Archive | March, 2014

Fabricator Profile: Sims-Lohman

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Fabricator Profile: Sims-Lohman

Posted on 28 March 2014 by CRadmin2

sl1-300x200Sims-Lohman has worked hard to develop a reputation for quick turnaround on customer orders. Each order is guaranteed to be completed and installed within five days regardless which of the 12 locations in four states is taking the order and no matter how busy the schedule is at the time. The fact that four of the locations are fabrication facilities helps the company to accomplish this. John Beiersdorfer, president of the company, which is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, states that the purpose of this policy is to prove that Sims-Lohman delivers on its promises.

The executives at Sims-Lohman built the company based on rapid expansion by acquiring businesses in related markets and improving the efficiency of operations. This makes the business, as a whole, more profitable, and it translates directly to into savings and improvement of the customer experience.

At present, the company operates four fabrication facilities and eight showrooms for a total of 270,000 sq. ft. of space, and plans are already underway to add more in the immediate future. More than 300 employees work diligently to fabricate and install approximately 50 countertops per day, and they also complete cabinetwork for most jobs. The primary customers of Sims-Lohman are new construction builders, but they have recently diversified to include high-end remodelers.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here.

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Regulating the Countertop Industry: Make Your Voice Heard

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Regulating the Countertop Industry: Make Your Voice Heard

Posted on 27 March 2014 by CRadmin2

The proposed change in the silica dust exposure limits by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that was announced August 23, 2013 has been big news in the countertop fabrication industry, but it is not be too late to provide input. The open debate began on March 25 and is slated to run until April 1, so there is still time to have your voice heard.

Although the executive vice president of the Marble Institute of America (MIA) has stated that MIA considers itself partners with OSHA and strongly believes that safety in the workplace is of utmost importance, the organization is fighting against the proposed rule change. The MIA has also put together a comprehensive resource detailing how fabricators can educate themselves about the dangers of silica, how to prevent and control worker exposure, how to prepare for the rule change and how to prepare for a visit from OSHA.

The MIA has stressed that the ultimate success of this effort lies on the ability of those in the natural-stone industries to speak with a unified voice, and it appears that a new, yet possibly controversial, avenue to react to the change has just been presented by the National Institute of Occupational Safety (NIOSH) through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

On March 18, an article detailing the hazards of silica specifically from engineered stone countertops was published by NIOSH on the CDC website. This was the same date that hearings on the proposed silica rule change opened. The article details how silica exposure may lead to the incurable disease silicosis, but it has also given fabricators fuel for the debate and presented an invitation to help the them and OSHA learn more about how silica exposure is currently being handled.

While the seriousness of silicosis cannot be argued, the article only cites studies conducted in Spain and Israel, and the NIOSH admits, “No reported cases of silicosis in the U.S. have been linked to quartz surfacing materials.” However, several recent OSHA inspections have documented overexposures from both natural stone and engineered stone fabrication facilities. It is these overexposure reports that have led the MIA to call upon all fabricators to ensure that they comply with the standards according to the law. If fabricators can show that they are taking the proper precautions, the administration will be more apt to delay or halt the proposed change.

In addition, the NIOSH has issued a statement admitting that very little is known about how the quartz countertop segment of the industry is dealing with the hazard of silica exposure. It is calling for quartz fabricators to voluntarily submit a request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) so that the hazard can be more closely studied in a state-of-the-art fabrication facility.

At present, it is unknown whether any fabricators have stepped up to the task, but if none have so far, it is quite understandable why they haven’t. No one wants to invite a wolf inside his or her home, but this may be an opportunity for the quartz countertop industry to show that adequate measures are already in place and are very effective. This could show the government that the countertop industry can regulate itself and protect its workers without the need for further or stricter regulations.

While many would be inclined to believe that inviting the NIOSH into their facilities is an invitation for trouble, the possibility does exist that this may benefit the company and the industry as a whole. We are interested to hear the opinions of quartz fabricators about volunteering for HHEs and the possible benefits and drawbacks of voluntarily submitting to an evaluation. For further information, fabricators may visit the HHE program Web page.

In addition, fabricators should be aware that there is still time to enter public opinions on the matter and that post-hearing comments may be made up to 45 days after the public hearings have transpired. For more information on how to voice your opinion on the matter, visit the OSHA Web page on silica and click on the tab labeled Public Participation. Also, feel free to comment on this blog page or email us at info@countertopresource.com to provide us with feedback on this important issue.

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How Postformed Laminate Countertops Are Made

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How Postformed Laminate Countertops Are Made

Posted on 26 March 2014 by cradmin

We ran across this video put out by VT Industries, a large supplier of postformed laminate countertops, that shows the process they use for making postformed tops. While the video is a bit promotional, focusing on the things that seem to set this company apart from others, there is some good content here.

The video shows hows the subtops are made, some interesting edging options, glue-up of the laminate to the subtop, heating and forming the edges, creating cove-type backsplashes and more. If you are curious about the process, or just this large fabricator’s process, this video is worth a watch.

One thing that seemed of particular interest was how the company focused on the “green” aspects of its countertops – from the (pre-consumer) recycled particle board substrate to the no-formaldehyde-added adhesive used – a definite sign of the times.

If you have a video you think we should share, of know of one, please send us a link at info@countertopresource.com and we’ll take a look.

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Formica Adds to 180fx Laminate Collection

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Formica Adds to 180fx Laminate Collection

Posted on 25 March 2014 by cradmin

formica Red DragonFormica Corporation has added four new colors that have the look of granites to its best-selling 180fx laminate collection. The 180fx laminates are made to capture the beautiful detail and veining of high-end, exotic surfaces but with the attributes of laminate. The new colors are Red Dragon (pictured here), an exotic red with dramatic veining and gray crystals; Lapidus Brown, a granite that features gold tones and iron veining highlighted by creamy white crystals and gray and black pebbles; Magma Black, a dramatic stone with a liquid lava appearance; and River Gold, a creamy-white granite with linear veins of gold and gray highlighted by brown crystals.

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KBIS Draws More Than 31,000 to 2014 Show

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KBIS Draws More Than 31,000 to 2014 Show

Posted on 24 March 2014 by cradmin

The dust has settled and the totals are in for the 2014 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), which took place in February in Las Vegas. According to a release from the organizers, 31,092 industry professionals were in attendance – nearly a 145 percent increase over the 2013 show in New Orleans. This year KBIS collocated for the first time under the umbrella of Design & Construction Week with the International Builders’ Show (IBS), owned by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and VISION 2014, the International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE). KBIS, which is owned by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), also attracted 500 exhibitors. The show has reportedly already booked more exhibit space for KBIS 2015 than was sold in all of 2014. To accommodate the increasing demand, another 500,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space has been added for the 2015 event. KBIS will now encompass the North and South Halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

KBIS 2015 will take place January 20-22, 2015, in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV, collocating again with the International Builders’ Show (IBS) and VISION 2015 (IWCE) under the banner of Design & Construction Week. Additionally, StonExpo will be going on at the same time (January 20-23) at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

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Elkay Crosstown Series Offers 9 Sinks in Apron-front and Undermount Versions

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Elkay Crosstown Series Offers 9 Sinks in Apron-front and Undermount Versions

Posted on 21 March 2014 by cradmin

Elkay_CrosstownSinkElkay offers nine Crosstown sink models that feature hand-fabrication with a commercial look many homeowners desire. Two of the Crosstown apron-front style sinks have a new installation option for which a modified sink base cabinet to house these semi-exposed models is not required. The new apron design uses a sink front that slips over the front edge of the sink base cabinet, making installation easier and allowing for retro-fitting. All of the models in the series have a 17-in. front-to-back bowl dimension, providing maximum space while allowing for a standard faucet installation. Each sink is 9 in. deep, has 15 mm corners for easy cleaning and an undercoating that dampens sound and reduces condensation. They are made with 18-gauge, type 304 stainless steel. Custom-fit stainless steel wire grids are also available for them.

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Effective Leadership and Teamwork

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Effective Leadership and Teamwork

Posted on 20 March 2014 by CRadmin2

When you are at your countertop business, do you get frustrated because things don’t seem to be happening the way they’re supposed to be? Maybe you see people milling around, but nothing getting accomplished. In the daily hustle and bustle, do you feel that your goals as as business owner or manager remain just that – goals? Then maybe it’s time to do something about it.

Two of the best ways to control your business is through effective leadership and teamwork. Most people are content to stand around listening to orders, and it isn’t unusual to adopt a follow-the-leader mentality. When you feel the desire to make things happen – to be the head, not the tail – leadership must be asserted, but as a matter of hierarchy and stability in teamwork.

Some people believe that great leaders are just born that way. It may be true that some people are born with a natural talent for leadership, but without practice, drive, enthusiasm and experience, there can be no true development. Good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their natural skills, and this takes a commitment to constantly improve your business.

To be a leader, one must be able to influence others to accomplish a goal or an objective. However, a leader contributes to the organization and the cohesion of the group through teamwork. Contrary to what most people who are not leaders believe, leadership is not about power. Nor is it about harassing people or intimidating them. It is about encouraging them towards the goal of the organization. It is putting everyone on the same page and helping them see the big picture of the organization.

People follow others when they see a clear sense of purpose. People will only follow you if they see that you know where you are going. Remember the bumper sticker that says, “Don’t follow me, I’m lost too?” The same holds true for leadership. If you don’t know where you’re headed, chances are that people won’t follow you. You must know the vision of your organization. Having a clear sense of hierarchy, knowing who the key staff are, who to talk to, your business’s goals and objectives and how the organization works is the only way to show others that you know what you’re doing.

Being a leader is about who you are, what you know and what you do. You are a reflection of what your subordinates must be. Studies have shown that one of the hallmarks of good leadership is the trust and confidence of your employees and subordinates. If they trust you, they will go through hell and high water for you and for the company.

Trust and confidence is built on good relationships and high ethics. The way you deal with your people and the relationships you build with them will lay the foundation for the strength of your group. The stronger your relationship, the stronger their trust and confidence is in your capabilities. Once you have their trust and confidence, it is much easier to communicate the goals and objectives you wish to undertake, and have that endeavor be a successful one.

Communication is a very important key to good leadership. Without this, you cannot be a good leader. The knowledge and technical expertise you have must be clearly imparted to other people. In addition, you cannot be a good leader unless you have good judgment. You must be able to assess situations, weigh the pros and cons of any decision and actively seek out a solution. It is this judgment that your staff will come to rely upon. Therefore, good decision-making is vital to the success of the business.

Leaders are not always do-it-all heroes. Effective leaders do not claim to know everything, and you should not rely upon your skills alone. You should recognize and take advantage of the skills and talents your staff has. Only when you come to this realization will you be able to work as one cohesive unit.

Being a leader takes a great deal of work and time. It is not skill most people learn overnight. It takes practice, the application of experience and wisdom and good business sense. In addition, leadership is not about just you. It is about you and the people around you.

 

Article Source: Articleology.com

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Vetrazzo Launches 4 New Colors Containing Oyster Shells

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Vetrazzo Launches 4 New Colors Containing Oyster Shells

Posted on 19 March 2014 by cradmin

vetrazzo Emerald CoastVetrazzo introduced four new colors in its Coastal Collection that contain oyster shells and Georgia White Marble in addition to recycled glass in a white/gray cementitious matrix. The new colors are as follows: Emerald Coast (pictured here), which also contains  blue-green glass particulates; Bretagne Blue, which also has various shades of blue architectural float glass; Amethystos, which includes light violet glass particulate; and Umbo White, which has clear and some multi-colored recycled glass particles. Slabs of the material come in a thickness of 3cm.

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Backlit Onyx, Solid Surface Applications

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Backlit Onyx, Solid Surface Applications

Posted on 18 March 2014 by cradmin

This video, put out by Nu World Distribution, shows a variety of countertop and various other backlit applications using onyx and solid surface. The company that made the video offers custom LED light strips and panels, so it is a bit promotional. However, it pretty much focuses on showing all of the various examples of what can be done with lighting to make a kitchen, bath or other project really unique and stand out.

While not all of the applications are countertop-related, there are enough ideas here to interest anyone in the countertop business.

As always, if  you have videos of interest to the industry or know of any, please send us a link at info@countertopresource.com, and we will consider them for posting.

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MIA Releases Results of 2013 Fabricator Benchmarking Survey

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MIA Releases Results of 2013 Fabricator Benchmarking Survey

Posted on 17 March 2014 by cradmin

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has released the results of its recent Fabricator Benchmarking Survey. The MIA solicited input from North America fabricators during the fourth quarter of 2013. The 2013 study was made possible by a grant received from Cosentino and KOHLER. Each participating fabricator received a confidential report detailing their individual company information with comparisons to the information included in this report. Fabricator participation was free and the report received a record 255 participants, which the association credits to promotions by industry media, as well as collaboration with the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) and Stone Fabricators Alliance (SFA).

While the survey questions were posed to fabricators, the report offers relevant information for suppliers and international companies seeking information about the North American market. The report also highlights key differences between fabricators operating manual versus automated production facilities. The results of this study are posted by the MIA’s Industry Research and Information Department on the MIA’s online industry statistics web portal. An executive summary of the MIA fabricator benchmarking survey results can be downloaded here.

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