In a timely move aimed at providing solutions and tools for coping with the business challenges faced by tile and stone professionals in the year ahead, Coverings 2009 will present a newly developed “Surviving 2009” series of educational sessions. During the show’s run from Tuesday, April 21 through Friday, April 24, at Chicago’s McCormick Place, there will be a menu of 11 seminars dedicated to teaching show attendees strategies and tactics for riding out the current economic storm. Led by esteemed experts from across the industry, these sessions, like all of Coverings’ conference programming, are entirely free of charge, and many yield AIA, ASID/IIDA or NKBA continuing education credits.
conference component at Coverings has always been one of the highlights of the
show, this year’s addition of the ‘Surviving 2009’ track elevates it to a new
level by tackling the most relevant and top-of-mind issues facing the
industry,” said Glenn Feder, president of client events for National Trade
Productions, which manages and produces Coverings. “By creating dedicated
programming that squarely addresses crucial business survival issues, we’re
giving show attendees the advice they need now more than ever before-at no
cost, as always, and with no cutbacks to the rest of the conference schedule. We
believe that the investment made in traveling to Coverings is a small one
relative to the bounty of real, ready-to-implement advice and insight awaiting
show-goers this year.”
the noteworthy sessions scheduled to be part of this programming is marketing
guru Jonathan Trivers’s keynote address for distributors and retailers on
Wednesday, April 22. He plans to provide attendees with tried-and-true advice
on to how to stay a step ahead of consumers’ ever-changing tastes. The title of
his presentation says it all:
“Trendscape 360: Today’s Retailers Must Understand Customer Changes and
to be of particular interest to retailers is “Creating a ‘Sell’ Room, Not a
Showroom,” scheduled for Thursday morning. Presented by James Dion, founder and
president of internationally known retail consultancy Dionco, the session will
teach attendees how to use key visual presentation tricks to wow customers and
boost sales. Later the same morning, Dion will offer an in-depth look at the
challenges facing the retail industry with “Retail Ain’t What It Used to Be: A
Preview of the Future.” Drawing on his experiences with A-list clients
including Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Williams-Sonoma and Johnson & Johnson, Dion
will arm attendees with ammunition to help generate new concepts for staying on
the cutting edge of this dynamic industry.
past appearances at Coverings, Donato Grosser has provided valuable
state-of-the-industry knowledge, and his upcoming “Forecasting the U.S. Ceramic Tile Market”
seminar promises a thoughtful analysis of where the ceramic tile market is
headed. As principal of D. Grosser and Associates, he brings nearly 25 years’
experience in counseling international clients on increasing their presence in
the American market to bear on his illuminating and realistic picture of tile
consumption and future opportunities for sales.
His presentation on the opening day of the show will mark his first appearance
in front of a Chicago Coverings audience.
economist of the Associated General Contractors of America, Ken Simonson, will
address issues of concern to installers and contractors when he takes to the
stage as the keynoter on Tuesday, April 21.
His session, “Construction Forecast: What Impact Can You Expect?” will
explain how the current economy is affecting the construction industry, and
provide insight as to how contractors and other industry professionals can strategically
respond to shrinking budgets and project delays.
will want to add “Estimating 101-Do You Know Your Cost?” to their agendas. This
Thursday, April 23rd session, conducted by GK Naquin, of Stone Interiors, and
Michael Twiss, of Columbia Stone, Inc., will take an in-depth look at how to
best evaluate the cost of each component of a business to help beef up the
sponsoring Coverings include ASCER (Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association of
Spain), Confindustria Ceramica (The Italian Association of Ceramics), TCNA
(Tile Council of North America), NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association)
and CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributors Association).
2009 co-sponsors to date include: the American Institute of Architects (Chicago
Chapter), American Society of Interior Designers (Illinois Chapter), the
International Interior Design Association, Chicago Floorcovering Association,
Terrazzo, Tile & Marble Association of Canada and the International
Interior Design Association (Illinois Chapter).
2009 Educational Sessions
April 21, 2009
and Contractors Keynote
Forecast: What Impact Can You Expect?
Simonson joined the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) in 2001,
and has since provided insight into the shifting economy and what it implies
for construction and related activities.
Join Ken as he provides a forecast of what’s to come in the industry and
how it’s likely to impact your business. Stay informed so you can make the best
decisions for your future.
Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America
the US Ceramic Tile Market
you expect of the US
ceramic tile market in 2009? What is the
impact of the global economy? Join Mr.
Grosser as he presents his forecast of the US ceramic tile market for the
first time to the Coverings Chicago audience.
Don’t miss out on this look at consumption, manufacturing, imports, and
distribution across the ceramic tile industry.
Speaker: Donato Grosser, D. Grosser and Associates
economic realities present a unique set of challenges, as the new construction
that fueled our growth has all but disappeared in many markets:
Consumers have a hard time differentiating your extensive product
competitors have similar products at the same price point.
products are selected in a narrow palette and aesthetic range.
change as new types of materials compete for a share of the
recently diminished market.
* The custom luxury market is affected by the
downturn as well.
you are a manufacturer, distributor or retailer, you can grow your business
with your own unique story. Beyond “brand”, the key to customers’ buying
decision is an authentic “story” that weaves you, your product and the
consumers’ expectations into an engaging narrative. In the current economic
climate, it is more important than ever that the story you tell aligns with what
is foremost on consumers’ minds – the sustainability of both their lifestyles
and the world around them.
Speaker: Christy Stadelmaier, Motif Marketing
and Retailers Keynote
360: Today’s Retailers Must Understand Customer Changes and Industry Changes
customers’ lifestyle evolves, and smart products match and predict these
changes. Specialty retailers must be at
the forefront of these shifts, as customers expect them to be both first with
new products and knowledgeable about new looks, whether grout, field tiles and
glass. This session will provide distributors and retailers with insight into
how best to connect with consumers’ rapidly evolving and changing tastes in one
of most challenging retailing environments in decades.
Speaker: Jonathan Trivers, Marketing Wit and Wisdom
Your Receivables in Today’s Economy: How
to Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
session will teach attendees how to implement certain techniques and
procedures in-house to help minimize risk. Presenters will discuss red flags to
look out for during the course of doing business with a current client, or a
new prospect seeking terms. Use of tools such as credit and background checks,
bankruptcy watch-lists, free 7-10 day demand letters, as well as the
guidelines as to when to turn an account over to a third party will be
discussed. Also, the session will address the process for updating
current customer databases with new updated credit applications, proof of
delivery tickets, invoices, purchase orders, change orders, extra work
authorization forms, contracts, etc.
Changing the way you do business based on these economic changes will
enable you to minimize your losses and be proactive versus reactive.
Speakers: Al Dias and Niles Schwartz, Allied Collection
April 23, 2009
“Sell” Room, Not a Showroom
fast-paced workshop focuses on the elements of visual presentation in your
showroom that not only make it easier to shop, but also easier to sell to your
customers. All too often, we design wonderful-looking show rooms that are
more museum quality than retail quality. Learn what the key tricks of the
visual presentation trade can do for your showroom, and transform it into
a true “sell” room! Learn to identify staff behaviors necessary to tie
into the process, so your entire message to the customer is a seamless
experience that leads to more profitable sales.
Speaker: James Dion, Dionco, Inc.
Myths in Distribution
session will help distributors understand that much of the conventional wisdom
about profitability is actually wrong.
As a result, most distributors are not as profitable as they should be.
This session will examine whether you should work on sales, margin or
investment, and will suggest specific
improvement opportunities in each area that yield measurable results.
Speaker: Albert Bates, PhD, Profit Planning Group
What It Used to Be: A Preview of the
the major forces of change that shape our societies and create the future
context of today’s world is no longer optional for retailers and distributors
of all sizes: it’s a prerequisite for excelling in business. This seminar will
help you anticipate and adapt to change by learning about some of the major
cultural shifts in consumers’ lifestyles and desires taking place today and in
the years to come. Get inspired by the many examples included in this
presentation from hundreds of brands already embracing these trends, and leave
the workshop with ammunition to help you generate new concepts, goods,
services, and experiences for your customers.
Speaker: James Dion, Dionco, Inc.
Reduce Your Liability While Saving Insurance Premiums
purpose of this session is to provide practical everyday solutions for lowering
your insurance costs and further insulating business owners from catastrophic
loss. Attendees will learn the basics of business insurance, workman’s
compensation, as well as controlling their audits with proper risk transfer
techniques. Handouts will be available, along with safety and risk
transfer forms on CD.
Speaker: Marc Rosenkrantz, CIC, AAI, Schechner Lifson
Estimating 101 – Do You Know Your Cost?
As a fabricator, do you know your true cost of doing
business? How much are you making on each job? Can you analyze your cost by
each component (template, fabrication, install, overhead, etc)? How does a new piece of equipment affect your
bottom line? It isn’t rocket science,
but if you haven’t had a course on this subject, then this is a can’t-miss
seminar. Learn how to get a handle on your costs so that you can boost your
Speakers: GK Naquin, Stone Interiors and Michael Twiss,
Columbia Stone, Inc.
, April 24,
Execution: Minimizing Go-Backs and
Is it true
that Project Execution is the “red-headed stepchild” of retail? Retailers and manufacturers create marketing
campaigns, develop new displays, craft graphics and fixtures, and invest in
branding and advertising all for one purpose: To sell products! However, when
it all comes down to the last mile of the marathon that is retail development,
it is Project Execution that matters most.
Nothing gets sold until the product is in place. Learn strategies for
reducing costly go-backs, implementing value-engineering for display
installations, and improving rollouts and product launches. In short, learn how to better manage the
fragmented market that is Retail Project Execution. Find out how much it really costs when you
have a 30% go-back rate, and learn how to value and prioritize your schedule,
warranty, vendor relationships, price and speed to market.
Speakers: Bobby Darnell and Rick Hall, The Beam Team
Coverings 2009 responds to economy with "Surviving 2009" seminar series
January 16, 2009