Archive | May, 2020

Video: How to Build Company Culture In Your Fab Shop During COVID-19

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Video: How to Build Company Culture In Your Fab Shop During COVID-19

Posted on 28 May 2020 by cradmin3

In this video from Moraware, industry veteran Geoffrey Gran, the owner of The Countertop Factory Midwest, shares how he’s been able to build and maintain great company culture during the coronavirus pandemic. 

You may also be interested in this article: OSHA Adopts Revised Enforcement Policies For Coronavirus

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OSHA_COVID.5ea08746cead2

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OSHA Adopts Revised Enforcement Policies For Coronavirus

Posted on 27 May 2020 by cradmin3

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted revised policies for enforcing OSHA’s requirements with respect to coronavirus as economies reopen in states throughout the country.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, understanding about the transmission and prevention of infection has improved. The government and the private sector have taken rapid and evolving measures to slow the virus’s spread, protect employees and adapt to new ways of doing business.

Now, as states begin reopening their economies, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees.

First, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces. The new enforcement guidance reflects changing circumstances in which many non-critical businesses have begun to reopen in areas of lower community spread. The risk of transmission is lower in specific categories of workplaces, and personal protective equipment potentially needed for inspections is more widely available. OSHA staff will continue to prioritize COVID-19 inspections, and will utilize all enforcement tools as OSHA has historically done.

Second, OSHA is revising its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, coronavirus is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of the coronavirus, if the case:

Under the new policy issued today, OSHA will enforce the recordkeeping requirements of 29 CFR 1904 for employee coronavirus illnesses for all employers. Given the nature of the disease and community spread, however, in many instances it remains difficult to determine whether a coronavirus illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace. OSHA’s guidance emphasizes that employers must make reasonable efforts, based on the evidence available to the employer, to ascertain whether a particular case of coronavirus is work-related.

Recording a coronavirus illness does not mean that the employer has violated any OSHA standard. Following existing regulations, employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries have no recording obligations; they need only report work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage.

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Artisan Group Intubation Box

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Artisan Group Members Manufacture Intubation Boxes to Help Fight COVID-19

Posted on 26 May 2020 by cradmin3

Artisan Group, a network of countertop fabrication professionals, announced its members are now manufacturing intubation box shields to protect ER medical professionals from COVID-19 when they intubate a patient. Members are providing these shields to hospitals at no cost. Thus far, 12 intubation box shields have been provided to hospitals and emergency rooms, and emergency doctors expect use of these boxes to become a standard practice going forward for any intubation.

Orders will be coordinated and provided by the Artisan Group member that is closest to the facility needing the shields. The intubation shields can be shipped flat in a box and are easily assembled onsite. For more information or to place an order, visit https://artisan-counters.com/artisan-group-intubation-shield-production/.

There is a GoFundMe page set up at https://www.gofundme.com/f/intubox if you would like to donate. So far $9,500 has been raised to offset production costs.

Artisan Group President, Jon Lancto commented, “We’re so proud of our members’ willingness to jump in and help with this cause. They are putting their manufacturing skills to work and we are grateful to be part of such a wonderful group of professionals.”

You may also be interested in this article: OSHA Issues Enforcement Guidance For Recording Cases of COVID-19

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Business Sense: COVID-19 Crisis Conversations

Posted on 25 May 2020 by cradmin3

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

We Talked to 3 Countertop Shops During the COVID-19 Crisis

It’s a trying time right now for businesses deemed non-essential in certain areas. Some countertop shops seem to be doing just fine, while some shops across the globe are closing their doors until further notice.

We know the fear of the unknown can cause a lot of frustration and stress, so we hope to open the door to communication a bit by sharing what other shops have been going through since the pandemic swept the world.

A huge thank you to the three shops that participated in this article – please leave a comment down below and let us know how your shop is handling the COVID-19 crisis.

1. Paul Hughes at Bath Granite and Marble in the UK

Paul Hughes at Bath Granite and Marble in the UK explains that every business apart from essential services (food, medicine, delivery, medical services, etc.) are closed. 

“There are a few construction workers still operating, but essentially, the construction industry is at a standstill,” he says. While everyone is trying to stay positive, it’s the fear of the unknown that’s causing stress and fear.

Unfortunately, Paul’s factory is closed, and the factory staff is currently at home. His office staff is working from home where possible until further notice. 

“We’re focusing on putting our heads together to try and see a way forward,” he says. For example, they’re still marketing and promoting their company at this time.

“Basically, we are taking stock of the situation and planning carefully, meticulously looking at all aspects of the business in great detail,” he explains.

2. Geoffrey Gran at The Countertop Factory Midwest

Geoffrey Gran, Owner of The Countertop Factory Midwest, is located in Chicago, the 3rd largest city in the country. Illinois has been very aggressive with stay-at-home orders and has only allowed businesses deemed essential to remain open.

Thankfully, The Countertop Factory Midwest was fortunate to be considered essential and has remained open, but they could only work on projects where countertops – and plumbing – were not currently installed.

While Geoffrey has had to lay off employees, his customer mix of builders, box stores, commercial, dealers, and retail has helped ease the blow

“Certain segments like box stores and retail had huge sales drops while builders and commercial projects remained strong,” he explains.

COVID-19 has forced his operation to lay off staff, reduce hours, and focus on controlling expenses. Geoffrey and his staff have learned to live in a new normal where office and sales staff work from home and the production and field staff take extra precautions like wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times.

“We are conducting virtual sales appointments with customers to review their project, choose material/colors, and sign contracts,” Geoffrey says.

As the pandemic progresses, Geoffrey says he’s been able to hire back 25% of the staff that was originally laid off, and he’s expecting to continue bringing back more employees as the business ramps up.

This month, Illinois is allowing all construction projects to resume, and Geoffrey is hopeful this brings things back to normal.

3. Matt Nicks at StoneTrends

Matt Nicks at StoneTrends explains that in St. Louis, his business has been deemed essential as it supports construction in the state of Missouri.

Up to this point, Matt says he’s been very busy and his business has been doing fine. However, there may be stormy waters ahead.

“Our current workload, in most cases, was activated months prior to the outbreak,” he explains. 

Since Missouri has been enforcing a stay-at-home order since mid-March, Matt expects the limited capacity to have a severe impact on their production over the next few months.

“I guess we keep at it and hope things get back to some sort of normal soon,” he explains.

How Moraware Can Help During a Crisis

Paul explains that Moraware has really helped streamline his business over the last year. “We now have data immediately at our fingertips. Right now, we all can work remotely and still have access to Moraware,” he says.

Moraware’s software is currently helping Paul and his team report, manage, and plan for the future.  

For Geoffrey, The Countertop Factory Midwest has been able to adapt thanks to technology. “When Illinois went to shelter-at-home, we were literally able to have everyone work from home the next day since we are a fully digital company,” says Geoffrey.

All jobs are tracked within Moraware, so nothing needs to be printed, and staff can stay connected. 

“Moraware has allowed our entire company, spread out over hundreds of miles, to seamlessly communicate with each other, our customers and our vendors,” Geoffrey says.

Finally, Matt says he’s been using Moraware for about a year and a half, and he would never have been able to function in this climate without it.

Additional COVID-19 Resources

In order to help support your countertop shop, we’ve compiled essential COVID-19 resources for you. You can find more information on the following on our blog:

  • CARES Act Payroll Loan Program for Countertop Shops
  • CARES Act Tax Credit
  • CARES Act Emergency Grant
  • Cash Flow Relief
  • Paid Sick Leave Policy At Your Shop
  • Keeping Your Fabrication Staff Safe
  • Start Working From Home
  • Keep Your Fab Business Afloat
  • Take Care of Lingering Business Tasks

Thank you for reading, and stay safe!

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Tenax Quarz Extraclean Pro

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Tenax Introduces Quartz Extraclean Pro

Posted on 22 May 2020 by cradmin3

Quartz Extraclean Pro from Tenax is a new solvent-based cleaner for hard surfaces. Extraclean Pro penetrates the pores of the material to remove grease that can make its way into the quartz.

Slab handling equipment makes moving quartz and engineered stone slabs easier. However, these machines can leave their mark on the slab and these rings can be difficult to remove without a product designed specifically for the purpose of eliminating machining discolorations. Extraclean Pro suction cup and vacuum ring remover is made to get into the pores of the slab and remove unwanted greasy circles that are left by the machines.

To use, just pour the product directly on a clean cloth and rub the remover onto the slab in the location of the ring. For stronger marks it may be necessary to apply Extraclean Pro vacuum ring remover directly to the slab. If applying directly to the slab, distribute the Extraclean Pro evenly with a clean cloth and leave it for 1-2 minutes. Then, rub with the same cloth in a circular motion until the marks are removed.

Tenax Quartz Extraclean Pro can also be used to clean scuff marks, permanent marker and difficult stains. It is available in 250 ml and 1 quart sizes.

You may also be interested in this article: Antolini Introduces Azerobact

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Braxton-Bragg-Al-Alvarez

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Braxton-Bragg Adds New Team Members

Posted on 21 May 2020 by cradmin3

Shawn Rice

Braxton-Bragg has hired Shawn Rice to manage its outside sales efforts. Rice has more than 25 years of experience in strategy and sales with strong market and product development skills. Rice will manage the rapidly-growing outside sales team, adding sales associates and vans in new regions, while working hand-in-hand with the company’s inside sales and audit teams.

Al Alvarez

The company has answered the customer call for more presence in Texas by expanding its van fleet and hiring experienced sales consultant Al Alvarez to service the San Antonio, Austin and Dallas markets. Alvarez, a United States Army veteran, has nearly 20 years of successful sales experience, including eight years at Makita, making him familiar with Braxton-Bragg’s customer base. 

Braxton-Bragg has heavily invested in CNC tooling and equipment, as well as top industry executives, to innovate the way it goes to market. At a time when many companies are reducing staff, Braxton-Bragg has expanded with four new outside sales consultants and six new sales associates. Additionally, managers with extensive stone industry and CNC expertise have joined the company in order to strengthen its footprint and grow that sector of its business.

In addition, the Braxton-Bragg team has brought an operations expert on board to manage the company’s new FREE shop analysis program, helping fabricators streamline operations and inventory for increased profit and efficiency.

You may also be interested in this article: NEOLITH Announces New Vice President of Sales & Operations of North America

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Cosentino Center Virtual Visits

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Cosentino Announces Cosentino Center Virtual Visits

Posted on 20 May 2020 by cradmin3

To showcase its continued support to its customers during these unprecedented times, Cosentino announced the Cosentino Center Virtual Visit Experience, allowing customers to select material for their projects from the safety of their home.

These virtual assistance video calls are now available in all Cosentino US showrooms from Monday to Friday from 9 am-4 pm. Customers can schedule their virtual visit appointment via https://cosentinogroup.secure.force.com/bookappointment. Appointment availability may vary according to different city mandates.

“It is our goal to remain as flexible as possible to offer our customers support and inspiration as we all continue to adapt to this rapidly changing global situation,” says Massimo Ballucchi, Marketing Director of Cosentino North America. “We thank our customers for their support and look forward to welcoming them back in our showrooms upon re-opening.”

You may also be interested in this article: Artisan Group Launches New Website

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Blanco Rivana

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BLANCO Introduces the RIVANA Faucet Collection

Posted on 19 May 2020 by cradmin3

BLANCO introduced the RIVANA faucet collection to its line of options. Featuring modern, geometric styling with functionality home chefs will appreciate, the new BLANCO RIVANA collection includes semi-professional, pull-down and bar faucet options along with a coordinating soap dispenser.

Available in Polished Chrome and Stainless Finish, the RIVANA semi-professional and pull-down faucet models help make clean-up more efficient with their easy to maneuver design and powerful dual spray features. An innovative magnetic handspray holder on the Semi-Professional model enhances ease-of-use. A bar faucet and coordinating soap dispenser round out the collection allowing for a seamless design when incorporating additional sinks into other areas like a wet bar or kitchen island.

BLANCO RIVANA Semi-Professional Faucet measures 19 7/8” x 8 7/8” with 1.5 GPM powerful water saving performance.

BLANCO RIVANA Pull-Down Faucet (pictured) is 16 3/8” x 8 ½” with 1.5 GPM powerful water saving performance.

BLANCO RIVANA Bar Faucet is 15” x 7 1/8” with 1.5 GPM powerful water saving performance.

BLANCO RIVANA SOAP DISPENSER made with solid brass construction; Size: 1-3/8”; Outside Diameter: 1”; Reservoir: Approximately 12 oz.

You may also be interested in this article: Native Trails Introduces Murano Collection

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Farnsworth-e1588869206752-1024x496

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Conditions for Home Contractors Begin to Stabilize

Posted on 18 May 2020 by CRadmin2

According to an article recently released by Qualified Remodeler, a new weekly survey of home-improvement contractors shows that conditions have improved after the initial COVID-19 lockdown crisis. If you would like to keep track of conditions yourself, the Farnsworth Group and Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) provide frequent updates on how coronavirus is affecting the industry. So far, we are in week 6 of these updates.

According to the Weekly COVID-19 Tracker, contractors are still concerned about how the virus is impacting business, but those who responded to the survey are seeing improvements. In addition, the actual degree of concern has leveled out and started to drop. At the same time that concern about customers being able to pay their balances, seems to have fallen, other concerns are now on the rise, specifically concerns over getting new leads and the availability of materials.

Although contractors are still experiencing delays and a rash of cancelled projects, it looks as though we are at or have surpassed the apex of the arc. The week 6 analysis shows that larger firms have been able to deal with the coronavirus impact while smaller companies are falling short, with some grasping at straws and others having to close. So far, it looks like the larger the company, the better it has been handling the situation.

One of the most promising points of the new, weekly study is that project requests and closures are making a comeback. A lot of small projects are being put on hold, but many homeowners who are determined to get large, high-quality projects completed are closing at above-normal rates.

I highly suggest taking a look at the original Weekly COVID-19 Tracker from the Farnsworth Group and HIRI where you can peruse a bevy of charts, graphs and analyses, and you can sign up for instant access to the full, detailed report, which is segmented by company size and location.

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Neolith VP Sales & Operations

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NEOLITH Announces New Vice President of Sales & Operations of North America

Posted on 15 May 2020 by cradmin3

Neolith® announced the appointment of James Amendola as its Vice President of Sales and Operations of North America. This follows the appointment of José Luis Ramón Moreno as CEO in March and Sagi Cohen as Advisory Board Member in November 2019.

Amendola brings extensive knowledge and experience to Neolith, accrued from more than three decades in the stone surfacing industry. Most recently, he held the position of Director of Sales & Marketing US at SapienStone. Previously, he was General Manager at Cosentino.

Speaking on the new appointment, José Luis Ramón Moreno, Neolith CEO, said, “Neolith has ambitious plans for North America. This includes significant investment, such as strengthening our senior leadership team in the region. James will be a key part of our future journey. With his exceptional industry knowledge and a proven track record, he will be an invaluable addition to the team, helping to further drive our pioneering vision forward and expanding our reach in the vibrant architecture and design sector.”

You may also be interested in this article: Artisan Group Launches New Website

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