In January, Fishman Flooring Solutions named Ana Dimeo manager of its Architecture, Design and Facility (ADF) function. She and her team of consultants work with their clients to simplify, expedite and successfully complete the process of selecting and installing flooring in commercial and multifamily buildings. She recently shared her thoughts with Floor Trends on how her team adds value in the marketplace.
Floor Trends: You manage the Architect, Designer and Facility (ADF) consulting team for Fishman Flooring Solutions. What services do you and the members of your team provide?
Dimeo: The overarching goal of what we do is to make the day-to-day working lives of architects and designers easier. Our team adds value three ways:
First, we’re at our best when we work with architects, designers and others to evaluate a flooring project in its entirety and develop a well-conceived plan for every aspect of the installation.
Second, we’re always available to recommend solutions to unexpected problems that occur during a flooring installation.
Third, we spend a lot of time educating the marketplace about the products Fishman distributes and demonstrating how they add value. We’re also conversant in the sustainability aspects of these products, which is increasingly important in today’s eco-minded world.
Floor Trends: How is your team organized?
Dimeo: Our ADF team has five members, including me. Each of us is responsible for a specific geographic area in Fishman’s footprint, which essentially runs from Ohio and Pennsylvania down the Eastern Seaboard to Georgia. My territory, for example, is the Carolinas.
One thing that sets our team apart is that the five of us collectively have almost 100 years of experience in the flooring industry. So, we’ve pretty much seen it all when it comes to flooring and flooring installation. If one team member doesn’t know how to address a particular installation problem, the chances are very high that someone else on the team does.
Floor Trends: What would be a typical day for your team members?
Dimeo: Every day is different. One day, some of us could be selecting flooring and flooring installation products for a specific project and the next day you could find us working with Fishman’s marketing team to develop a cohesive presentation for architects and designers on the value of a certain product or products.
Floor Trends: At what point is it best for an architect or designer to involve an ADF consultant in a flooring installation project?
Dimeo: As early as possible! We provide the greatest value when we’re involved in the planning of a project from the beginning. That’s because flooring effects so many other aspects of the project from finishes to furnishings, so the sooner decisions about flooring are made the better, particularly in today’s construction environment where time is money.
Floor Trends: What’s involved in a typical flooring installation planning process?
Dimeo: The most successful flooring installation plans begin with an on-site, information gathering meeting with the project’s relevant decision makers. These may include the architect, interior designer, facility manager, project manager, floor covering installer, end-user and others. Among the many things that need to be discussed are the scale and scope of the project, the timeline, the condition of the substrate and the needs of the end user.
Armed with this information, the ADF consultant will draw a roadmap for efficiently and effectively handling every aspect of the installation, beginning with how to address any substrate problems and ending with an effective maintenance routine once the flooring is installed. Most importantly, the plan will specify the products that are best suited for the installation.
Floor Trends: You mentioned earlier that the goal of your ADF team is to make the lives of your clients easier. How does that play out?
Dimeo: We pride ourselves on being solutions providers. Some of those solutions are obvious, like recommending the right finished floor covering for a job or addressing headache-causing problems like moisture in the substrate or flooring transition issues. But some of the ways we can make the lives of our clients easier are not so obvious to everyone.
One place where we can add value is ensuring that the flooring-related products arrive at the job site on schedule. This is very important in today’s fast-track construction environment, because some installations require several types of flooring and 10 or more installation products. Keeping track of shipping dates and product arrivals on site can be difficult. When an ADF consultant handles that job, it removes a logistical burden from the architect, designer or project manager.
Another often overlooked benefit of working with ADF consultants is that we can more easily gather technical information and other data on all of the flooring and flooring installation products used in an installation, including product specification sheets, manufacturer warranties, safety data sheets and maintenance instructions, and get the information in the hands of the right people. This makes the lives of our clients easier, because gathering this information is very time consuming.
Floor Trends: Are there specific market segments, for example health care, where your team has expertise or do you add value across a variety of segments?
Dimeo: As an ADF team, we add value across all segments. Working at Fishman is great, because we get involved in projects in a variety of segments, including healthcare, education, multifamily, workplace and many more. That variety keeps things interesting.
Floor Trends: Do you think architects, designers and others take full advantage of ADF consultants, such as you and your team, who represent distributors?
Dimeo: We sometimes find it challenging to open doors in the architect and design communities, because we don’t work directly for product manufacturers. Architects and designers have limited time to meet with reps and they sometimes think that meeting with someone who works directly for the company that produces the product is more efficient.
But our relationships with architects and designers are based on trust built up over a period of time. Every time a designer or architect reaches out to our team and asks for help and we provide a solution, they trust us more.
Floor Trends: If you could convey one message to the marketplace about ADF consultants, what would it be?
Dimeo: Architects, designers and others are missing a golden opportunity when they don’t take advantage of our expertise, because we can save them time, money and needless headaches. And I’m not only referring to Fishman’s ADF team. There are plenty of other flooring and flooring supply distributors out there who provide ADF consulting services as well.