Earlier this week 22 hardwood leaders visited Washington D.C. to meet with a number U.S. Senators and staff to share the impacts the current U.S. – China trade war is having on their businesses, employees, and communities (see full list below). The group also met with senior staff from U.S.D.A. and the Vice President’s office.
The Hardwood Federation is in the process of following up with offices and will be working to generate bi-partisan outreach to the President and U.S.D.A advocating for financial support for the industry as this dispute continues.
The Hardwood Federation is requesting that members of the wood flooring industry continue to reach out to Congress and share their stories. The Contact Congress tool is a quick and easy way to communicate with elected officials: http://hardwoodfederation.wildapricot.org/Action-Center
Reward Flooring announced the launch of Provence II, a new collection of neutral hued engineered hardwood floors. The collection offers 7.5″ wide planks in walnut, European oak, and hickory.
“Provence II may well become the flagship engineered hardwood collection in Reward Flooring,” says Danny Harrington, Galleher’s V.P. of Marketing & Product Development. “At this price point, the breadth of beautiful color offerings is unparalleled.”
Wider and longer than its predecessor, Provence offers 11 colors, incorporating the most popular colors from both the original Provence Collection and the Castle Collection, plus some new additions. The company stated that, “Provence II is the first of many new Reward Hardwood introductions coming this summer that are not made in China and therefore immune from the price volatility that is affecting so many in our industry.”
To view the complete range or locate a dealer carrying Reward Flooring’s Provence II collection, visit www.rewardflooring.com.
The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) announced the release of the Q1 2019 NAFCD Sales Trends Report. The report provides a current analysis of sales-related activities for the flooring distribution channel including sales trends for the past quarter and forecasts for the coming quarter for regions of the country as well as Canada.
The survey was compiled, tabulated and analyzed by NAFCD’s partner – the Cleveland Research Company, an independent research firm that specializes in ground-level intelligence across a variety of distribution channels as well as the homebuilding and homecenter markets.
The Q1 2019 Sales Trends report is a benchmarking tool and guide of best practices to help distribution firms learn from their peers and gain insights on new approaches to common channel challenges. In additional to sales trends the Q1 report also highlights solutions to other distributor challenges including:
How to limit transportation cost increases
How to attract truck drivers
Distributors’ largest challenges in the quarter
Distributors’ biggest surprises in the quarter
“The Q1 2019 NAFCD Sales Trends Report is an effective tool for benchmarking sales across the floor covering distribution channel,” says Kevin Gammonley, NAFCD Executive Director. “This detailed analysis allows our members to see what their peers are experiencing and planning for in the face of the industry’s challenges and opportunities. It also provides valuable insights to regional distributors relative to what is occurring in other parts of the U.S. and Canada.”
Darmaga Hardwood Flooring is a longest-standing family-owned hardwood contractor in Canada who has excelled in the industry because of superior products, excellent customer service, and the best reputation therefrom. We are looking for team members who demonstrate loyalty, integrity, innovation, hard work and resourcefulness. We offer our employees a base benefits package, incentive program and respectful family oriented working environment with strong company values.
2+ years in a hardwood industry role
Knowledge and understanding of solution selling concepts
Exceptional telephone etiquette
Strong verbal and written skills
Self-motivated and driven to succeed
Ability to adapt and excel in fast paced, changing market conditions
Your main responsibilities are:
Exhibit outstanding communication skills to qualify customers needs and assist them in purchasing the right solutions for their home;
Draw on your selling skills to develop customer relationships as well as follow-up;
Meet or exceed established goals, which include profitable sales volume, extended service plans and quality service goals;
Demonstrate customer guidance at all times, staying with the customer from the beginning until they receive their merchandise ensuring that their overall experience is positive;
Take pride in the appearance of our stores and together with the store teams ensure that the stores are always neat, clean and well maintained;
Be flexible to help in other areas when needed;
Able to work Saturdays as part of a 5 day work week at either of our locations.
Indusparquet USA announced the appointment of Fuzion USA as its distribution partner covering Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and western Tennessee.
“Indusparquet is thrilled to have Fuzion USA join our distribution family. Our company owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to our former leader, Jason Strong, for all he did for us within the U.S. marketplace. Clearly, we’re thrilled he’s now bringing that expertise to lead his Fuzion team in representing the Indusparquet brand,” says Jodie Doyle, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Indusparquet USA.
“Knowing and working directly with the Baggio and Uliana families, as well as the 400-plus employees of Indusparquet for the past 20 years, has been an absolute pleasure,” says Fuzion’s Jason Strong. “I’ve learned many life lessons that transcend normal business relationships – this is the Brazilian Way. Indusparquet is a complementary fit with Fuzion’s upscale branding story. We are really looking forward to an exciting new adventure with old friends!”
Sika completed the acquisition of Parex on May 23, 2019, the deal was announced on January 8, 2019.
Parex’s product offering includes facade mortars, tile adhesives, and waterproofing mortars. The company has a strong presence in distribution channels, especially in China, where Parex has built up a network of over 90,000 points of sale. The company is locally present in 23 countries, with key positions in 8 core markets, and operates 74 plants around the world.
The acquisition of Parex will strengthen Sika’s growth platform. Its mortar business, which is a key growth technology for the group and one of its important earning contributors, will more than double in size to CHF 2.3 billion. Parex will gain access to Sika’s well established direct sales channels, and Parex’s expertise in the facade and tile setting business will allow Sika to participate in these growing market fields.
“With the acquisition we are bringing two strong companies together. Parex’s and Sika’s joint business activities present an excellent growth platform for both organizations. In addition to the highly complementary fit with regard to product offerings and channels, we also see that Parex and Sika have very similar cultures, values and management styles – with the focus on customer orientation, empowerment, high-quality products and services. The integration planning is well on track, and on-site visits have confirmed the attractiveness of the combination of the two businesses. We are excited to start working together to build our joint successful future. We warmly welcome all employees of Parex to the Sika Family,” says Paul Schuler, CEO of Sika.
“I am very proud of our entire Parex team and what we have achieved. Sika represents a great platform to continue to deliver on our ambitious growth plan. The combination of the two companies creates new, exciting opportunities in terms of offering new solutions to our customers and continuing our geographic expansion. I am delighted we have found the perfect home for Parex within Sika, a strong company with similar values to our own,” adds Eric Bergé, CEO of Parex.
Horizon Forest Products announced the promotion of Josh Ammons to Operations Manager at the Raleigh flooring branch. In this new role, Ammons will oversee all of the internal and external operations of the warehouse.
“These have been some exciting times for the Raleigh flooring branch,” said Chris Williams, Raleigh Branch Manager of Horizon Forest Products. “Josh is a dependable, hardworking member of the team here. Every time we needed someone to step up to the plate, Josh has always been willing to jump in no matter what else he had going on. His organizational skills and hard work ethic are really going to help him succeed in this role.”
Prior to his promotion, Ammons worked as a delivery driver and warehouse team member for Horizon Forest Products for two years. Ammons has had practice in all aspects of warehouse operations management, including receiving orders, delivering product to customers, stocking inventory, and managing transfers from other branches companywide.
“I am thrilled about my promotion to Operations Manager and the responsibility that comes with that title,” said Ammons. “I am always up for a new challenge and this new position will take the skills and knowledge I have acquired over the last few years and really put them to the work! I am so thankful for this opportunity and look forward to making my mark here at Horizon Forest Products.”
Jason, what’s the procedure—who starts it and what role does the manufacturer of the wood product play?
Jason: It starts with a project team deciding to pursue the credit and deciding on which wood products they are going to specify. Next, contractors, sub-contractors and potential vendors will need to be informed of the credit requirements for declarations and maps. The vendors will then need to decide if they wish to participate and then everyone works through the supply chain to see if the requirements can be satisfied.
If a vendor obtains, or can commit to obtaining, the required information, then it will presumably increase their chances of winning the job, and if the potential sale is large there should be adequate incentive for everybody up the value chain to do the legwork. Obviously, this will be easier for products whose supply chains are short and simple than for products that have lots of different components with longer, and/or disparate, supply chains. However, Lacey and EUTR have already driven many companies to understand their supply chains and to inquire into origins, so this credit builds off of what is already happening out there – and it will tend to favor those who are doing the best job at due care already.
How is the information on sourcing kept proprietary or at least protected from competitors?
Jason: Part of what makes the credit innovative is that it incentivizes and rewards transparency about species and origin, which in turn creates accountability. In this case, transparency means that for the qualifying wood products, species and country of harvest information, along with the maps of harvest location, will be posted to a public website. In order for a product to qualify, the tests have to come back positive (or non-negative where positive results can’t be obtained due to insufficient reference data). So yes, success will be public, including maps of the harvest origin of the material.
However, and to be very clear, negative test results will NOT be posted to the public website – although a product that fails a test obviously can’t count toward earning a point! This said, both negative and positive test results will be communicated to the project team who have to know whether or not products qualify.
Finally, it’s important to note that the credit doesn’t require disclosure of any information about the supply chain between the forest and the project, whether it be primary or secondary manufacturers or traders or what have you – so the full supply chain will remain every bit as proprietary and confidential as it would be normally.
You noted that negative test results will not be publicly disclosed. Does that include to the manufacturer?
Jason: As I said, all test results, whether positive or negative, will be communicated to the project team. They need to know the results in order to determine whether or not they have exceeded the 50% threshold and earned a point. It will be up to them to decide whether or not to share results with suppliers, although it seems likely that they would.
Also, as we have discussed, there are many types of tests—a genetic test, a stable isotope test, etc. How will the type of test be determined? Some of these are very difficult to perform on a finished final product. And for a lot of products, like engineered flooring, you might have two or three sources intermixed. How will mixed content material be handled?
Jason: The entity that receives declarations, samples and maps will decide which tests to conduct. This will be done on a case by case basis, and decisions will be based on factors like level of risk, whether or not there is reference data, and so on. As noted earlier, initially this entity will be EIA, but the goal is to transition to a different organization as soon as possible.
As for mixed content material, it depends on the components. Fiber-based composites like MDF and particleboard are exempted from all credit requirements because it’s so hard to determine species and origin. All other components will need to be tested. For example, if you have engineered flooring with an oak wear layer on a birch plywood platform, both components would need to be mapped and tested – but if it’s oak on an HDF platform, it’s only the oak.
How long is the process likely to take?
Jason: The process of obtaining maps could take a while depending on the complexity of the supply chain, but it can and should happen well before wood arrives at the jobsite so, if it’s possible at all, there should be enough time to pull them together. My information is that generally test results can be turned around in 6 weeks or less.
Is it possible that results/a decision will come after the project’s already built or is this something which can be pre-vetted?
Jason: It’s a possibility, but only 50% of the products need to qualify, so project teams are advised to seek maps and test samples for a higher percentage in case some don’t work out. A solid process for pre-vetting is certainly desirable, but we need to find a way to ensure that any products that get pre-vetted are what gets delivered in the end.
Fortunately, issues at this level of detail are handled in the guidance document that accompanies the credit, and while the latter is hard to change, the former can be modified as we gain experience and receive feedback. As I said earlier, if anyone out there has concrete suggestions for improvement, they are always welcome. Contact information is on my website: http://www.jasongrantconsulting.com/
Sorry I want to clarify this. 50% of the wood used in a project needs to go through the process and be qualified? So if a developer researches say 70% of their material and 20% comes back negative and 50% passes, it’s ok? And how do they select what 50% they are checking—who decides what is checked? Could they, for example, check only the softwood used for framing and not the tropical decking? I think suppliers really want to understand more about the selection process and testing process to be prepared.
Jason: Taking these questions in order: yes, at least 50% of the wood by dollar value needs to be mapped, tested and pass in order to earn the point – so yes, if they try for 70% and 20% comes back negative, they’re good. It’s entirely up to the project team to decide what products they want to map and test – except for wood from high-risk countries, which must be tested and also must meet additional requirements: they must be FSC or PEFC-certified, verified legal or carry a FLEGT license.
One more question on the details. Under Lacey, importers are required to list all possible species if they can’t limit it to a single one and in reality, if you’re not dealing with plantation wood, most commercial names will have multiple species intermixed—US Red Oak for example might consist easily of a dozen actual species sold under that commercial designation. Or in Lacey, you can group things as “SPF” on a declaration. And you can also identify multiple countries of origin—a company might be purchasing from both Oak Germany and France or Hard Maple from both the US and Canada. The answer may be too detailed for the blog, but is there a procedure in place to handle this very common mixing of supply and species?
Jason: In cases where commercial names combine multiple species, just as with Lacey, you declare all of the possible ones – and if you have covered your bases, then a test to ID species will never come back negative. You could identify multiple potential countries of origin in a declaration also, but if this is the best you can do, then that product will not be able to contribute toward earning the point – because If you need to provide a map showing the forest of origin, then obviously you are going to have to be specific about the country.
Thanks for all of this, it’s a lot to think about. So, bottom line: what should a manufacturer interested in offering this option to their customers do in advance?
Jason: Know where your wood comes from.
Well, that’s certainly always true! Thank you for your time and help in introducing this program to the industry. Please come back and tell us how it works out!
Elizabeth Baldwin is Environmental Compliance Officer for Metropolitan Hardwood Floors. In her 25 plus year career in the wood industry has visited over 70 countries and hundreds of facilities of all sizes and types. She describes herself as a “jack of all wood trades.” Familiar with jungles of all sorts–having camped out along the Amazon and walked the halls of Congress–she blogs for the NWFA on both environmental and regulatory issues for educational and informational purposes only. Her blog is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice. Persons seeking legal advice on compliance with CARB, TSCA, the U.S. Lacey Act or any other law, regulation, or compliance requirement/claim should consult with the regulatory agency directly and/or a qualified legal professional.
Solū Custom Hardwood announced that the company will continue its expansion into the U.S.
The company was established in 2012, and since its inception, has been steadily expanding in Canada. In 2018, the company decided to begin offering products to the U.S.
Solū’s U.S. distribution will take place through a select group of manufacturer agents. Representing Solū in the New York City/Tri-State market is GCC International. Arrangements with agents in New England, Chicago, and the west are being finalized.