DPHA Conference Focuses on Training

DPHA Conference Focuses on Training

Washington, DC Training and technology were the hot topics among members of the Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association (DPHA) as the association kicked off its first annual conference, held here recently.

According to DPHA president Jeff Burton of The Bath and Beyond in San Francisco, CA, the conference far exceeded the association's expectations. "One of the most pleasant surprises was attendance," explained Burton.
Indeed, nearly a third of DPHA's members turned out to watch the Bethesda, MD-based DPHA unveil the first two installments of a multi-faceted training manual geared toward showroom staff, interior designers and others involved in the selection, specification and sale of decorative plumbing and hardware products.

The first two sections address faucets and finishes. The faucet manual outlines the basic operations of faucets and identifies and explains the differences in faucet styles; explains basic faucet technology; describes common materials used to manufacture faucets; and offers questions DPH sales professionals can use to help identify customer needs and preferences and help to ensure that these needs are met.

The question-and-answer section of the manual is designed to be used as a training tool to help assess the knowledge base of showroom staff, and pinpoint the exact areas where training is needed.

According to DPHA education committee chairperson Faye Norton of Designer Hardware by Fay in Oklahoma City, OK, "DPHA received tremendous support from more than 30 members who have agreed to provide source materials, graphics and/or technical review services for additional manual sections that include cabinet and door hardware; lav faucets; kitchen and bar faucets; kitchen, bar and utility sinks; deck and wall tubs and showers; shower doors; tubs; and porcelain products," to name a few.

DPHA also premiered its on-line product catalog, the DPHA Product Catalogue, which "enables manufacturers to place their entire product line on their public Web site without the cost or time typically required to develop specialized search engines or databases," claims DPHA technology committee chair David Goldberg of Union Hardware in Bethesda, MD.

Goldberg estimates that those DPHA members who take advantage of the product catalog can avoid having to spend $50,000 to $100,000 in Web development expenses, while being able to provide showrooms with information they need.

Additionally, the DPHA Conference offered an extensive educational program for attendees offering guidance on building a customer-service organization in showrooms, business practice roundtables and a keynote address that touched on how to boost your business' bottom line via increased operating efficiencies.

Furthermore, DPHA expanded its membership categories to include designers, architects, home builders and various professional trades.