Chairman’s Cut: You Are Here

Not long ago, before Amazon brought everything directly to our doorstep, people used to go to these places called “malls” to shop. Navigating these spaces in the days before smartphones was challenging, but you could always count on the map kiosks with the infamous “You Are Here” sticker to help you determine your current location and path forward.

Times change, technology evolves, and successful businesses continue to adapt to current circumstances and thrive. Where is your business today, and what are you using as your roadmap?

It has been more than a year-and-a-half since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our industry has confronted several challenges during that time, including learning how to work safely during a pandemic, continued supply chain and labor force constraints, and competing with wood “look-alike” products. Through it all, the NWFA has been steadfast in listening to its members and continuing to provide updated tools and resources to help them navigate these unprecedented times.

One of the many ways the NWFA does this is through Hardwood Floors magazine’s Industry Outlook survey. This annual benchmarking survey is conducted across the industry to provide a firsthand account of what you have seen within the past year and what you expect to see in the future in your market.

Despite the many challenges in our path, we’ve heard that many companies are experiencing growth. There is plenty of demand, and many survey participants said they are laying the groundwork for continued growth in 2022, expanding in their markets and adding products. In fact, all four segments of survey respondents are expecting sales to go up somewhat (3-7 percent) or significantly (8+ percent) in 2022.

The top three initiatives identified by our industry as critical in the second half of 2021 and into 2022 are investing in technology or leveraging existing tech for growth, adding new locations/expanding geographically, and improving processes to become more efficient. In addition, some of the changes put in place because of the pandemic are expected to stick in 2022, such as health and sanitation measures, working remotely, and drive-thru supply pickups.

Understanding the drivers for the supply chain disruptions and trying to know when we will see relief is a huge consideration for the remainder of 2021 going into 2022.

I encourage you to read more helpful insights from the Industry Outlook starting on page 42 and make sure you take full advantage of the NWFA benefits available to you as a member.

Connect with your industry through the vast network of wood flooring professionals. Reap the benefits of NWFA’s growing number of industry partnerships. Stay current on industry advances with Hardwood Floors magazine and NWFA’s industry reports and resources. Advance your skills as a wood flooring professional with NWFA’s toolbox of educational resources, including online training, hands-on training, certifications, industry-standard guidelines, technical publications, and technical support.

Consider the NWFA your map to success; contact the team at 800.422.4556 or visit nwfa.org today to learn more.

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