From showroom management to inventory control—and everything in between—flooring-specific software systems are helping retailers run their operations smoothly, and taking their businesses to the next level of profitability and efficiency.

“Software is a key differentiator for the most successful businesses,” said Greg Grady, director of business development of Dancik International. “Products are predominantly commodities, and people come and go, but if a business uses a great software system then they have a tremendous competitive advantage during robust times and perhaps even more so during difficult business cycles.”

Even with all hands on deck from well-versed sales, installation and management teams, the use of software systems is allowing retailers to manage their business more productively from all angles.

“Software saves time and money and helps retailers make wise business decisions. But the bottom line is that it builds profitability.”

“For dealers to compete nowadays they need to stay on top of everything,” said Dev O’Reilly, founder and CEO of RollMaster. “This includes every piece of inventory, every gross margin point and every client that walks through the door. This just isn’t possible without software.”

According to O’Reilly, RollMaster is a one-stop-shop for handling retailers’ turnkey solutions which address both hardware and software needs, and converges an operation’s back-office (accounting) with its front-office (sales and management).

Flooring-specific software’s ability to foster collaboration leads to efficiency and productivity, according to Chad Ogden, CEO and president of QFloors.

“Our software fosters collaboration, accountability, efficiency and productivity,” he said. “By streamlining operations, it allows you to do more work in fewer hours, and grow business without having to hire more employees. QFloors tracks sales, inventory, leads, customers, accounting, taxes, payroll, job costing, reports and more.”

While saving time is certainly a benefit, retailers saving money and increasing their profit with the help of software is the bottom line, according to Ogden.

“Software saves time and money and helps retailers make wise business decisions. But the bottom line is that it builds profitability. Last fall our CFO, Trent Ogden, conducted a study that compared QFloors customers’ [profitability] against published industry averages. The results happily surprised even us. The QFloors customers were twice as profitable as the industry averages for other similar-sized flooring businesses.”

Retailer Waylon Reeves of White River Flooring has seen just how QFloors’ software can help to increase an operation’s profit since he started using it in 2007.

“When it comes to helping my business, I will say QFloors and our dedication and commitment to structuring our business alongside QFloors’ common sense capabilities and ease of use is by far the number-one reason we have grown from a $600,000 gross sales-per-year company in 2007, to a seven-million gross sales-per-year company in 2015, while maintaining one store location,” he said. “There are other factors that also play a role in this tremendous growth over an eight-year period; however, QFloors and our commitment to using it to its fullest capabilities are the number-one reason.”

Size Doesn’t Matter

Flooring operations both big and small can benefit from the use of flooring-specific software. In fact, some companies have even created different versions of their software to cater to various business sizes.

“We have versions for small mom and pop dealers, and versions for the largest, complex multi-location operations,” said Ogden. “Our software works with all types of flooring businesses as well—retail, commercial, multi-family housing, new construction and more.”

Since starting in 1999 with a focus on small to mid-size operations, QFloors’ software has since evolved to meet the needs of larger companies as well. “Now we have all of the features to take care of the largest dealers in the flooring industry,” Ogden said.

Customizable systems, like those offered by RFMS, allow retailers to select services and programs that work for their business size and specific needs.“Our core system is enhanced with add-on modules that allow a business to create their own suite of programs that work the way they do business,” said Dave Dumoulin, director of sales for RFMS. “Additionally, the system can grow as the business grows. Many of our clients started off as a two- or three -user business and have over the years expanded in size and profitability. Many of our clients attribute some of their success to our proven flooring business model that combines proven software with flooring-specific business workflow training.”

Created by a retailer for retailers, RFMS was developed by Terry Wheat, president of the software company in 1984. At the time, Wheat needed a system that could accommodate the needs of his own flooring retail operation. Since then, advancements have been made to RFMS’ software, based on input from users and evolving technology.

As a retailer, Wheat knew firsthand the importance of ease of use when he created RFMS for himself. Today, users of the software are still praising its user-friendly system.

“RFMS has been user-friendly as far as learning and using the software,” said retailer Tom Cunningham, co-owner of DeSitter Flooring. Cunningham and his business partner Steve DeSitter began using RFMS’ software 22 years ago, and have since trained their sales staff to use the software as well.

“The litmus test is revealed in the percentage of our employees that utilize the software, and that would be almost 100%. This software company does a great job in offering users many different ways to learn their product. RFMS offers a users’ help desk supported by a well-designed web portal, on-site training, local seminars, a worldwide users’ conference every two years, one-on-one training via the web, webinars and study manuals, as well as YouTube videos.”

Training is key, and when it comes to QFloors, Ogden said customers should expect a strong support network, on-site training, monthly training seminars, expedited hardware support and Internet training.

Even with training, flooring software companies’ customer care and technical support teams are offering retailers additional peace of mind.

Melvin Ma, manager of ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings in Toronto, has used RFMS software to track orders every step of the way since 2001 with the help of RFMS’ customer support. “Technical support is second to none, and their response to concerns is quick and efficient,” he said.

As technology continues to evolve, so do flooring-specific software systems. For RollMaster, that meant switching from server-based software that was dealer managed, to cloud-based software.

“RollMaster began offering cloud services at Y2K, about 16 years ago. This has freed our dealers from IT expense, updates and unnecessary hardware,” said O’Reilly. “Besides business software hosting, these services include access from anywhere, off-site remote backup and disaster recovery.”

Similar to Google and Amazon, Dancik’s software system is based on service-oriented architecture (SOA), meaning customers may interface Dancik with other third-party applications through simple programs that get the two systems working in tandem.

Grady foresees enhancements in digital communication furthering the benefits of flooring-specific software like Dancik in the future. “Soon, capable software solutions will be able to transmit most any document a retailer is used to exchanging with their manufactures and/or distributors digitally,” he said.

Currently, QFloors is putting the finishing touches on QPro POS Plus, a cloud-based product that will allow the company’s user-friendly capabilities to be available in a browser-based cloud system, according to Ogden.

“We are currently underway in a huge effort to bring our software into the very latest cutting-edge web technologies,” he said.

No matter the size of the operation, it’s safe to say that investing in flooring-specific software is imperative to running an extremely competitive and successful operation.

“I strongly feel the advantages of any flooring-specific software outweighs the decision to stay with no software or to stay with generic, one-size-fits-all sales software,” added Reeves.