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Comparing notes with the clergy

Richard discovered, during a chat with Rev Richard Coles at the CFJ/CFA Awards, that the flooring sector and God’s ministry have more in common than you might at first suspect…

I WAS fortunate to meet the Rev Richard Coles at the recent and magnificent CFJ/CFA Awards. He of the Communards kids … Google or ask your mum or dad. During the time we spent chatting, I was amused (in an ironic way) when he explained that one of his main roles as a vicar of a parish, is raising a lot of funds for the upkeep of a historic building. The old joke about the church roof fund seems to be true.

Indeed, although he clearly loves his church, the Rev Coles said he probably spends more time fundraising than his other duties. I summarised them as hatching, matching, and despatching, and he used this in his speech.

The odd thing was that it struck a note with me in terms of the flooring world and indeed how much time we all now spend on matters that are not actually directly connected to the supply or installation of contract flooring. The admin and red tape is overwhelming ‘and not getting better’ I hear you cry.

One role of the CFA is to ensure we provide as much support as possible for our members to navigate red tape and indeed where possible reduce it. If we can’t reduce or remove it, at least help members to quickly find best practice and save time.

Each month we send a newsletter out that provides members with industry intelligence, news, and tips. I wonder if the church does the same thing for vicars? I wish I’d asked.
Another obvious benefit of CFA membership is our online member directory and handbook. Our website gets about 2000 hits a month and the latest edition of our hard copy handbook was provided with last month’s issue of CFJ. Helping members win profitable business. Additional copies are available if you need them.

I’ve reproduced here part of my introduction from the first few pages of the handbook, because the issue the Rev Richard Coles and contract flooring companies share, affects everyone. Therefore, using the CFA to find a flooring partner that can make life easier, avoid unnecessary red tape and costly mistakes is something of a unique selling point which CFA can offer to clients and members.

‘… Coronavirus has not left us yet and managing material supplies and skills and labour shortages are problems that many industries now face. Even deliveries are affected by a significant shortfall in the number of lorry drivers available and we are still far from understanding all the ripples that will reach us as a consequence of Brexit. We are feeding back constantly to government on pressure points and then back to members where solutions are found.

Alongside these new challenges, CFA has continued to support the development of new British Standards and we were delighted to see the publication of a revised version of the BS 5325 for the installation of textile floorcoverings. One of the proudest moments of my career at the CFA happened with a slightly muted fanfare earlier this year (because of Covid-19) when our training organisation FITA (www.fita.co.uk) started to deliver apprenticeships. This was in addition to a range of standard courses and digital content developed as a response to periods where in-person training was not possible.

Most of this is somewhat irrelevant to you the client, but vitally important that those you work with understand all of these areas and have access to support. Contract flooring is not a highly regulated industry. Companies that join the CFA are subject to a vetting process and annual audit to ensure they continue to meet our standards. Members then receive regular updates and support to ensure they can be agile, problem solvers, deliver best practice, a quality service and what you need as quickly as possible …’

The CFA is a leading trade association representing the flooring industry. If you’d like to benefit from the marketing that CFA carries out to promote our members, including the hard copy and online directories, we’d be pleased to send you an application pack with further information on the wider benefits of membership.
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