Member Blogs from Turkey-David Benson, Architectural Ceramics, Inc.
 
June 29th, 2015

CTDA members recently traveled to Turkey on a Trade Mission and blogged about their experiences.

Architectural Ceramics, Inc. takes on Istanbul: Part One
DavidandBetty

When you are a part of the CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributor Association), you’re given a unique opportunity to explore parts of the tile community you’d never have been able to before. As a member of the CTDA for over 10 years, Architectural Ceramics has time and again been able to expand our tile selections, our product knowledge, and our design network thanks to opportunities like this.
Earlier this year, the CTDA approached its long list of members and suggested everyone join together for a trip to Istanbul on behalf of Turkish Ceramics Association of Turkey. In early June, Betty Sullivan and David Benson from Architectural Ceramics embarked on a journey with the rest of the CTDA to the country of Turkey. The trip was three days long, with the flight over spanning about 10 hours.

Upon our arrival in Turkey, we were delighted to see that our trip from the airport to where we were staying offered several amazing views along the way. While it was a long drive, it felt amazing to be in such a new place with several days of excitement still in store for us. When we did finally arrive at the hotel, we were greeted and checked in flawlessly which was no surprise because the CTDA always makes sure to pick the most accommodating stays. After getting some rest, Betty and David headed to the opening reception on an amazing roof top, the nice breeze cooling them as they got to meet with many manufacturers and learn a little bit more about what was to come the next couple of days.

day1

Day 1 officially started the next morning, beginning with a European breakfast bar call Manzara. Manzara had everything from eggs, to sliced meats, to fresh honey literally hanging from the honeycomb. Everyone loved it! After breakfast, we went to our morning session, which was like a mini-tradeshow almost. We had the opportunity to hear from multiple professionals in the industry. Guvan, the head of a well known marketing group, taught us the history on ceramics in Turkey, as well as more about the culture itself. We were then introduced to the President of the Turkish Ceramics Association and we learned about the 30+ porcelain/ceramic manufacturers in Turkey trying increase exports to the USA, instead of just appealing to the European market.

tradeshow

Trade shows are always exciting because they show us more of what their factories have to offer. Below are some photos of what really stood out from a product standpoint. A really great aspect to know is that Turkey can produce HD quality products, just like the US or Italy. However, consensus seems to show there is still a lot of growth that needs to occur.

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To learn more about Architectural Ceramics, Inc. click here.


MOUNTAIN RE-SOURCE CENTER HONORS FLORIDA TILE FOR TEN YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP, IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES
 
December 8th, 2014

E. CANTON, OH (Dec. 5, 2014) – Mountain Re-Source Center (MRC) and Tile Partners for Humanity (TPFH), the tile industry partnership that is part of MRC, recognized Florida Tile for ten years of partnership and support of community improvement projects through generous donations of ceramic tile.

 

MRC and TPFH met Florida Tile employees at the company’s corporate headquarters in Lexington, Ky., to personally thank them for the incredible impact of the donations and the involvement of the company. They also presented CEO Michael Franceschelli with a marble plaque thanking Florida Tile for its ongoing partnership.

Florida Tile has donated to TPFH and MRC since 2004, when it provided 895 square feet of floor tile for two Habitat for Humanity homes in Atlanta, Ga. Since that time, the company has donated more than 800 loads of tile that have gone to more than 20 states, 40 nonprofit organizations, and fifteen countries.

Two organizations that have shared in the donations joined MRC in expressing gratitude. Ashley Napier, executive director of Central West Virginia Outreach Center in Gassaway, W. Va., said that his organization has distributed 34 loads of tile to more than 1,600 families and organizations throughout West Virginia and the surrounding Appalachian region. Lisa Boen, vice president of operations for Operation Compassion in Cleveland, Tenn., shared a video demonstrating how they have used tile in orphanages, schools, medical clinics, homes, and community centers in fifteen countries in Central and South America and in Eastern Europe.

Herb Miller, executive director of MRC and TPFH, said the partners wanted to demonstrate just how much the donations have meant and to underscore the importance of the longevity of the partnership. He congratulated Florida Tile on its 60th anniversary and said the company has done well to focus both on business and supporting communities.

“Florida Tile is one of our longest-standing partners and they have truly made a difference in the lives of thousands of families.  We work with nonprofit partners around the country and tile is one of our most-requested items. We’re grateful that Florida Tile understands the value of donating and the good that their tile does in so many communities. They are one of our core donors and we couldn’t do what we do without them!”

Florida Tile CEO Franceschelli was pleased to have the opportunity to support MRC and its partners. He thanked everyone for the recognition, but said he believed the organizations and their outreach were responsible for the incredible impact of the donations.

“Our working partnership with Mountain Re-Source Center is very important.  It provides a simple, functional method for helping local communities. It is also important for Florida Tile, which is owned by international tile manufacturer Panariagroup, to be able to reach more distant communities in need.  The affiliation with Mountain Re-Source Center enables distribution of materials internationally as well, including to regions such as Central and South America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.”

Diane Hancock, director of the 6th Congressional District, thanked Florida Tile for its incredible community support on behalf of Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. She presented Franceschelli with a letter from the Governor recognizing the company’s contributions to both the local economy and to communities around the world. She also gave him a pewter mint julep cup from the office of the Governor.

About Florida Tile

Florida Tile is a fully owned subsidiary of Panariagroup, a publicly owned company traded on the Milan Stock Exchange (MILAN: PAN IM). Panariagroup is a leading manufacturer and distributor in over 60 countries around the world with six manufacturing sites in Italy, Portugal and the USA and eight brands positioned in the high-end of the market. www.panariagroup.it.

About Mountain Re-Source Center

Mountain Re-Source Center is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that welcomes donations of all types of building materials as well as disaster relief supplies, educational resources, household necessities, and medical supplies. MRC also includes Tile Partners for Humanity, which represents a partnership of tile industry members supporting Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofit organizations. To donate or for more information on MRC or TPFH, contact MRC Executive Director Herb Miller at 304-678-4229/ hmiller@mountainre-source.org or Networking Director Ally Venugopal at 425-429-6188/ allyv@mountainre-source.org. MRC provides a donation receipt for tax purposes. For more information, visit www.mountainre-source.org.

MRC Honors FloridaTile 12.4.14 Group

Mountain Re-Source Center and its partners honored Florida Tile for ten years of partnership at the company’s headquarters in Lexington, Ky., on Dec. 4 of this year. L to R: Sean Cilona of Florida Tile, Herb Miller  of Mountain Re-Source Center, Kentucky Sixth Congressional District Director Diane Hancock, Michael Franceschelli of Florida Tile, Ally Venugopal of Mountain Re-Source Center, Ashley Napier of Central West Virginia Outreach Center, and Lisa Boen of Operation Compassion.

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CTDA’s Hall of Fame Award Presented to Rick Baldini
 
November 6th, 2014

Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) presented its Hall of Fame award to Mr. Rick Baldini at the 2014 Total Solutions Plus in San Antonio, TX.

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For over 30 years, CTDA has been a leader in the Ceramic Tile industry, imparting the collective knowledge of years of experience in distribution and manufacturing. During that time CTDA has had the privilege of being guided by some of the best leaders in the industry. This award recognizes outstanding CTDA and industry leaders, those that are truly “members” of CTDA. They do more than just “belong” to the association, they participate.


BEST TILE, NEUSE TILE AND USG DONATE MATERIALS TO TILE EIGHT HOMES IN NORTH CAROLINA
 
July 30th, 2014

E. CANTON, OH (July 28, 2014) – Three members of the tile industry donated tile and installation materials to tile eight Habitat for Humanity homes in Norlina, North Carolina, in April.

Best Tile of Raleigh donated floor and wall tile and Neuse Tile Service of Youngsville donated thinset mortar and grout. USG Corporation, which distributes USG Durock® Brand Cement Board through Best Tile, donated USG Durock cement board for the full project.

Habitat for Humanity of Warren County has tiled two bathrooms in the first of the eight homes, which are in the Northwoods neighborhood of Norlina, about an hour north of Raleigh. Local volunteers handled the tile installation.

TPFH represents the partnership of tile industry members working to support nonprofit partners like Habitat for Humanity and community outreach centers through donations of tile materials and labor. TPFH coordinated the donations on behalf of Habitat in Warren County.

The donors included members of longtime TPFH supporters Ceramic Tile Distributors Association and National Tile Contractors Association. Frank Donahue, owner of Best Tile, is the president of CTDA and Nyle Wadford, president of Neuse Tile, is the chairman of the board of NTCA. USG is a member of both CTDA and NTCA.

Donahue said he was happy to be part of the project in Norlina. “We are proud to support local organizations like Habitat for Humanity and to know that the through the tile we donated, eight families will have modern and durable bathrooms in their new homes.”

Paige W. Smith, Vice President of Neuse Tile Service, said, “We appreciate being included in the project in Norlina and are glad to support efforts that provide outreach and help meet the housing needs of some members of our community.”

For USG Sales Representative Willie Phares, it was an easy decision to participate. “USG believes it’s important to support the communities where we live and work and where we know our products will be able to support the good work of organizations like Habitat for Humanity. We’re proud to be part of this project!”

Herb Miller, Executive Director of TPFH and its parent organization, Mountain Re-Source Center, thanked the industry members for their donations. “Thanks to Best Tile, Neuse Tile Service, and USG, eight families will know the value and beauty of tile in their new homes! We couldn’t do it without their enthusiasm and support!”

Completed Habitat home in Norlina, NC, June2014

About Tile Partners for Humanity/Mountain Re-Source Center

Tile Partners for Humanity represents a partnership of tile industry members supporting Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofit organizations. TPFH is part of MRC, which welcomes donations of all types of building materials as well as disaster relief supplies, educational resources, household necessities, and medical supplies. To donate or for more information on MRC or TPFH, contact MRC Executive Director Herb Miller at 304-678-4229/ hmiller@mountainre-source.org or Networking Director Ally Venugopal at 425-429-6188/ allyv@mountainre-source.org. MRC provides a donation receipt for tax purposes. For more information, visit www.mountainre-source.org or www.tpfh.com.

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DALTILE and LATICRETE DONATE MATERIALS TO TILE HOMES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY
 
July 29th, 2014

E. CANTON, OH (July 21, 2014) – Two members of the tile industry donated tile and installation materials for three Habitat for Humanity homes in Escondido, California, in June.

Daltile donated a 12×12 floor tile and LATICRETE donated thinset mortar and grout.

San Diego Habitat for Humanity tiled the entire first level and one additional bathroom in each of the three homes, which are part of a larger 11-home project in the Escondido community north of San Diego. The build was part of the national Habitat for Humanity Builders’ Blitz initiative, in which local builders sponsored homes and completed all of the work on their own.

TPFH represents the partnership of tile industry members working to support nonprofit partners like Habitat for Humanity and community outreach centers through donations of tile materials and labor. TPFH coordinated the donations on behalf of Habitat in San Diego County.

The donors included members of longtime TPFH supporters Tile Council of North America, Ceramic Tile Distributors Association and National Tile Contractors Association. Both Daltile and LATICRETE are members of all three organizations. Daltile is also a national corporate sponsor of Habitat for Humanity.

Lori Holt Pfeiler, executive director of San Diego Habitat for Humanity, thanked the donors for their support.

“Habitat’s programs help those who need a ‘hand up’ to overcome the challenges they face with regard to decent, affordable housing. Working alongside partners like Daltile and LATICRETE, we are able to offer hope by making homeownership a reality for families in Escondido, and throughout San Diego County.  We are so grateful for their generous support. ”

“LATICRETE very much supports the efforts of Tile Partners for Humanity. We firmly believe in the mission of the organization and are proud to be a part of it,” said Maria Oliveira, LATICRETE Corporate Marketing Manager.

Herb Miller, executive director of TPFH and its parent organization, Mountain Re-Source Center, thanked the tile industry for its ongoing support. “It’s only through generous donations from partners like Daltile and LATICRETE that we’re able to support the work of our nonprofit partners. These families in Escondido have beautiful floors – thank you so much!”

Daltile and Laticrete donated materials to tile three Habitat for Humanity homes in Escondido, CA, in June.

About Tile Partners for Humanity/Mountain Re-Source Center

Tile Partners for Humanity represents a partnership of tile industry members supporting Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofit organizations. TPFH is part of MRC, which welcomes donations of all types of building materials as well as disaster relief supplies, educational resources, household necessities, and medical supplies. To donate or for more information on MRC or TPFH, contact MRC Executive Director Herb Miller at 304-678-4229/ hmiller@mountainre-source.org or Networking Director Ally Venugopal at 425-429-6188/ allyv@mountainre-source.org. MRC provides a donation receipt for tax purposes. For more information, visit www.mountainre-source.org or www.tpfh.com.

About Daltile

Daltile is an industry-leading brand of ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal, manufactured stone and natural stone tile products. Daltile products are distributed through over 250 company-owned sales service centers, stone slabyards and gallery design centers that service a robust network of trade customers. Dedicated to innovative product development and distinguished style, Daltile provides a rich palette of quality products created to inspire residential and commercial designs. For more information, visit www.daltile.com and follow Daltile on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

About LATICRETE International, Inc.

LATICRETE is a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry. LATICRETE offers a broad range of products and systems covering substrate preparation, tile and stone installation, concrete construction chemicals, and decorative flooring. For nearly 60 years, LATICRETE has been committed to research and development of innovative installation products, building a reputation for superior quality, performance and customer service. LATICRETE methods, materials and technology have been field and laboratory proven by Architects, Engineers, Contractors and Owners. Offering an array of low VOC and sustainable products, LATICRETE products contribute to LEED certification, exceed commercial/residential VOC building requirements, and are backed by the most comprehensive warranties in the industry. LATICRETE®, LATAPOXY®, SPECTRALOCK®, HYDRO BAN®, PERMACOLOR®, and DRYTEK® are registered brands of LATICRETE International, Inc.

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TILE INDUSTRY MEMBERS DONATE PRODUCT TO TILE THREE HOMES IN COLORADO
 
July 17th, 2014

E. CANTON, OH (July 16, 2014) – Five members of the tile industry donated tile and installation materials to tile three Habitat for Humanity homes in Woodland Park, Colorado, in April.

Daltile, Capco Tile & Stone, and Marino Tile and Marble all donated tile. Merkrete, a division of Parex USA, donated thinset mortar and grout and Tile Traders contributed tile backerboard. All of the companies donated from their facilities in Colorado Springs, which is a short distance from the Habitat project site.

Two volunteers installed tile backerboard donated by Tile Traders in Woodland Park, CO

The homes completed a six-family project, which includes one family that fosters special needs children. Habitat adapted the house plans to make the home ADA compliant and said the donation of tile floors and walls helped them meet those requirements and reduce the overall cost to the family. The project was also part of a Habitat initiative known as Women Build, in which women make up the entire volunteer force. Under the leadership of Habitat construction supervisors, the women also handled the tile installation!

Tile Partners for Humanity represents the partnership of tile industry members working to support nonprofit partners like Habitat for Humanity and community outreach centers through donations of tile materials and labor. TPFH coordinated the donations on behalf of Habitat in Teller County.

The donors included members of longtime TPFH supporters Ceramic Tile Distributors Association and National Tile Contractors Association. Merkrete, Marino Tile and Marble, and Tile Traders are members of CTDA and Capco Tile & Stone, Merkrete and Marino Tile & Stone are members of NTCA. Daltile is a member of both CTDA and NTCA and is also a national corporate sponsor of Habitat for Humanity.

An all-female volunteer crew installed tile in three Habitat homes in Woodland Park, CO

Jamie Caperton, executive director of Teller County Habitat for Humanity, said it was an incredible experience for both volunteers and families. “What a delight it was to work with such generous partners like these to provide such a warm and welcoming home for our families during the Women Build Week. The ladies had tons of fun laying tile and totally look forward to next year!”

For Derek Richardson of Capco Tile & Stone, it was a chance to show appreciation to the community. “Capco Tile & Stone was happy to make a contribution to support Habitat for Humanity and the local community. As a long time local small business in Colorado Springs we feel it is important to give back to the community that has for so long supported us. Thank you Colorado Springs!”

 

Luciano Tavares of Merkrete said they were happy to participate. “Parex USA as a company, represented in this case by our tile and setting materials brand Merkrete, was proud to be part of the Habitat for Humanity project in Woodland Park, CO. Our facility in Colorado Springs was convenient and practical by supplying the right setting material for the size of the tile used in the project, including Merkrete 720 Marble Pro and Merkrete Integra for the installation of the glass tile. We liked that our facility was able to assist on a local level and knew that our donation was going to be used for a good cause.”

Merkrete donated thinset mortar and grout for three Habitat homes in Woodland Park, CO

Herb Miller, Executive Director of TPFH and its parent organization, Mountain Re-Source Center, said the project could not have come together without the support of so many members of the tile industry. “It’s only through generous partners and their desire to improve their communities that we’re able to support the work of our nonprofit partners. Three families now know the joy of home ownership and the value of beautiful tile floors in their homes. Thank you for your partnership!”

About Tile Partners for Humanity/Mountain Re-Source Center

Tile Partners for Humanity represents a partnership of tile industry members supporting Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofit organizations. TPFH is part of MRC, which welcomes donations of all types of building materials as well as disaster relief supplies, educational resources, household necessities, and medical supplies. To donate or for more information on MRC or TPFH, contact MRC Executive Director Herb Miller at 304-678-4229/ hmiller@mountainre-source.org or Networking Director Ally Venugopal at 425-429-6188/ allyv@mountainre-source.org. MRC provides a donation receipt for tax purposes. For more information, visit www.mountainre-source.org or www.tpfh.com.

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Where can you attend an event with four of the top associations in your field collaborating on the major issues facing our industry?
 
November 26th, 2013

Dear CTDA Members,

Less than three weeks ago many of you, myself included, attended a  record-breaking Total Solutions Plus (TSP)  in Bonita Springs, Florida.

At TSP you  had the opportunity to network, enjoy, visit your vendors in a relaxed environment, and get educated on the some of the relevant issues facing the industry.  For me, personally, I left the conference  exhilarated that TSP has arrived and has become a major industry event every member should attend. We can all be proud of being a part of CTDA.  At TSP you learned that membership in CTDA association is increasing, ALONG WITH participation in committees.  The association is striving to give you additional benefits as an added bonus for membership. All CTDA committees are working hard to serve you and to best represent your needs.

I personally ask you to recommit not only for your yearly dues, but also to get someone in your organization to join and be active in one of the committees.

In doing so you also earn points that can earn you a free yearly member!

Some of our top participating distributors and suppliers should be recognized for their dedication to CTDA.

You are part of an association that represents your needs and provides you with Education and Certification Programs that include of Online Education, Webinars, Tile Training in a Box, Color/Shade Variation Program, and CCTS Certification The CTDA Dealer Blog, Membership Directory, Profit Report comparison with the industry averages, and Employee Compensation Surveys are also available to you.

Did you also know that CTDA members enjoy  shipping discounts from freightquote.com, credit card processing discounts, discounts on F.W. dodge leads, NAW Business Services Program and a program with Schechner Lifson Insurance? Have you used these services?

In closing, everyone at CTDA including management, board members, committee members and members want to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and healthy and prosperous new year.

Please make a commitment to sign up early, encourage non members and suppliers to join, and to make a commitment to have one of your employees engaged in one of the various committees ( Certification Committee, Convention Planning Committee, Education Committee, Marketing/PR Committee, Membership Committee, Social Media Committee, Technical Committee, Emerging Leaders Committee).

Thank you again for all your support. Looking forward to seeing all at Coverings.

Dave Milanowycz
Sales Director for Independent Distribution
Florida Tile
CTDA Membership Committee Chairman


Florida Tile’s Dave Milanowycz Inducted Into CTDA Hall Of Fame
 
November 13th, 2013

HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Dave Milanowycz, Director of Sales for Florida Tile, is the 2013 Ceramic Tile Distributor’s Association Hall of Fame inductee.

florida tile dave milanowycz hall of fame photo oct13

The award was made in late October during the industry’s annual Total Solutions Plus convention in Bonita Springs, Florida. The convention is held jointly by the CTDA, the National Tile Contractors Association and the Tile Council of North America.

The award is given annually to an industry professional who has demonstrated significant contributions to not only the CTDA but also to the industry in general.

To be nominated, one must be or have been an active CTDA member and have  demonstrated a leadership role in the tile industry which reflects the CTDA mission.

The organization is an international association of distributors, manufacturers and allied professionals of ceramic tile and related products which connects, educates and strengthens tile and stone distributors.

Dave has been with Florida Tile for over 20 years and is actively involved in the distributor network providing leadership and sales guidance.

He is respected by the Florida Tile customer base for his excellence in training and face to face field time with showroom personnel and outside sales people.

Dave lives in Howell, NJ and enjoys time with his wife and two daughters when he is not in the field selling tile.

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Headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, Florida Tile is a fully owned subsidiary of Panariagroup, a publicly owned company traded on the Milan Stock Exchange (MILAN: PAN IM). Panariagroup is a leading manufacturer and distributor in over 60 countries around the world with six manufacturing sites in Italy, Portugal and the USA and eight brands positioned in the high-end of the market. 


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.”

Aug28-blog-FloridaTile-TomFacca Aug280blog-MassimoBarbari

 

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!”

Aug20-blog-crayola001

“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

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