Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CRI Finds Success at BuildingsXchange

Werner Braun and I just completed our second foray into the event called BuildingsXchange, or, as I prefer to call it, speed-dating to impress. And once again, if you don’t mind me digressing back into my sports writing days, it was another home run!

The program is unlike any other that we participate in here at CRI. It is held every September in Park City, Utah with top facility executives with real needs coming together to meet with experienced solution providers like ourselves.

These are private hour-long meetings in an intimate setting and the meetings are pre-arranged. Every executive who meets with us has seen our profile and saw something in it that piqued their interest enough to sign up for a meeting.

Facility execs meet one-on-one with a filtered field of solution providers that are thoroughly briefed on needs and initiatives. It is our duty to come well prepared with solutions that challenge conventional wisdom and hopefully make their carpet purchasing decisions such a wonderful experience they always come back for more

One of the things that we know is most appealing to them is the fact CRI is unlike any of the other solution providers in that we don’t actually have a product that we are selling to these facility executives. We offer them intelligent and fact-based information; introduce them to our signature programs; and, in the end, always, but always come away with some builds ourselves.

There are only so many hours that can be utilized during this two-day event so the fact CRI was once again inundated with requests for meetings leaves us feeling as if we are doing something right here. Over the course of BuildingsXchange, we met with two major universities, six hospital and/or healthcare networks, and five corporations who own and/or manage millions of square feet of hospitality networks.

The hospital systems we met with were particularly productive in that we learned a lot about some of the new Medicare rules that are shaping the way hospitals are going to be operated in the future. The new buzz word in the medical field is hospital acquired infections. In other words, the germy things that produce stuff like staph infections in patients being cared for in hospitals. New legislation going into effect makes it so that any patient who comes down with a hospital acquired infection will be the sole financial responsibility of the hospital from the point the patient becomes infected. Talk about health care reform! We’re talking millions and millions of potential lost dollars for these hospitals.

Obviously these systems are taking a real look at how they operate and the things that can be done to prevent germs and spread of disease. We were asked several pointed questions about carpet’s role in a hospital, specifically about being able to sanitize them (fancy word for clean and maintain!). One of the major items on our agenda with all of the executives we met with was our Seal of Approval Program and what it means to their ability to sanitize (lol).

We came away with this new information and instead of our mills having to sit back and answer questions on this new legislation, now we can move forward with being proactive. One of the things that really resonated with the hospital execs was something that Werner said almost flippantly: “A floor is going to get dirty no matter whether it is a hard surface or a soft surface. We walk on it and it gets dirty. That’s what it does.” The key, of course, is proper cleaning with the right products, the right equipment, the right technician, and the right routine.

We offered up quite a bit of information to help these folks in specifying the right carpet for the right application through our Texture Appearance Retention Ratings (TARR) system, and to a person, they all got excited over these new tool in our arsenal. The TARR gives architects and designers a lot of freedom to deal with our member mills by simply asking that a carpet product, say for a hallway, has to meet a certain TARR rating which our mills can then show them the all products that meet that spec. In the end, the customer gets a carpet that it expects will last a certain number of years in durability and this ensures that it will.

A couple of other items that we brought back from Utah for consideration were a request to rate the walk-off mats that buildings utilize in entry ways as preventative measures. After all, not all walk-off mats are created equal. We were also asked about rating adhesives which we found interesting and will pass along to the Issues Management team to dissect.

Again, this was a great meeting and one we plan on doing again next year. What better way to talk to meaningful decision makers than to do it face-to-face!

~ James

P.S.: Here is a link to my previous post about BuildingsXchange: Talking Carpet During BuildingsXchange.

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Daniel said...

Sanitize is much more than a fancy word for clean and maintain. EPA set specific criteria on chemicals claiming to be carpet sanitizers. Cleaning for hygiene more than aesthetics is very important to the health care market segment. CRI must take the issue and intent of carpet sanitizing very seriously to effectively address the needs of this market.

Bethany Richmond said...

Daniel, here is a response from CRI President Werner Braun: "CRI understands and appreciates your comment. Rest assured that the CRI Cleaning and Maintenance Issues Managing Team is actively studying this issue. Thanks for your response, and let me know if you have any other questions."
Thanks, Daniel!

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