Industry Q&A: Ron Conley of Floorco Discusses Next-Day Delivery Model
Floorco LLC, a privately owned global sourcing products and services provider headquartered in Baltimore, Md., recently launched a new division called Floorco Distribution. The new enterprise offers next-day delivery service of flooring products to the Mid-Atlantic region, including Central Maryland, Northern Virginia, Delaware, Central Pennsylvania, and Southern New Jersey.
Floorco Distribution will provide merchandising and customer service. The company inventories every product that it samples and merchandises so that retailers can have confidence that when placing an order, it will be available for next-day delivery. Along with carrying well-known floor covering brands, such as Mohawk, Beauflor and Bostik, Floorco Distribution is launching a private-label brand, Meridian Elevated Essentials. Meridian will feature assortments of carpet, hardwood, laminate and luxury vinyl floor with the newest technologies.
Floorco Distribution is run by a veteran of the flooring trade, Ron Conley, who has 35 years of experience in the industry. We recently spoke with Conley about the new distribution model.
Q. Why did you decide that now is the time to launch Floorco Distribution?
A. It seemed to be the right time in the Mid-Atlantic area to provide quality floor products at a reasonable price and be able to deliver orders with next-day service. Also, the ability to offer carpet, padding, as well as a range of hard surface products seems very important to our customer base.
Q. Why is next-day delivery so important in today’s market?
A. The major manufacturers keep the majority of their inventory in Georgia and further states west. Under optimal conditions, deliveries to the retail stores take anywhere from three to seven business days. The advent of shop at home and next-day installation has shown that today’s customer needs and wants product immediately. We at Floorco are able to provide that service with over 450 SKUs of carpet and 500 SKUs of hard surface product in inventory.
Q. Why do so few distributors offer next-day delivery?
A. It takes a tremendous amount of capital to be able to stock every SKU that a distributor shows. Also, a major commitment to warehousing and delivery to provide that next-day service. I believe that by providing this service, our customers will grow their business and we will become true partners.
Q. What were the key challenges you faced in setting up distribution to accommodate this timeline?
A. The challenge of coordinating implementation of an operating system, hiring of infrastructure, and hiring of sales personnel to be ready for product roll out was somewhat difficult. Thankfully with some veterans of the trade leading the launch of our distribution division with their expertise everything did come together very nicely and timely.
Q. How would you describe the retailers who benefit most from your services?
A. We initially benefit the store owners that are unable to stock larger quantities of flooring. We are also beneficial to every retailer because of the quality and pricing of the product lines that Floorco represents. We stock large quantities of something for every type of flooring dealer.
Q. Tell me more about the Meridian private label brand. Who is the target customer and what need does it answer in the marketplace?
A. We knew coming into a heavily seeded distribution market that we would need to set ourselves apart. Developing the Meridian private label brand allows us to offer the same or different type of floor covering products that nationally known brands offer but at a greater value. The latest research shows that consumers are more influenced by color, style and how well the product performs over brand recognition.
We strategically selected products for our program that meet our retailers and consumer’s needs—style, innovation, and outstanding performance. The Meridian branding is clean, concise, and fresh. Offering private labelled, quality products gives our retailer the advantage of not being “shopped” by the consumer that will visit multiple stores to find the best deal. Additionally, we stock every product we sample so this gives our retailers the benefit of quick ship. Their order can be there next day—no long waits—which is not offered by many of our competitors.