Remodeler Magazine for market acceptance and overall perceived value. In early 2013, LATICRETE introduced four new SKUs to their HYDRO BAN Shower System product line, including pre-sloped linear shower pans, preformed benches, preformed shelves, and an oil rubbed bronze drain finish, providing a complete HYDRO BAN line of waterproofing products that allow for high quality rapid shower installations. Constructed of lightweight high-density polystyrene, each component is equipped with a code approved waterproof coating that is ready for tile. The HYDRO BAN Shower System also offers an exclusive comprehensive system warranty.The 101 Best New Products for 2013 will be showcased in the August 2013 issue of Professional Remodeler Magazine and also at www.HousingZone.com.

www.laticrete.com

 


TEXTURE BY DESIGN
 
August 1st, 2013

By Sean Cilona, Marketing Director, Florida Tile

An executive office with chairs table and view over the city of London

Texture describes the visual and/or tactile nature of something.

Texture has two components: “image texture” (the look of something) and “physical texture” (the feel of something).

To designers, architects, builders and decorators, texture is important because it reflects the nuances of personal style, establishes environmental interest and engenders specific moods such as warm or cool and settings from formal to casual.

That’s why in design circles right now, TEXTURE IS TRENDING.

Going back hundreds of years and in any culture, regardless of the design concept, texture is automatically a critical interior design component, and tile is a major contributor.

At one end of the design spectrum are products like Florida Tile’s new wood looks such as Magnolia HDP high definition porcelain tile. The other is represented by the urban look of Aventis, for example. Each is a very different look, but each shares the commonality of texture, both visual and actual, and each needs a bit of explanation by exploration.

Magnolia’s 8×36-inch pressed plank wood format size is consistent with the grand scale of wood and also with current trends in natural hardwood flooring. Magnolia HDP projects the traditional visual graining of magnolia wood and a relatively smooth but slightly textured surface reminiscent of its Southern plantation heritage.

Aventis, on the other hand, is a striking contemporary urban design, a cool, minimalist look for modern residential or commercial spaces. Inspired by the coarse, weathered urban landscape, Aventis uses strong Greys, Cream, Black and Olive tones for that clean, cool, metro, “gritty city” look. A unique blending of a base color plus a stain for contrast makes for a slight shimmer of reflection, another form of texture.

Tile is ideal in meeting the challenge of a designer whose job it is to see the large picture by taking into account other surfaces, accessories and transitions to other rooms and bring it all together.

Even the installation, the very way a tile is set in place, contributes to texture. Even trim pieces and listellos which coordinate or complement a tile décor and are uniquely called on for creating borders, frames and chair rails, become part of the texture of a tile installation.

Designers working with tile will consider the size of the surface and its surroundings, coordinating with adjacent features like countertops, walls and backsplashes.  Different sizes, patterns and textures can complement and personalize a space and create perfect transitions in texture from room to room. Since tile blends well texturally with other design materials—metal, glass, wood, etc., designers can blend diverse elements in their designs.

Texture is one reason designer-quality tile is very different from versions found in bulk home good stores. The color, style and texture are greater and far more compelling in the final installation.

Next time you hold a piece of tile in hour hands, think of it as “texture by design.”

 

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