Last month was a big month for the installation trade. The industry held its first Installation Summit in Dallas, bringing together about 80 concerned professionals from all corners of the market looking to solve the problem of unqualified installers.
The two-day meeting was full of passion, frustration and—most importantly—a game plan to slowly fix this mess. No one left the meeting believing that one magic formula will solve this problem. Attacking this issue is going to require dedication, teamwork and compromise across all market segments. As Scott Humphrey, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), said at the close of the meeting, no one expects this problem to go away overnight. But the fact that the industry is finally willing to face it, roll up their sleeves and get to work? That in itself is a sign of progress.
Last month was also the 23rd annual International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) convention. (Look for full coverage of that event in next month’s issue.) The spirit of collaboration initially felt at the Installation Summit was also in full force at the CFI event. To be honest, collaboration and teamwork is always a big theme of CFI’s get-togethers. They’re a friendly, smart and hard-working crew who act more like a big, extended family than a group of seasoned businesspeople.
However, this is only the second year of the convention since WFCA acquired CFI last year. In 2015, the convention came together at the last minute very soon after the purchase, and Humphrey along with CFI’s head, Robert Varden, candidly answered questions from members during a tense town hall meeting. This year, it felt more or less like the convention was back to normal—full of high-level educational sessions, hands-on demonstrations and a collective sigh of relief.
CFI’s next big task is going to be attracting even more new members to the convention. However, fresh blood is an issue felt by all associations that have anything to do with installation. The problem the industry is facing with unqualified installers is tied together with the trouble these organizations have in simply getting new installers into their classes. As one problem gets figured out, the other will as well.
I wanted to briefly mention an FCI-related development. We now have an app available on both the Google Play and App stores. The FCI app makes reading our content on smartphones and tablets a breeze, with intuitive features and uncluttered design. Find out more at the links play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bnpmedia.fciapp and itunes.apple.com/us/app/fci-floor-covering-installer/id1137698211?ls=1&mt=8.
And, as always, if you ever want to talk to me about the industry—the good and the bad—you can call me at (603) 791-0215 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.