Archive | July, 2016

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Building a Sum Even Greater Than Its Parts: Why It’s Essential to Create a Cohesive Sales Team

Posted on 28 July 2016 by cradmin

By Becky Wenner

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.” Henry Ford, one of the great industrialists of the 20th century, said that about the importance of teamwork and of how it applies to businesses of all sizes.

Today’s economy is more diverse and more fiercely competitive than ever before, yet Ford’s insights still ring true today. Whether you are leading a small sales team, managing a large sales department or are part of a group of sales professionals, your personal success is going to hinge on building an ambitious, motivated team that can work together towards a common objective.

Even where sales targets are met individually, they are meant to be assigned to all members of a team. A team that meets and exceeds its combined targets is far more valuable than one where only a few succeed and the rest fail.

Work together for sales and against the corrosive effects of disunity. Infighting or squabbles with other departments isn’t just bad for morale, it also leads to lost business. Here at Engage Selling, we once worked with a company that had lost a quarter of a million dollar account because the sales and the engineering teams didn’t trust each other enough to communicate properly.

That’s a tough loss for any company. Worse still, it’s entirely preventable.

Ensure your group keeps meeting and exceeding their sales targets. Implement the following five tips on creating a cohesive sales team.

Choose people whose team skills even the balance.  When hiring sales professionals, be sure to look for people who demonstrate more than just a healthy competitive streak. They need to show they have team-oriented skills, too. These are not contradictory qualities. All proven sales people have the motivation and the tools to succeed on their own, but the truly exceptional ones are able to help others on their team succeed as well.

Open the communication channels in-house. Ensure you are communicating cross-departmentally on a regular basis. Bring in your engineering teams, your implementation teams and your customer service teams so you can have meetings that inform each group about what the others are doing in the common pursuit of serving the customer.

Eliminate ambiguity. Within your sales team, ensure everyone is clear about the sales structure and about how they are being paid. Sales teams can quickly become dysfunctional when staff is expected to perform well while dealing with unanswered questions (e.g., “Is that my lead or yours?” and “Do I get paid for this service I’m providing?”). Fill in the gray areas. Create well-defined sales agreements and compensation agreements.

Don’t compete against your own team. If you are a sales leader, make sure you are not selling directly to the customer. Some of the most dysfunctional sales teams I have coached got that way because the sales leader was competing directly against his own sales team. Your job is not to sell directly. It’s to help each sales person close more business.

Celebrate success. Dysfunctional sales teams stay that way because all they hear is bad news or negative feedback. Granted, a sales person’s commission is a fine motivator on an individual level, but what I am talking about here is what you can do to show that money isn’t the only reward for hard work. Good sales professionals leave organizations when they feel they’re not being recognized. So celebrate big wins. Ensure that every team member feels like they are contributing. Ask for their opinions. Celebrate when a new hire wins a new customer. If customer service or engineering has also helped in that win, make sure you include them in the congratulations as well.

A happy, motivated sales team that knows how it is going to be paid and communicates throughout the organization is the team that’s going to help you meet and exceed your sales goals…year after year.

Copyright ©2012, Becky Wenner. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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ISFA Hires New Membership Director

Posted on 27 July 2016 by cradmin

Bryan Stannard, new ISFA Membership DirectorThe International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) hired industry veteran Bryan Stannard  as its new Membership Director. In this new position, Stannard will take charge of all membership-related activities, including member recruitment and retention, program and meeting development and handling member educational and networking opportunities.

Stannard has been in the surfacing industry since the mid-90s. He previously was surfacing manager for ITW Polymers Sealants North America, commercial manager for DuPont, and strategic account manager for IPS. He has also served three years as an Associate Board Member with ISFA and has been a member of ISFA since its beginning. He has a bachelor’s of business administration degree from The University of Texas San Antonio.

“Bryan has a strong understanding of the surfacing industry and is very familiar with the workings of ISFA,” said ISFA President Adam Albee. “The unique perspective he brings having served on the board of directors and being a long-term member should make him an effective trailblazer for our organization. We are very confident in his ability to provide excellent service to our members and improve the benefits we offer the industry.”

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Embedded LED Light Pattern in Vanity / Countertop

Posted on 26 July 2016 by cradmin

This video put forward by Digital Ambiance shows a unique embedded LED light project, that is atypical of the standard backlighting for several reasons.

First the project was done using wood as the counter material, which isn’t often the subject of a backlighting project.However, the video did state that this type of thing could be done pretty much with any material.

Also, the backlighting wasn’t done in a uniform manner across the surface, as might be seen with onyx or other translucent materials, but rather shapes were routed into the top that were subsequently filled with a translucent opaque resin. Under the various shapes color-changing LED lights were placed.

Overall, while it is doubtful that many would choose this particular style for their home, the effect is just plain cool.

You may also be interested in this article on Lumisplash backlit laminates.

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MIA+BSI Announces 2016 Study Tour in Vermont

Posted on 25 July 2016 by cradmin

MIA+BSI, the Natural Stone Institute, will host a fall study tour in Vermont in conjunction with the newly-formed New England chapter. The study tour is scheduled for September 18-20, 2016.

The Vermont study tour will include quarry tours at Rock of Ages, Vermont Quarries, Camara Slate and Vermont Verde Antique. Stops at member companies Trow & Holden Company and Buttura & Gherardi Granite Artisans, and trips to the Vermont Granite Museum and the historic Hope Cemetery are also planned. Attendees will also have time to explore the city of Montpelier and enjoy Vermont’s famous fall foliage.

Vermont has long been known for its rich stone heritage. The abundant manufacturing plants, artist studios, cemeteries, tool shops, museums and quarries, both active and historic, offer much to the stone enthusiast. MIA+BSI members, especially those involved in the New England chapter, will enjoy the benefits and convenience of networking with fellow members while immersed in various facets of the stone industry.

Early bird rates are available until Friday, August 5th. Registration will close on Friday, August 26. Registration is all-inclusive and will include 3 nights lodging, most meals, event transportation and tour admissions. Non-lodging rates are also available. To register for this event, please visit

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Tile of Spain Expands Quick Ship Collection

Posted on 22 July 2016 by cradmin

tile of spain Azulejos-Mijares-Arinsal

Azulejos Mijares Arinsal

Tile of Spain, the international brand representing 125 ceramic tile manufacturers belonging to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER), announced new additions to the Tile of Spain Quick Ship Collection. The updated catalog of Spanish tile now includes 50 ceramic tile companies and 195 products.

Established in 2013, The Quick Ship Collection is a select group of tile products from Spanish manufacturers that are in stock and available for immediate purchase in the U.S. To qualify for the program products must be available for delivery within 4 to 8 weeks. The collection is updated annually to ensure the most up to date information is available to purchasers.

Available online at, the Quick Ship Collection interactive catalog makes it easy to search for Spanish tile. Users can search by product category – dimensional, exterior, floor, innovations, metallic, mosaics, nature inspired, wood look and wall tile – or by company name. Each entry includes the tile series name, color image, detailed description of each pattern, available sizes and uses and contact information to purchase the product in the U.S.

“We’re pleased to see how the Quick Ship Collection has grown over the years,” states Rocamador Rubio, Tile of Spain Director. “The collection continues to be a great tool to connect U.S. based designers, architects and tile installers with a variety of Spanish tile companies.”

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Houzer Adds To Platus Fireclay Sink Series

Posted on 21 July 2016 by cradmin

Houzer Platus Fireclay SinkHouzer Inc added a reversible, dual-sided apron front model to Platus fireclay sink series. This new model offers a modern plain front design or an alternative classic fluted design. The quality sinks are manufactured in dedicated Fireclay ovens fired at 2,200 degrees F, creating a, glossy finish that is resistant to chips, cracks, scratches and heat damage. The nonporous surface is also hygienic and fends off stains. Platus sinks are available in 30- and 33-in. by 9-1/4-in.-deep single bowls and are available in white and biscuit.

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MIA+BSI Women in Stone Introduces Award and Scholarship

Posted on 20 July 2016 by cradmin

MIA+BSI Women In StoneWomen in Stone introduced two new opportunities to promote the program’s efforts to support women in the stone industry, the Women in Stone Pioneer Award and the Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship.

The Women in Stone Pioneer Award will recognize an advocate within the stone industry for their role in recruiting, retaining and advancing women. The winner’s performance in promoting women should be exemplary, honorable and inspirational. “The Pioneer Award recognizes an individual who has ventured into the unknown to educate and empower women in our industry,” commented Women in Stone co-chair Allyson Humphries of M S International. Co-chair Kim Dumais of Miller Druck Specialty Contracting agrees, stating, “There are many individuals within our industry who go above and beyond to educate and elevate women. This award has been established to acknowledge those individuals and recognize them publicly for their efforts.”

The Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship will provide an MIA+BSI member with an all-expense paid trip to a 2017 industry event (TISE, Coverings, or an MIA+BSI study tour). The winner will also be able to shadow industry professionals during the event, in order to gain a better understanding of different sectors of the industry. Applicants should be a first-time attendee of the chosen event, and should have between 2-5 years of stone industry experience. Dumais remarked, “The Empowerment Scholarship is designed to provide an opportunity that otherwise may not be accessible to women in the industry. The scholarship offers a unique opportunity to be personally guided, mentored, and exposed to all aspects of our industry.” According to Humphries, “The scholarship is the perfect vehicle for the woman who needs a kick-start to her career and wants to learn more about our industry.”

Nominations for the Pioneer Award and applications for the Empowerment Scholarship must be received by Friday, September 9, 2016. Forms are available at

You may also be interested in the next MIA Stone Summit and other events listed on our calendar.

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Stonetalk Episode 24: Brian Johnson

Posted on 19 July 2016 by cradmin

Episode 24 of Moraware’s Stonetalk podcast with host Patrick Foley features special guest Brian Johnson, CEO of Johnson Granite. The two discuss several topics during the interview, including all of the following:

  • When to introduce new types of surfaces
  • Using retail/wholesale experience to develop a commercial business
  • The importance of working with designers
  • How Facebook can be used to acquire countertop photos

To read a full transcript of this podcast, visit the Moraware website here:
Episode 24 – Brian Johnson

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Top 10 OSHA Violations in 2015

Posted on 18 July 2016 by cradmin

Safety-SignsWorking in a countertop fabrication shop can be dangerous if safety precautions are not followed. Many of the most hazardous situations are very specific to the industry, but employees may also become injured or killed by general hazards that are common in all types businesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) makes its data available to the public, and the latest release is for 2015.

In 2015, federal compliance officers conducted 35,820 inspections and state officers conducted 43,471 inspections, and following are the top 10 most frequently cited violations for the year:

  1. Fall protectionFalls are, by far, the most common type of accidents in the construction industry, accounting for nearly 40 percent of worker injuries in the construction industry. In most cases, citations can be avoided by simply keeping floors clean, dry and unobstructed, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for falls and training employees about known dangers.
  2. Hazard communication standard – The hazard communication standard (HCS) requires businesses to label and provide safety data sheets for all hazardous chemicals used while on the job. All employees who are exposed to these chemicals must also be appropriately trained to handle them.
  3. General scaffolding requirements – Approximately 50 people each year are killed in scaffolding accidents while on the job. Injuries often occur when the planks or supports are not used properly. It is also common for workers to slip and fall or be struck by fallen objects while on scaffolding.
  4. Respiratory protection – About 5 million workers in the U.S. are required to wear respirators while working in environments with insufficient oxygen or harmful substances are in the air. For most countertop fabricators, the respirators are primarily used to reduce exposure to silica dust.
  5. Control of hazardous energy – Hazardous energy can from a variety of sources, including electrical, mechanical, thermal, chemical and hydraulic and pneumatic. Injuries can easily occur when employees are cleaning or maintaining heavy machinery. Examples include burns while repairing steam valves, getting crushed by a faulty conveyer-belt system and getting shocked while working on electrical equipment. The most effective way to prevent or reduce these types of injuries is to implement an approved lockout/tagout (LOTO) practice.
  6. Powered industrial trucks – Powered industrial trucks, more commonly known as forklifts, present several dangers, such as overloading, collisions with objects or people and falling off loading docks or trucks. Specialized training is recommended for all workers operating forklifts.
  7. Ladders – While ladders are common household tools, but they can be extremely deadly when care is not taken and proper procedures are not followed.
  8. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment – Because electricity is so deadly, federal and state safety precautions are very strict, very specific and designed to prevent several types of injuries, including shock, fire and explosions.
  9. Machinery and machine guarding – Heavy machines with moving parts are responsible for a great many workplace injuries and deaths. While many of these machines cannot be tamed, they can be sufficiently guarded to lower risk.
  10. Electrical systems design – In addition to components, wiring methods and equipment, you entire electrical system design could be a hazard.

Fabrication shops of all types are inherently dangerous, but injuries can be prevented by following all health and safety regulations. Even though compliance usually carries a high upfront cost, the cost of paying your workers’ compensation premiums is even more costly. For further information on common workplace injuries, contact the nearest OSHA office, a trade organization such as the Natural Stone Institute or a private compliance consultation firm.

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Clé Introduces Artist Cement Collection of Tiles

Posted on 15 July 2016 by cradmin

Clé sarah & ruby

Design by Sarah & Ruby featuring softened geometric shapes

Clé, the international artisan tile e-boutique, introduced its exclusive Artist Cement Collection of hand- made encaustic cement tiles. The tiles were designed by eleven artist studios located in Europe, South America and the United States. The series includes architects, artists, designers, and sculptors that include: ALT for Living, Boris Aldridge, Coletivo Muda, Deborah Osburn, Erica Tanov, Gachot Studios, John Whitmarsh, Michelle Weinberg, Ruan Hoffmann, Sarah & Ruby, and Smink Things. Each tile reflects personal visual inspirations from vintage textiles to the abstraction of nature. The tiles are 8in. by 8in. square and hexagons. The tiles are pre-polished and pre-sealed and can be installed indoors or out, on walls and floors.

“Our current encaustic cement tile collection is anchored with 19th century patterns, and so it’s exciting for us to introduce new work that has been envisioned by such provocative minds outside a revered segment of our traditional tile world. These artists are creating alluring interpretations of a classic tile, merging historic techniques with their own distinctive sentiments to create modern design,” said Deborah Osburn, founder and creative director of clé. It is Osburn’s goal to provide a forum for discovery and conversation about tiles created by impassioned artists creating remarkable surfaces.

You may also be interested in this video about tile backsplash ideas for showrooms.

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