Furniture Industry Operations Articles
Furniture World Magazine
David McMahon explains why, given current and expected business
conditions, nothing is more important for retailers than understanding, measuring and preserving cash.
Furniture World Magazine
Ideas from the Home Furnishings Association to help retailers stay competitive
and increase productivity.
Published 2004 - 2022
Eight important strategies for maximizing profits during downturns.
In five short years, the Comeaux family has grown AFD from an idea to five store locations serving customers in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Now that you’ve decided where to position your design center and target it to meet the needs of specific customers types, it’s time to decide what to put in it.
The inventory shuffle & October Market.
Adapting to four generations in the retail workplace.
Changing times: terriers and weasels.
How to make design centers a bigger part of any in-store shopping experience and further differentiate your retail operation.
There are seven sources of retail traffic, but only four of them are pillars of traffic that can be managed to get positive sales results over short time frames.
One step closer to full senate consideration.
Crafting the right benefits packages is good for business.
Whatever your business model, automation is needed to accomplish more with less time and allow your precious human talent to focus on what they do best.
Building a retail culture of accountability and performance
Consider the benefits of scheduling bite-sized meetings with employees. The value of these ‘stay’ or re-recruiting talks can be huge.
Nine important considerations for designing retail talent acquisition strategies.
Joining HFAs executive committee are RandiLynn Talsma, Salvador Llanos, Jared Simon and Eric Easter.
Whatever your business model, automation is needed to accomplish more with less time and allow your precious human talent to focus on what they do best.
Remove six major roadblocks to providing great customer service that exist in the vast majority of retail furniture stores.
Help to find your next $500,000 to $1 million dollar closer, organize your business and keep fully staffed in this tight job market.
The Home Furnishings Association asked its members. Here’s what they said.
Improve the effectiveness of systems and move customers from an initial inquiry to a repeat purchase.
Steps you can take to provide truthful delivery time estimates by keeping vendors accountable, plus keep sales and delivery personnel informed.
There will be winners and losers this year. Industry observer Tom Liddell provides insights into potential problems and what if anything retailers might do.
Funnels create customer experience paths that boost retention, generate positive word of mouth marketing and turn more customers into repeat customers.
Create the options you need today, rehearse them with your sales team and keep your ‘Gotham’ safe, secure and viable.
Retailers have increased the scale of their outlet areas and built freestanding outlet stores to meet demand and provide merchandising flexibility.
Store layouts influence how customers interact with your merchandise and how much they buy.
Can you keep nearly fully staffed in a very tight job market? A top furniture industry recruiter explains how.
There are many reasons to get together with your team. From scheduled to impromptu, why, when and how you manage them is very important.
Why is there a huge variation in the open service per million dollars in sales volume metric among furniture retailers? And, what can be done about it?
When a delivery driver is both the first and last person your customer meets after an online purchase, making a great impression is even more important.
Slasher film characters like Michael Myers come back from the dead in sequel after sequel, but customer issue resolution need not be a series of horror stories
Most retail businesses have systems in place to attract external customers.
Why should processes to attract and keep employees be much different?
How to reduce frustration and extra costs resulting from lost tools and touch up materials during delivery.
Over the HPMKT five days, I learned a lot more about members who stopped by the newly redesigned Resource Center.
Independent retailers may not be able to afford to lure potential employees with large signing bonuses and substantial financial and benefits packages.
Leases on roughly 1.5 billion square feet of retail space will expire this year. That, combined with a high vacancy rate, make it a buyers’ market for home furnishings retailers.
Retailers use CXM to automate sales and service processes. Automation triggers save time and produce meaningful results quicker.
Ringing the register with incrementally higher sales tickets results in pay raises all the way around.
Nobody in our industry can deny that the past months have been grueling.
After what we've seen this year, it's more important than ever to have a support system.
Twelve cash flow enhancing ideas for managing your retail furniture store pipeline in these chaotic times.
How to improve your service call decision-making in 2021 so that the resolution you suggest is also best for your profitability.
A new law in Colorado is worrying some Furniture retailers.
In the coming months, retailers will need to do more with less. Here are 16 strategies to help you cope.
The new front door was not invented during the pandemic; however, it has become critically important for furniture retailers over the past few months.
Frequent Furniture World contributing author David McMahon provides readers with a short checklist for mitigating COVID risks right now in your stores.
The source and the management of every door to your operation are critical elements for retail business success.
HFA member retailers push Congress for added PPP flexibility and other coronavirus related legislation.
Jerry Epperson says retailers need to plan now for supply chain issues as the economy rebounds.
Conditions change, but human nature stays more or less the same. That is a cause for optimism.
One of the defining qualities of a good leader is an ability to actively and consistently work to understand who your retail team members really are.
Five positive steps your business can
take to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
Here's how one retailer adopted product family reporting to seize control of its inventory and increase GMROI.
Here's a quick checklist of things you can do to minimize the damage due to recessionary pressures on your business.
With the passing of 2019 Furniture World lost its good friend and retail editor Janet Holt-Johnstone.
What can you do to make sure your retail operation attracts top talent?
Direct and indirect retail strategies for rescuing gross margins in 2020.
How one retailer used the GROW and Cascade of Change models to improve sales performance.
You only need to look at the innovators and disruptors in our world to see the value in asking WHY.
A review of national and local legislative and regulatory activity.
True FRIENDLY salespeople can turn a shopper into a friend by treating their store like a home and inviting guests to visit.
Tracking employee turnover will lead to greater sales and profit.
Retailers discuss strategies for recovering market share from giant online furniture vendors.
How the in-store furniture shopping experience can be more like going to the emergency room than urgent care.
During High Point Market,
HFA will present over two dozen educational seminars.
Garden City Furniture keeps its store image fresh. When is the last time your store received a makeover?
New owners at Sheely's Furniture keep the retailer's 150 employees
in the loop and fully invested.
Tepperman’s newest store in Ancaster, Ontario goes by the "book".
After the Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, many furnishings retailers still don't see a level playing field.
What are the best ways, for both store and customer, to handle product exchanges?
The Merchandising Matrix is the starting point for retailers to adjust square footage allocations for optimal results.
Retailer "A" has a bigger ad budget. Retailer "B" uses more digital media. Which one gets better returns?
It’s time to pop the question. Is a pop-up store right for your
furniture store? Kim Pellett tells all.
Tip-over problem warrants "highest attention".
Resilience keeps 114 year old Kurlancheek Home Furnishings in business.
How one retailer grew sales volume by creating a strategy and a company-wide laser-focus based on average sale improvement.
Sure fire ways to get to 99 percent perfect first time deliveries.
Seven ways to protect any retail business from hackers.
Why a formal valuation process can help to maximize long-term value.
Can you come up with an off-the-wall promotion to boost bedding sales?
Processes and checks must be put in place to ensure accountability in retail furniture workplaces.
It's not all doom and gloom for independent retailers.
30 Supplier Criteria that should be considered for potential suppliers.
Here are the metrics every home furnishings retailer needs to use to improve warehouse facilities and processes.
A special section that looks at the evolution of demand for sustainable, healthy, and ethically produced furnishings.
How to hire the best and most loyal employees in today's tight job market.
Scores of ideas to help furniture retailers improve facilities, processes and warehouse metrics.
Getting your employees to fully engage in your company's mission and values takes focus and effort. But it's worth it!
Machine learning is, at its core, all about using data in order to remain ahead of your customers' buying behaviors.
Attention to written & delivered sales increased annual cash flow more than $100,000 for this average sized retailer.
Most of us retailers say we care about service,
but isn't it mostly
just for mottos, mailings, mission statements and group hugs?
I’m confident that many of you have given some recent thought to updating your workplace harassment policies and education.
If you are a furniture retailer who wants to continuously improve, but needs to know where to start, this article is for you!
Discussion of self-driving vehicles, commingled delivery models, augmented reality & more.
Here’s how furniture stores can prepare to combat likely large-scale ransomware attacks in 2018.
Lessons from Hurricane Harvey. No furnishings retailer is completely safe from disaster, natural or man-made.
Use the process outlined in this article to translate your vision and ideas into great buying decisions.
Don't ignore this article. ALL of your business and customer data is at risk NOW!
A true retail partner will offer initiatives and programs to help you SELL.
Run-down of the most exciting opportunities for furniture retailers coming up in the area of transportation and logistics.
The role of fast data, big data, artificial intelligence and business intelligence in retail decision making.
Some days I come to work believing that not much has changed in our industry. Other mornings, like this one, the world seems full of possibilities.
They say “time is money”, but that’s not always true at retail.
A short-term Kaizen Blitz event will increase furniture store efficiency and effectiveness in 2017.
Customer Service &
The Parable Of
The “Horrible Dib Dib”
As we flip from this year to the next, it’s a great time to get advice from Gordon Hecht for 2017’s Game Plan.
Should you hire employees or independent contractors for key positions in 2017.
David and Wayne McMahon talk about furniture retailer profitability and ways they can do better.
How to grow your business by turning employee leaders Into owners.
Advances in technology make it possible for medium-sized retailers to level the playing field with larger competitors.
The Furniture Godfather once again answers your tough questions about life in the furniture industry.
Ten major ingredients in a tasty recipe that you can use to maximize your store’s gross margin.
Survey suggests if you don’t dive into e-commerce soon, you won’t be able to give your customers what they demand.
My suggestion is to look at how you and your company create trust at every touch point, and from every angle.
Many hardworking retailers struggle to earn the money and live the lifestyle they deserve. Here’s how to change all that.
First part in a two-part series of articles concerned with the value of having an exit strategy in place before you need one.
I’m thinking about disruptive change, the type that could make furniture factories and retail stores as we know them obsolete; the kind that could do to furniture manufacturers and retailers what the last 20 years of the 19th Century did to cabinet makers.
See how LEAN techniques took one retailer from losing money to more than 10% profit.
Latest on the product liability landscape for furniture retailers and manufacturers.
Every furniture store needs a strategy for implementing LEAN and applying it to inventory. Here’s how.
Every furniture store needs a strategy for implementing LEAN and applying it to the marketing. Here’s how.
You can’t get to nearly 100% first time delivery success in 2016 without it.
Every furniture store needs a strategy for implementing LEAN and applying it to sales force management.
Best practices for buying, merchandising and profiting from the category - Part 2.
LEAN practices allow businesses to realize their potential. First of a multi-part series.
For those of you who haven’t given much thought to the American Furniture Hall of Fame lately, it’s time to take another look.
Employee Stock Ownership Plans Deserve a Close Look for Business Transition.
Retailers are still challenged by an inherent lack of understanding about what women want and how they shop differently from men. What can be done?
If you are interested in 100% first-time delivery, read this article, but note: Unless you and your managers are willing to demand nothing less than perfect, don’t bother.
Retailers across the country are asking what they should do to prepare for well known chain stores and others that are entering their marketplaces. Here’s the answer to those questions.
Challenge yourself to find at least five opportunities in each example presented in this article to turn good into great customer service!
Reverse supply chain logistics is the practice of controlling resources that are returned, repairable, reusable or recyclable. It’s a catchy phrase for business activities that turn
normally wasteful occurrences into profit.
Here are ten, non-negotiable, must do items. If you do them you will succeed. If you don’t do them, you will continue to struggle and achieve far less than your company is capable of.
Ideas for merchandising your mattress showroom so you can show enough beds, the right beds, and the ones your customers want to buy.
Art Van Furniture is the top family owned furniture retailer in the Midwest and the fifteenth largest in the United States.Get the story about how “Mr. Van” made it happen.
This article describes a number of powerful practices that act as a catalyst for retail growth. Each can help make your business operations more efficient, and maximize sales, profitability, and cash flow.
Six follow-up strategies to help keep change initiatives on track to grow your furniture business.
Often, organizational change is the result of exposure to big ideas that can transform the nature of a business and how its employees, customers and supplers interact.
Here’s the latest on price drops and quality improvements for the 4th generation of LED’s.
Here is a collection of ideas on how to arrange and run a mattress warehouse for optimum efficiency. This article can be useful as a check list when opening a new warehouse or as a training guide for new warehouse personnel.
If you haven’t set up a mattress warehouse before, are looking for new/additional space, or want a quick review of important considerations, read on.
Do you need protection against hackers, data loss, theft of intellectual property, extortion, defamation or infringement?
Are you losing sales to competitors who offer a better mobile experience? Find out if your website measures up and what you need to do if it doesn’t.
Reduce the impact of new driver rules that promise to cause higher costs and delivery delays for retailers.
Everything you should know to protect your assets including your store, showroom,
warehouse and the stock/inventory contents contained therein from loss.
Quick and easy repair for matte finishes solutions -- that aren’t.
The difference between operations that run smoothly and those that are chaotic is often the number and severity of operational bottlenecks.
Dealing with receiving issues that compromise customer service and profitability.
When shipping choices – including setting rates, choosing carriers and assigning classification codes – are left to your vendors, you have little control over the inflow and transportation charges related to your goods. By using the seven steps outlined in this article, even smaller retailers can achieve savings of tens of thousands of dollars per year.
With extreme weather on the rise, take a close look at your store’s insurance coverage, especially the policy exclusion endorsement.
If your operation is positioned for growth in 2013, you may need additional warehouse space. Before you build or expand, try these strategies for increasing efficiency.
David McMahon presents a checklist for eliminating weak links to help you improve retail furniture store efficiency in 2013
Habitat ReStore and Louisville area furniture stores Haverty’s and Ashley Furniture Homestores create a win-win-win for the retailers, customers and the community by encouraging furniture donations and pick up.
Jenny & Dennis Jones offer advice to fellow retailers based on their experience helping rug weavers in India through the Alternative Education Program.
Theft is a big problem in our industry. Here are simple ways to protect your business.
Today we can give a direct answer to the $64 question, “Are solid state lighting systems ready?”
Forward thinking retailers are taking advantage of current market conditions to relocate and expand store operations.
Imports come with several key advantages, like better profit margins; more adventurous finishes, shapes and styles; and a wide range of prices. Choosing furniture at markets based on looks and repairability means that you will be able to make repairs whenever necessary, turning damaged goods back into first quality rather than sending them to the clearance center.
As O’Coins grew, the store purchased supplemental warehousing from their delivery contractor. This solution created a challenging situation solved by purchasing a nearby facility, upgrading systems and processes.
Forward thinking home furnishings retailers are taking advantage of the competitive landscape by moving, renovating and expanding store operations. Bill Blake presents two case studies and provides a checklist of essential points to consider before you make that big move.
Buying decisions are often unplanned reactions to special deals, the newest hottest item, or something that a buyer has fallen in love with. Merchandising processes should instead rely on detailed information, and be well planned.
You can save time and money by taking a critical look at your repair and deluxing operations. New touch up products and the challenges of imported goods have changed the way store and delivery people should perform their jobs to maximize customer satisfaction and bottom line performance.
Now is the time for FURNITURE WORLD readers to review scheduling and receiving operations in light of new United States Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations. Those companies that make their pickup and/or delivery experience more driver friendly will see the least affect on their bottom line and may actually reduce their costs.
Nationally recognized fire protection code expert Elley Klausbruckner, supplies general practical information on fire protection requirements for furniture warehouses. A bit of attention to this area before you build or refit your warehouse can save substantial sums.
Third party repairs, in-home repairs and poorly managed in-house operations can drain your budget dry if you’re not careful. These situations can usually be avoided with proper planning and equipment.
Have you recently looked at customer pickups and carry home purchases from the customer’s perspective? You may find, that you need to re-evaluate and improve the whole process. A modest investment can yield big dividends.
Learn how to communicate your vision, boost productivity and lift morale through effective coaching, cooperation, counseling and correction.
Regaining control over inventory puts more cash in the bank, more room in the warehouse and reduces damage. Five inventory categories are presented in a way that makes looking at them less of a puzzle.
Great business leaders have a goal that benefits society and inspires a workforce to do its best. They foster on-the-job growth in self-knowledge, wisdom, and relationships. Finally, they are engaged in creating a product that does more than just generate revenue.
Retailers like Bob’s Discount Furniture, Haverty’s, and Arhaus Furniture accrue tangible and intangible benefits in their warehouse, prep and delivery departments by using an innovative transportation system.
The time when retail managers could grow their businesses by simply adding more bodies is past. Today, the best retailers leverage the efforts of the people they already employ by using technology.
Outstanding trucking, logistics and warehousing practices. These add value to customer transactions and have contributed to the 500% growth of City Furniture since 1994 to $220 million.
Dealing with the challenge of adding new products, clearing out losers and maximizing sales per square foot can be complicated. Bill Blake simplifies the tools, techniques and suggests a few tricks to help you master this process.
This isn’t an article on the financial management of credit and collections. This month, Peter Marino looks at why giving your people credit for the jobs they do, is an easy and effective way to motivate and keep good employees. This is especially true for jobs outside of the sales department.
This article describes five basic approaches used by most retailers to handle delivery problems. Each of these will be carefully examined so that you can craft a policy to help you find your place among the best of the best.
Since meaningful direct comparisons between retailers are
difficult to make, most should track warehouse productivity trends in their own operation. Here are the top ten performance measures that have proven to be useful in many retail home furnishings operations.
This is not another article about GMROI. This installment provides information on inventory age and the impact it has on the logistics and profits of a furniture store.
Although theft of goods is on the rise in furniture retail establishments nationwide, it is a problem that is too often ignored. Most of your products are easily sold by thieves, stolen by employees to meet specific requests from their friends, or even to furnish their own house!
Leaders have lied to their people, the public, and themselves. But things will turn around. Use this transition period to rebuild... and start by looking at MetaValues™.
This series devoted to store planning and visual merchandising continues with a discussion of financial components and budgetary considerations.
Some home furnishings retailers treat inbound freight as a non-controllable expense but it is absolutely manageable. Benefits achieved by close control of inbound freight include increased operating margins, improved transit reliability and reduced damage.
Until the spring of 2001, Morris Home Furnishings manually routed their trucks. A year after switching from manual routing, all efficiency measures including driver performance have improved.
Without them you can’t develop effective recruiting, selection, performance appraisal, compensation, and training systems. Simply put, without job descriptions your organization is just not organized!
If you are about to build a new warehouse or renovate an old facility, you may be thinking about purchasing expert advice. The February/March issue presented a checklist for evaluating your existing operation. This article looks at the consultant’s role and planning considerations.
Space planning and visual merchandising are perhaps the most important factors affecting your sales per square foot and the efficiency of your store. Bill Blake deconstructs the entire space planning process in this series of articles.
In the quest for improved profits and competitive advantage, furniture retailers are more frequently reviewing their options for warehousing, deluxing and home delivery. Decision making tools plus a list of sources will help you to make an informed decision.
The fourth installment in this series on preventing employee and customer fraud examines ways you can fraud-proof your documents and forge-proof your signature.
There’s an old saying that you can’t improve perfomance until you measure it. This article will provide the tools you need to quickly assess your warehouse and delivery operation. Included is a checklist you can use to identify problem areas and create a plan for continuous improvement.
If you are like most furniture store executives, you spend a good percentage of your time trying to get the best merchandise into your store, but next to no time at all preparing your people to recognize fraud. The third article in this series will look at ways to prevent company and customer information from being stolen.
ApplianceMart found that a single distribution facility would result in many economic advantages in areas of inbound freight, manpower, product damage, time spent preparing and loading trucks from multiple warehouses, service costs plus capacity to grow the business.
If you are like most furniture store executives, you spend a good percentage of your time trying to get the best merchandise into your store, but next to no time at all preparing your people to recognize fraud. The second article in this series will look at internal or employee fraud and how you can detect and prevent it.
Installing A CAD System to do showroom layouts saves labor, cuts expenses, improves displays and provides valuable management information.
Dan Bolger presents a number of ideas that can add 2 to 4 points to your profit margins. Every area of your business needs periodic review and transportation is no exception. Check for opportunities for additional discounts, delivery consolidation and the real value of manufacturer “guaranteed” freight programs.
If you are like most furniture store executives, you spend a good percentage of your time trying to get the best merchandise into your store, but next to no time at all preparing your people to recognize fraud. This series will look at external and internal fraud and present practical tools you can use to preserve bottom line profits.
Industry executives are considering moving their logistics process upstream. That means transferring consolidation, distribution and quality inspection duties to where the products are produced.
Riley Griffiths has positioned his company for 40% growth without investing in additional bricks and mortar. He simply rearranged his showroom and warehouse spaces for greater efficiency and flexibility.
If your post-sale service calls are running more than 3% it may be time to take a close look at your product handling and deluxing procedures.
The pace of furniture importing is accelerating. Tom Craig looks at some of the language, opportunities and risks associated with bringing in merchandise from overseas.
Chinese furniture export activity has increased dramatically, with more than 20 percent per year increases in raw volume. There has also been a recent surge in the number of Chinese companies seeking export opportunities in North America.
You can trim electricity costs, labor costs and dramatically improve displays by completely revamping your store lighting. Take time to do it right or you will both waste money and lose sales. Monte Lee also looks at ways the lighting industry boosts their own profitability at your expense.
Selden’s overall project planning and use of experts to supplement internal skills were important elements for the success of their warehouse expansion.
The economic picture for 2001 appears to be lackluster with key furniture retailer indicators trending flat to moderate sales gains. Sales increases may be harder to come by, so it's time to look at other ways to boost the bottom line.
Many retailers are providing outstanding delivery with their own employees but there is substantial growth in outsourcing delivery services by furniture retailers. The keys to success are professional management, solid procedures, equipment and most of all, thoroughly trained delivery people.
Samsen Furniture's 1994 warehouse was built with future racking in mind with clear roof height of 15 to 20 feet and a clear span. Here's how planning ahead has made updating their warehouse systems to accommodate increased sales easy.
When a furniture retailer is considering whether or not to outsource his delivery operation, the issue of "loss of control" is often a primary objection to contracting with a third-party provider.
Replacing light bulbs and fixtures in showrooms, warehouses and store exteriors, can save energy, improve lighting quality and redirect maintenance labor from changing light bulbs. Dan Bolger offers ideas which can provide an ongoing stream of benefits with ultra quick payback periods
Here are some affordable solutions for Home furnishings retailers with jam-packed inefficient warehouses that have clear heights of 12 to 16 feet often awkwardly stack furniture several units high.
An operating system is a program that allows computers to run application programs such as word processors, spreadsheets, accounting, and database managers. Paul Hooverson, Chief Software Architect, EasyChair Software explains the differences and advantages of popular systems.
Surveys report significant customer dissatisfaction with many Internet purchases, particularly in the areas of delivery and customer service. The logistical challenges of home delivery are far more difficult and costly than many recognize. It just isn't valid to compare the delivering of books to case goods or upholstery.
Everyone has heard of families divided and thrown into dysfunction and resentment by the stress resulting from low trust and respect. How can these problems be avoided or resolved?
Have you recently looked at pickups and carry home purchases from your customer's perspective? Improvements in handling carry home purchases and pickups can dramatically boost your customer service image.
Wisconsin retailer Appliancemart with 2 store locations and 6 warehouses has fine-tuned delivery procedures to make the process flow smoothly.
Tip and methods for managing receiving, minimizing damage and maximizing return on claims when necessary.
Independent retailer Andreas Furniture builds a consumer & employee "friendly" distribution center.
Bejnar's Fine Furniture is competing against the big guys. Efficient operations including excellent warehousing and delivery does make a difference.
Are we in for a recession? Most experts say no, but it couldn't hurt to monitor for danger signs of decline take preventive measures now.
A look at recent developments with an emphasis on cost containment.
Choosing the "right" truck for your particular operation is a real challenge today with so many styles and brands to choose from. This is the first in a series of articles on home furnishings retailers who Love Their Trucks.
Advances in computer technology have impacted one of retailing's major challenges, delivery and service scheduling. This technology can significantly improve your productivity and customer satisfaction.
This year's transportation outlook is much different. It has changed from a buyer's market to one where the carriers are holding more power.
If you are an owner, manager, or valuable salesperson, you might not know about this way to build wealth and avoid taxes. Split-dollar life works as a supercharged retirement account without any cap on how much goes in yearly. Both the company and employee contribute, and the company gets its initial investment back!
Without up to date estate planning, heirs to many retail furniture operations have been forced to sell real estate or a substantial portion of their assets or actually liquidate the business to meet estate tax obligations. Here are some tax tips and strategies, plus the implications of new family business "tax relief" measures.
This article is for you if you are considering obtaining existing warehouse space or building a warehouse from the ground-up. If you are not currently considering warehouse expansion, put this material away until the need arises (it surely will!).
4-15% of total inventory dollars are tied up in non-saleable merchandise. Problems include manufacturing defects, missing parts, freight claims and damage caused by poor warehouse handling practices. Shop areas also typically have some customer merchandise in for warranty repair.
Middle market furniture store owners can convert their companies into the wealth they deserve if they don't operate under misconceptions and delusions. Instead, they must understand their shortcomings, plug knowledge gaps, and most importantly be willing to pay the price required to convert their company into the "gold mine" it can be.
Furniture retailers are used to hiring sales and office staff. Most are not nearly as strong on the warehouse and delivery side of the business. As a result, they often do not hire the best people for these critical jobs. Here are tips and techniques for hiring the best warehouse manager.
Dan Bolger explains how you can save by paying attention to fuel surcharges, header rates, miscellaneous charges and freight charges added to merchandise invoices. Also discussed are how you can use the internet to find the best furniture freight rates.
Fires that destroy whole businesses are front page news but more typical is a small fire after hours with considerable smoke. Following the tips in this article will speed fire department response and possibly save thousands of dollars.
Dealer owned Canadian furniture giant packs $3.5 billion worth of purchasing power punch. With more than 70 furniture stores, the furniture division of Home Hardware is poised for rapid growth.
Retailers are turning to data warehouses to help them sift through the vast amounts of data across the company and filter out meaningful information that will help them compete more effectively and respond more quickly to consumers' demands.
Almost every business is aware of the amount spent on workers compensation but most make mediocre efforts at control. The typical approach is to compare rates available based on their own safety record to those available through a group. It is a rare company that really looks at preventing accidents in the first place and managing the situation when an accident does happen.
Star Furniture in Houston, Texas, solved their warehousing problems at a new Austin site with modular truck bodies. Good's Furniture, Inc.Good's uses the modular bodies in another configuration.
Approximately 50% of US furniture stores maintain some type of in-house repair department. This is only one of the options, however, that furniture retailers can consider when making a decision on how to handle repairs.
This highly informative survey compiled by Computer Sciences Corporation and Retail Info Systems News highlights the accelerating rate at which home furnishings retailers are embracing technologies as diverse as customer databases, EDI, POS terminals, executive information systems and interactive multimedia.
R.C. Willey & Nebraska Furniture Mart recently underwent a technological upgrade with the installation of high-end no-fault computers.
Dan Bolger of the Bolger Group looks at additional ways you can avoid paying for merchandise that you never got or for damages you didn't cause. Good written procedures and management oversight will help gain efficiency and reduce the chances for fraud.
Contributing Editor Dan Bolger changes gears this month by presenting a whole bunch of ways home furnishings retailers can promote driver safety and reduce run-away delivery costs
From 1935 until passage of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, the ICC exercised almost total control over trucking rates, routes and entry of new carriers. It was a huge bureaucracy with unique accounting requirements and it was impossible to accomplish anything without using specialized transportation lawyers. Now it is gone, opening up a new era for shippers.
Update for furniture retailers on balance overcharges and new state regulations. Also covered are LTL rate hikes scheduled for 1996.
This month, instead of tackling the big issues of sales management, the Shepherd Group looks at why most new computer installations are destined to fail. But don't worry. A step-by-step plan for insuring success is also presented.
Part 3- In the September and October issues we discussed time management. Meetings, too, but peripherally. Let's zero in now on the 90s greatest potential time waster.
Growth was causing challenges for Coconis Furniture and Coconis Carpet the largest independent home furnishings retailer in south eastern Ohio. Here's a case study on how they successfully planned for showroom & warehouse growth.
Janet-Holt-Johnstone, the busiest editor in the home furnishings business, finishes her series which will help you get the most out of each day.
Time. you can't beg, borrow or steal it, but you can learn to make the time you have more productive and rewarding. Janet-Holt-Johnstone, the busiest editor in the home furnishings business, presents tips and techniques which can help you get the most out of each day.
NHFA's Annual Operating Experience Report data is presented to help you compare your business to others. Charts include compensation data for typical positions and insight on emerging trends.
Acquiring computer hardware and software does not mean that you are installing a management system. Furthermore, the price of a system is not necessarily an indication of its completeness.
When Sherman's Furniture lost the lease on their outside warehouse, they considered building a new facility, leasing another building or upgrading their existing space. Luckily, Jack Sherman, having read the March issue of Furniture World undertook a diagnostic study of his warehousing and logistics before he took any action.
Dan Bolger reminds you to check your freight bills, pay attention to how your delivery trucks look and take a close look at how the efficiency of your warehouse and your entire operation might be improved.
Hiring practices which include using background checks and pre-employment testing are helping many progressive retailers to reduce warehouse 'shrinkage."
The first thing that most retailers do to increase store profitability is to try to raise sales revenues. They do this by advertising more, increasing their sales staff, expanding display space, enlarging the store, or running a sale. Every one of these actions increase cost. This article focuses on the real cost savings of reducing excess inventory.
Entertainment centers, book cases and armoire, require special attention when maneuvering from one location to another. If precautions aren't taken, joints may break or crack, causing permanent damage. Here are seven rules which will reduce repair costs.
Since you cannot operate your warehouse like a bank vault, what steps can you take to protect your investment?
Special orders give a tremendous boost to a retailer's bottom line. You sell goods you never had in the first place, get a deposit, never carry them in inventory and never have to take a mark down! EDI can help streamline the process and create additional sales and profits.
If an apparent space shortage is pushing you to consider the option of a new warehouse... then read this article first.
Houston: based TeleCheck Services Inc., a company that provides check acceptance, check guarantee, new account services and recovery services, suggests that retailers follow the following check acceptance procedures this coming holiday season.
If the owner/manager is loaded down with administrative tasks that could be effectively and economically automated... then that is a real waste.
Steps you can take to evaluate and improve the efficiency of your receiving department. Presented are ways to gain efficiency by eliminating steps and reducing chances for mistakes or fraud.
On average, the typical retailer has 25% of his inventory tied up in goods that are slow moving to dead. Here are some tips on how you can more effectively manage inventory and boost profits.
You can avoid much employee turnover by streamlining and organizing your hiring practices. Laura Laaman of Executive Training looks at the problem and the solutions.
What type of training should your managers and first line supervisors receive regarding the administration of your company- wide drug and alcohol abuse policy?
Damaged furniture is a retailer's worst nightmare. Here are some tips to help you avoid damage, a list of repair tips and advise on when you should call a professional repair service.
Managing inbound freight positively contributes to bottom line profit improvement, reduces damages and claims, smooths receiving and boosts your ability to successfully serve the customer.
(Delivering The Goods Series) When you take salespeople out for a ride on your delivery trucks they become better at heading off delivery problems before they occur.
(Delivering The Goods Series) The finishing touch operation will probably take your men no more than a minute or two. Yet this demonstration of your store's pride and concern never fails to impress customers.
(Delivering The Goods Series) The finishing touch operation will probably take your men no more than a minute or two. Yet this demonstration of your store's pride and concern never fails to impress customers.
(Delivering The Goods Series) He also knew his customers" and the value of taking their pulse. He would frequently and dramatically ask: Is everybody happy?"
(Delivering The Goods Series) Even if a customer gives you written authorization, this kind of delivery is fraught with legal risk.
(Delivering The Goods Series) Low-cost efforts work well once crews come to understand they're not just delivering the goods -they're delivering your image too.
(Delivering The Goods Series) When you're delivering the goods, little can sour a sale as surely as "harmless" sweet talk- -because, from strangers, sweet talk isn't.
(Delivering The Goods Series) "Oil" your delivery operations with check in calls, immediate problem reports and end of day debreifings.
(Delivering The Goods Series) If you agree that delivery is the close of your sale, put yourself in your customer's place. You'll see that most customers are anxious about furniture deliveries... and for good reasons.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Nobody pays more attention to your delivery people than your customers.
(Delivering The Goods Series). When should you consider hiring a contract carrier?
(Delivering The Goods Series). Fortunately, inconvenient delivery is one customer turnoff which can be turned around quickly and easily-and without increasing operating costs.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Being good with your hands is one kind of manual dexterity. Having a written manual that aids "common sense" actions is another.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Why you need a written manual for your delivery people.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Why you need a written manual for your delivery people.
(Delivering The Goods Series).When your customer tells you before she tells a dozen or so friends, you have a chance to make things right-a chance to give her something better to tell people about your store and your service.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Too many cooks in your delivery "broth" can spoil the soup.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Delivering furniture to your best customers to make a lasting impression.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Tips for alleviating the "not-at-home" and other delivery problems.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Head off delivery problems with beepers.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Tips for pre-delivery calls and delivery day pre planning.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Discussion on dress codes for delivery people.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Sometimes, choosing not to make a delivery will be in the best interest of your customer and yourself.
(Delivering The Goods Series). Sometimes, choosing not to make a delivery will be in the best interest of your customer and yourself.
(Delivering The Goods Series)."Potius sero quam nunquam"- better late than never-has been an enduring truism. But, in delivering the goods, better late than careless seems a better idea.
Joe Capillo takes looks at the benefits of taking the time to develop and implement strategic goals. Aspects of this important topic have been developed in the past several issues of FURNITURE WORLD.
It seems that it will continue to be a tight labor market for furniture retailers in 2001. That means that you have to have a recruitment program in place. Everyone uses classified ads... and the response can be discouraging. Here are ways to make the most of your classified budget.
Of all the responsibilities that business owners and managers have, none is likely to be more distasteful and distressing than having to fire someone. To do it right, communication and documentation are essential.
Total customer service requires that an organization have more than a sense of goal. It requires that it have a sense of vision as well. The reason why organizations need to have a sense of vision is that total customer service is not a final destination. It is an endless journey.
Nobody in a retail organization has a stronger impact on success or the lack thereof, than a manager. In the store or the warehouse, the right manager can transform a dull, drab workplace into a vibrant one where people are excited about their work.
Goals and the system for developing, managing and tracking them when tied to clear and understandable living missions can begin to drive your company toward the liberation from reactively dealing with urgent issues.
Ted Shepherd looks at why many owners have not been able to transfer the very beliefs that were the foundation of their company to the people responsible for taking the business to the next level; their employees.
Stupid drivers! Honestly, can they ever manage to deliver something without tearing it up? Don’t blame the driver without first looking closely at other areas of your business that may cause or contribute to failures recognized at the time of delivery.
Is the operations side of your company supporting your overall business strategy? Some common indicators that operations improvement is needed are overcrowded warehouses, damaged merchandise, customer complaints, service calls, even exchanges, labor costs and order cancellations.
Unusual circumstances called for a creative solution when Grace Furniture found that they needed to expand and upgrade their warehouse facilities. The old warehouse was used while the new facility was built over it.
Even smaller home furnishings retailers can cut wasted time, inventory and costs by implementing a “pull” approach to supply chain management.
It may be time to check out your trucks and then visit truck dealerships to see how you may benefit from updating and/or replacing some or all of your vehicles. Dan Bolger describes the features and benefits of the new models.
Most retailers look for improvements in stock turnover, sales revenue and value of ticket to name but a few. All these performance metrics are important, but if the basic process is flawed then anything following will be flawed as well. Philip Pugh presents tools and techniques that can help you to identify the best ways to foster continuous improvement in your business processes.
A proven model for retail networking in the furniture industry -- retail groups meet regularly to benchmark key indicators with the goal of learning best practices.
Larry Mullins looks at the organization that does the best job of developing leaders and examines ways to promote integrity, excellence and caring in future retail leaders.
Test way to develop leaders who can see your company and services the way that they ought to be.
You can minimize overall transportation cost increases and may actually improve service in 2005.
Warehouse shrinkage, missing deliveries and customer - employee collusion are a reality. Often these problems go unreported because of insufficient oversight.
This long awaited follow-up by Monte Lee shows how lighting with the right CRI and temperature can boost sales, while making the wrong choice might make your store look like the corner grocery.
It doesn’t matter if you run a distribution center and deliver with your own drivers or use an outside company for all or a portion of these functions. You will, in either case, take the heat or the credit for the arrival condition of furniture you place in your customers’ homes.
Coconis’ lastest round of expansion was preceeded by careful warehouse planning. Steps taken to better manage people and processes boosted efficiency and made the transition to dealing with increased sales volume easier.
Lean supply chain management is a challenge. Being lean means removing waste from operations. For furniture retailers, time really is money in the form of increased costs including those associated with carrying inventory.
There are lots of good books that will tell you how to repair solid wood furniture, but what about imported furniture built from particleboard and resin? Repairing these products requires a special way of thinking, and some special techniques.
Energy costs are rising, but home
furnishings retailers can cut overall costs with new lighting technologies. Part 3 of this series by Monte Lee from FURNITURE WORLD's article archives shows you how to conserve without sacrificing the showroom appearance.
FURNITURE WORLD readers who “love their trucks” sent photos and filled out questionnaires. Entries were judged on the graphic approach used as well as special modifications and maintenance procedures.
The future of our industry will not belong to any one size company, marketing channel or country of origin. It will belong to manufacturers and retailers that embrace Global Lean Logistics.
Boston Inc., Plans For Warehouse Growth
Case study of a family owned chain of four stores that built a centralized warehouse with expansion capabilities to support a high level of customer service during times of rapid sales growth.
Managing organizational change is more important and difficult than most retail managers believe. Ren Baker looks at how focusing on change can help to drive
extraordinary performance improvement in retail home furnishings stores.
Once you’ve found the factors
affecting employee productivity that need improvement, you are ready to make performance improvement a reality. This installment looks at ways to improve individual performance and provide support systems for your employees.
FURNITURE WORLD readers were asked to identify their most pressing retail operations /inventory management/ warehouse and delivery challenges for 2006. This article offers tools and tips retailers can use to achieve performance improvement in these areas.
Lean benefits with compressed cycle time and increased inventory velocity can be had by any firm that is willing to take a serious look at what they do (from a sourcing and logistics standpoint) and how they do it. This installment looks at lean international logistics and value stream mapping.
The compensation methods used by furniture retailers are often ineffective or create a high comfort level for non-performers. Some workers are penalized for performance beyond their control, while others are rewarded for results they have nothing to do with.
It may be time for you to take a close look at how you handle the processing, disposal and recycling of trash and packaging materials such as corrugated, old mattresses and furniture.
Store owners are losing control of their repair departments. Easily fixable imported goods are going to clearance or being written off as junk. It’s a problem that negatively impacts profitability and customer satisfaction.
The second part of this series provides practical advice on how to craft a compensation system that does not reward workers for performance beyond their control or reward them for results they have nothing to do with.
Monte Lee looks at ways to reduce your lighting and electricity costs without sacrificing the quality of your displays. Rates, government regulations and cost saving opportunities are discussed.
This series continues its discussion of financing sources with a look at in-house financing. Strategies and best practices are presented to help you to create additional and larger sales while boosting margins.
With about 2,100 decisions to make when creating a new warehouse facility, you need to concentrate on areas where mistakes or omissions are most likely to occur.
All associates involved in customer service are your “ambassadors”. They can make a sale; break a sale; bring customers back or drive them away. Here are the results of a new study that can help you to boost your customer service efforts.
Higher fuel prices, the new truck engine specifications, and the changeover to ultra-low-sulphur diesel fuel (ULSD) will certainly affect your delivery cost structure this year. Here are seven ways to keep overall costs in check and get better control over your delivery operations.
This installment looks at specific behaviors sales and customer service associates need to exhibit if they are to provide a high degree of customer service.
Checklist of policies and procedures that will help you to get accurate inventory counts, reduce theft and boost employee productivity.
Small, inconvenient problems can add up. Store owners who were “just fine” yesterday, may end up being frog soup tomorrow. The frog soup story provides an insight that many FURNITURE WORLD readers will find both amusing and disturbing.
Harnessing brand power for positive results requires sound strategic thinking. Brand strategy affects everything a store does, and defining yours is worth the time invested. This is the second article in a series by Martin Roberts of GRID2.
Most successful furniture retailers carefully track sales metrics, but don’t apply the same level of attention to their warehouse operations. The “Perfect Delivery Index” presented in this article, is an effective management tool that lists key data easily pulled from your daily
Once you decide to stop sending repairable furniture to clearance, you need to prepare your staff and managers to be fully engaged in the process.
This series looks at tools and techniques you can use to measure and improve the health of your inventory over time.
One fire, local storm or water/ sprinkler pipe failure can cost you millions of dollars in property and lost business. Here are three “disaster” case studies and a checklist for preparedness and recovery.
Poor buying practices, supplier performance issues and insufficient attention to lean inventory practices are among the major causes of having too much inventory and too little cash.
Recent International Furniture Transportation and Logistics Council conference tracks trends and advances that will affect furniture retailers.
Buyers, who aren’t involved in the inventory management process, produce lower GMROI. It is, therefore, critical that they become expert inventory managers and that their duties don’t end with the filing of a purchase order.
More than 400 readers participated in a FURNITURE WORLD Magazine/ furninfo.com survey on delivery problems and solutions.
Contributing Editor & lighting expert Monte Lee tackles a tough lighting question posted to FURNITURE WORLD Magazine’s furninfo.com message board.
Someone stands to profit from your damaged and defective leather furniture. That “someone” should be you!
You can escape the excess inventory trap before you become too entangled, or avoid it altogether if you understand the reasons why so many otherwise good companies get caught.
Part 4 of the Dynamic Inventory Management Series presents the Five Golden Markdown Steps. This efficient markdown system has a considerable impact on profitability and cash flow because it greatly increases turns, improves gross margin, sales and cash flow.
If a piece is clearance, then technically, you are getting whatever you can for it, right? Well, why not consider other more profitable options?
FURNITURE WORLD readers, Majors and Independent Stores entered their amazingly beautiful trucks this year along with advertising, maintenance and delivery tips. Winners are presented in a number of categories including a new one, Retail Show Trucks.
Clearance sales may have their time and place, however, there are many other more productive ways to increase GMROI. You can do this without increasing prices or holding inventory clearance sales.
Recycling EPS now makes sense for furniture retailers. There are a number of processing alternatives that can change its disposal from a big expense to one that can actually generate a payback.
Now is the time to look at your delivery systems, in-home service/sales calls and driver education.
This article will highlight some modern ways to increase your GMROI by using technology to pull in extra customers and move merchandise while minimizing costs.
Roomful Express Furniture improves key operations metrics with new program.
Now is the time to look at your delivery systems,in-home service/ sales calls and driver education.
Ten ways to improve your displays, save on your electricity costs and avoid the most common lighting mistakes.
Regardless of the brand of trucks you use for delivery, you have the opportunity to save thousands of dollars annually through driver training and motivation.
Max Morgan always thought employee theft was something that happened to others – until it happened to him. This article outlines a plan to catch a furniture store thief working an inside job.
For most furniture retailers it is virtually impossible to increase sales this year, so you need to focus on items you do control, such as warehouse and delivery.
Take these twelve steps to organize your business and you will dramatically increase the focus and accountability of your people.
Most of your customers are not dyed in the wool environmentalists, and most of your best selling products won’t meet their standards. So here’s how you can get started with a small scale sustainable furniture program that can help you to differentiate your brand, and appeal to the majority of your customers.
Business is tough, but don’t be your own worst enemy by cutting corners in the warehouse, prep and delivery. Read this article to find tips on reducing costs and improving customer service.
This is the first installment of a new series by David Lively that deals with family business issues of critical importance to furniture retailers. In this issue, David looks at the pitfalls of making decisions based on a consensus to avoid familial discord.
Fines for improper racking, lift truck problems, electrical issues, hazardous materials and equipment lockout procedures are just some of the most common that furniture retailers have received over the past year. Dan Bolger looks at these issues and provides guidance on how FURNITURE WORLD Magazine readers can reduce injuries as well as avoid running afoul of OSHA regulations.
Family business owners often struggle with fair compensation for their children who work for them. Either they pay the children too much, or they pay them below market rates. Either extreme is incorrect and can provoke conflict while undermining their self worth.
Central Illinois furniture retailer continues to grow by taking advantage of back end operations efficiencies.
What are the characteristics that separate the best operations from the worst?
Retailers can remedy their sagging sales with something that has nothing to do with sales—and can cost very little as well.
Retailers place great emphasis on sustainability in new construction projects, But what can be done in an existing store to move toward sustainability?
Complete your warehouse move with minimal business interruption and cost.
Most retailers interviewed for this article believe business conditions have bottomed and modest growth is here or coming soon. Some are very enthusiastic. Included are their comments, plus tips on how to get your back-end operations in shape so you will be ready to grow as the economy strengthens.
The first generation founds the business. The second generation builds it. And the third generation ruins it. This sounds harsh, but consider that a scant three in ten businesses make it to the second generation. A miniscule one in ten of these makes it through the third. David Lively looks at the steps family business can take to avoid this fate.
The failure rate for new warehouse and delivery managers in retail furniture stores is high. Retailers that promote from within often run up against the Peter Principle. When an outsider is selected, his or her individual style may conflict with your corporate culture or they may have flat out lied about their experience. Here’s how to avoid these problems.
This is a story of missed warning signs, failed furniture industry initiatives and impossible consumer buying behavior.
Mike Dugan compares the current decade with those good old days... an era when the Baby Boomers were just entering their furniture buying years.
Retailers like COSTCO don’t lose customers when they sell furniture that fails to live up to customer expectations for quality. The same cannot be said for local furniture retailers. Here are five ways to avoid the cheap furniture trap.
Topics discussed in a Home Delivery panel discussion at the 2010 International Furniture Transportation & Logistics Council (IFTLC) conference provides Furniture World readers with tips on how to improve operations.
Most family furniture businesses are not prepared to handle wealth transfer. In fact, the majority have made few or no provisions for turning the business over to the next generation.
Major legislation was just passed that affects T12 fluorescent lighting.
David McMahon shows you the core practices that the most profitable businesses follow to achieve the highest return on their inventory investment.
Here's what retailers, manufacturers, importers and specialized carriers need to know about compliance issues related to the new CSA2010 regulations to avoid difficulties.
Theft by trusted employees is a big problem for furniture retailers. So what kinds of employee monitoring and process controls should you consider?
To achieve generational success, families must implement an organized process that allows each key family member to discuss relevant business issues, and express their ideas.
A prime reason why top performing companies out perform their average performing peers is because they pay people extra when they perform better. Here is how to go about taking this path to success.
Two to ten percent of furniture deliveries result in a return or exchange when there is nothing wrong with the furniture. This fact points to opportunities to drastically reduce returns by attending to a few details before, during and after delivery.
Today, consumers initiate their shopping experience. If they find you through Google, you have a chance to get their business. Here’s how to manage your e-tail inventory to make the most of an initial website contact. Included is a 12-step process that will help to make their buying decision easier.
There will be significant challenges for furniture transportation in 2011 and beyond.
Retail furniture leaders wield authority and must submit to it as well.
Here’s how to do both in a way that accomplishes key goals.
In our current era of robotics and other high-tech solutions, it is easy to overlook the necessity and importance of smart manual handling.
Sometimes thoughts of entitlement grow so entrenched that family members believe they have the right to use company resources without permission or to direct company employees even though they have no direct management responsibility in the organization.
Practical steps to minimize risks of warehouse infestation, negative media attention and frivolous consumer lawsuits.
Do you have a backlog of damaged stock? Are your quick and easy finish repair solutions turning out to be neither quick nor easy?