Stakeholders in the flooring industry need to focus on collaboration to address industry challenges as well as to uplift standards in the sector. Some of the top challenges in the flooring industry, according to iTe PRODUCTS, include inappropriate products, lack of training, lack of experience and pricing pressure.

1. Inappropriate products
Many flooring products utilised in South Africa were designed for use in sophisticated markets by highly trained installers. The site conditions as well as the skills and expertise of installers aren’t necessarily replicated here. Clients also incur losses when suppliers make unsubstantiated claims about the performance of their products.

Solution: Video tuition provides a cost-effective way to expose staff to best practices and product innovations. Job-specific video training before each day’s work can result in significant improvements in skills and knowledge.

2. Lack of training
The demise of trade schools in South Africa has led to a reduced pool of skilled apprentices entering the industry. Companies and industry organisations are now tasked with training installers as well as customers’ teams to offset this lack of skills.

Solution: The true value of training will only be felt when consistent efforts are made to facilitate staff member attendance. The results – in terms of increased skills, improved productivity and ultimately, improved installation quality – will more than justify any costs incurred.

3. Lack of experience
Experienced flooring professionals are retiring, leaving current training programmes in the hands of less experienced installers who don’t always have the same level of knowledge and experience. Contractors also fear upwards pressure on wages as a consequence of upskilling.

Solution: The formation of FITA and the efforts of leading manufacturers have seen the creation of SETA-approved flooring and installation skills training programmes. The use of modern communication technologies makes these accredited courses much more accessible by reducing travel time and costs.

4. Pricing pressure
With the lowest-priced tender usually being successful, installers are obliged to cut costs – often by paying lower wages that fail to attract skilled craftsmen. Process, product and equipment shortcuts may also be taken.

Solution: To address pricing challenges, tender decisions should be based on a scoring system that sets price against the skills level of each bidder’s staff members and the quality of the products and equipment they use. Only in this way can the industry move away from the negative effects of tender decisions based purely on price.

iTe PRODUCTS is committed to uplifting the flooring industry by providing quality products and systems for the preparation of substrates and the installation of floor coverings. To ensure that their products are applied properly with the appropriate finishes, the company spends many hours training their customers’ staff and has invested heavily in their product range, as well as in top-quality professional tools which give a superior edge to all preparation and application work. That’s the advantage of using an integrated flooring system.

For more information, contact iTe PRODUCTS on Tel: +27 (11) 864 4918 or via www.iteproducts.co.za.