A Busy 2014 For The CFA!
IS it really December and almost Christmas again? You’ve probably heard that a dozen times already and perhaps even read it in this month’s CFJ and I’m sorry to use yet another haggard phrase, but where has this year gone!
In one respect I’m not complaining, because I think the fact that time has flown reflects the many good things happening. Time flies when you’re having fun and only drags when you’re bored and we’re certainly never bored at the CFA.
And so I thought I would use this article to provide a quick review of some of the main highlights, events and successes that have punctuated the 2014, CFA calendar year and whisked us along to yet another December.
I started 2014 with a sense of optimism that I am glad to say hasn’t diminished. Through this column I cautiously reported that I felt that confidence was returning and so it remains. As I always try to clarify when I make that statement, that doesn’t mean that it’s all plain sailing, but the opportunity for success is much more evident.
Regional variations also apply and the micro economy that is the capital should not be mistaken for the overall picture, but I find few members across the country who don’t declare some sort of improvement in trading conditions and fortunes.
Long may it continue and long may we be part of the success that our members are enjoying through the support we offer. Hits to the CFA website and directory, where end users search for a quality company to work with are healthy.
Specsavers was a major success in 2014. CFA members using QA carded fitters became their specified choice for suppliers of flooring services.
M&S renewed their commitment to only use CFA members to install their floors and we made some significant break-throughs in reaching the decision makers through Platform Events facilities management and construction and design events.
The latter event was held in October and put the CFA and our members in front of procurement managers in organisations such as B&Q, Balfour Beatty, British Airways, Costa Coffee, Maplin Electronics, New Look, Pets at Home, Pizza Hut, Post Office, Tesco, TGI Fridays, Waterstones, Willmott Dixon and a number of local authorities.
I have learnt that lots of large organisations have flooring problems and even though we have a solution, it is normally a long game to gain their trust.
Training remains a main priority for us and getting to the point where we could employ a training manager was a major step forward in 2014.
The thing that differentiates the CFA and FITA in most of what we do is our independence and not for profit status.
The first check and measure for any project we undertake is to ask ourselves whether it will be of value to our members and therefore probably the wider industry?
If the answer is ‘yes, then we find the best way we can do it and at the lowest possible cost to deliver a quality product. With this approach, during 2014 we started to become directly active in delivering quality NVQ’s to our sector, with full support from the CITB.
FITA has been delivering short commercial courses to the flooring industry for many years and is the main provider of training and assessments for Carpetright, Marks & Spencer and recently added Specsavers and John Lewis to the list of companies who choose to work with us.
Driving standards up. I mentioned our QA card earlier in this article and in another major step forward in the latter part of the year, CSCS agreed in principle to recognise the QA card under their smart card scheme.
Meaning that once the development work is complete, the continual professional development (CPD) that accompanies a QA card can be visible on all fitters CSCS cards who hold the accreditation and wish it to be displayed.
So now a CSCS card can become a passport or CV to record a fitter’s professional status.
The foundation of an (S)NVQ qualification, recorded on a blue CSCS card (that also provides health and safety awareness), backed up by ongoing CPD through the industry supported QA card scheme is we believe the standard that all should be driving for in flooring for fitters. Many seem to agree, which is perhaps why we signed up another 37 places on QA card courses only this week!
See www.fita.co.uk or contact the FITA office for further details of courses and funding.
The CFA summer ball, held in Glasgow, was perhaps one of the best we have seen for a number of years and again reflected a sector in recovery.
Publications in 2014 included our Member’s Handbook, Training Guide, Sustainability Guide and FITA prospectus, not forgetting our newsletters and email updates, which alongside our excellent and leading journal CFJ, keep members at the forefront of what’s important in the world of contract flooring.
Then to cap off an already exciting year, Harrogate burst back into life in September in a way that left me grinning from ear to ear. I’m not sure how many people attended the show, but I just know we were busier.
We actually signed up members at the CFJ / CFA stand, met a buying group for major universities and made some significant connections between organisations that approached us to find out who does what. Things usually die down a bit on the Tuesday, but not this year, we had more meetings and quality conversations.
Oh and of course FITA hosted two demo zones for the show this year, attracted crowds to Halls B and M and show cased some great products through demonstration of best fitting practice.
I recently watched a TED talk by Malcolm Gladwell who expressed a belief that success in business (life) is to a large extent about luck. The right place at the right time.
And so it probably is, but I also subscribe to maxim attributed to the famous golfer Gary Player when called ‘lucky’ after holing a particularly difficult shot. ‘It’s funny, but the harder I practice, the luckier I get’.
The council and wider CFA team to include many members and committees have done a great deal of planning and work to bring together some of the success that 2014 has brought. But we won’t be taking our eye of the ball, anything for granted or resting on our laurels.
We will continue to make our luck by constantly pushing projects forward and seeking opportunities to develop your trade association and the benefits we offer.
But just for a moment, I hope it will not have been seen as too self-indulgent to reflect on what I think has been an excellent year.
As a slightly less revered person used to say at the end of each episode of an 80’s action series ‘I love it when a plan comes together’.
As this is my last article in 2014, I will sign off by taking this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and prosperous new year on behalf of the CFA and FITA Councils and all the team at the CFA offices.
The CFA is a leading trade association representing the Flooring Industry. If you would like an application pack or further information on the benefits of membership, please visit our website: n www.cfa.org.uk
T: 0115 941 1126
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.