The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) has partnered with the Floor Covering Business to Business Association (fcB2B) to make fcB2B's digital business model a reality for the flooring industry.
fcB2B has existed since 2000, and WFCA has been an avid supporter of the organization from both a visionary standpoint and in a financial capacity since its inception.
“Our industry has been doing business the same way for decades—in some ways you might even say centuries,” said Scott Humphrey, WFCA's CEO. “Face-to-face meetings, pushing papers, sending faxes and making phone calls all have their place in our industry, but not when it comes to financial transactions that can and should take seconds. No matter what industry you are in—retail, transport, healthcare, education, government and numerous others, there is no doubt that e-commerce has become the common denominator for doing business efficiently and effectively in today’s business environment.”
The partnership between WFCA and fcB2B comes at a very critical time for fcB2B, according to Humphrey. Over the past 15 years its team members have assembled and worked tirelessly to create a seamless digital program for the flooring industry. Once that model gains wide acceptance across the industry, the execution of transactions and the overall pace of doing business will be streamlined and new efficiencies will become the norm.
According to research conducted by Supply Chain Insights, over one-third of all B2B purchase orders and other transactions completed by companies using EDI/XML require no manual intervention. About one-fourth are transacted with minimal interaction.
As an example, CAP Carpet conducted a cost/time study using fcB2B technology inside the industry. Through this study, it was determined that if only the top 125-250 dealers, which represent 1.6-billion dollars of industry sales in the independent business channel, reached the level of integration that other industries using EDI/XML have achieved, the savings would be vast. The fcB2B model could save those companies over 17-million dollars. Manufacturers could save about 9-million dollars and independent dealers may save about 8-million.
“In today’s connected electronic communication world this standard of electronic commerce is a must for the independent to survive against their big box competitors,” said Aaron Pirner, CEO, CAP Carpets and co-president, fcB2B. “It will improve business efficiency, business relationships and order management reliability. Ultimately this system will make customers happier.”
As part of the arrangement, WFCA will be covering the costs of a full time executive director for FCB2B.
“I feel strongly that with a dedicated team in place we can build more support from our industry partners to fully and successfully implement the fcB2B model,” said Humphrey. Phillip Zolan, formerly director of Continuous Improvement at Mohawk, will be running fcB2B. Zolan’s extensive background in large scale technology based business solutions makes him an ideal candidate for the role. He will be working hand-in-hand with longtime leader and supporter Pam Bowe and her team, who will continue their work in a consulting capacity.