All Floor Supplies’ Glenn Whitfield has been in the flooring industry long enough to have seen challenging times. Whether it was asbestos is the 80s and 90s, the introduction of box stores and e-commerce in the 90s and 00s, and most recently, the silica rule and moisture mitigation, Whitfield has seen our industry confront these and other challenges and successfully take them head-on. Entering the flooring industry as an installer in the late 80s, and now serving as general manager of All Floor Supplies, a wholesale floor covering supply distributor that sells products used in the installation of carpet, hardwood, laminate, ceramic tile, vinyl, rubber and other floor coverings, Whitfield and the All Floor Supplies team are implementing new technologies, practices and procedures to insure that they make it through the pandemic—yet another challenge—unscathed.
How has the pandemic changed business as you know it?
Distributors have seen rough times before. We, as an industry, will identify the challenges and meet them head-on. I imagine some of the new ideas will have a lasting influence. For example, the ability to work from home was relatively unimportant in distribution a year ago, but I believe many distributors will continue to offer that long after the pandemic ends.
In addition to any challenges you might have faced due to the pandemic, what have been some victories the company has experienced during this time?
We believe that the value of distribution has been highlighted during the pandemic. The symbiotic relationship between manufacturers, distributors, retailers and installers has never been more relevant.
What have you changed to accommodate shifts in business?
We implemented new technologies to allow for remote working options. We minimized our vulnerabilities by separating our workforce into smaller teams with flexible shift options.
What trends are you seeing in the industry?
There has been a concerted effort, industry-wide, to use smarter products. Whether it’s labor savings, maintenance savings, benefit to the environment—there will always be cheap alternatives, but we recognize quality and life-cycle value as the most important factors in a purchasing decision. Uzin has identified this perfectly with their slogan: “Productivity is our Product”.
What’s your outlook for the remainder of the year and 2021?
We feel good about the future. These are uncertain times, but we have great partners in manufacturing and great customers. As long as we continue to carry quality products, maintain healthy inventory levels and make good credit decisions, we will continue to provide stability to our customers in uncertain times.
A final word of advice?
Don’t cut corners, always lean towards quality. This will insulate us through the challenges we face.