Essential Knowledge for Every Great Credit Manager
Success as a manager in the home furnishings credit industry requires a unique set of skills. While the goal is simple – to get products into retail stores and ultimately into the home of the consumer – there are plenty of potential hurdles along the way. A great credit manager in this industry knows not only how to analyze a spreadsheet, but also how to build relationships.
The Critical Link
Retail outlets are the critical link between home furnishings manufacturers and the end consumer. And, with more than 27,500 furniture stores in the United States, manufacturers have plenty of options when trying to find their ideal market.
It’s important for credit managers to build relationships directly with their retail partners. Ongoing engagement with the retailers will lead to more open communication and a better understanding of that retailer’s financial position. Making credit decisions can still be a challenge, but it is easier when the manager has a firm grasp of each store’s status.
Benefit from the Experience of Others
This is a time-honored method for improving job performance in any sector, and it certainly holds true here. The tremendous value offered by the FMCA comes from our community of credit professionals. There are hundreds of years of experience to be leveraged through our forums, networking events, and mentoring opportunities.
Even long-time furniture industry credit managers with many years of experience can continue to grow and learn through shared knowledge. Whether it is attending educational events to learn new trends and tools, or just building a few key relationships with others in a similar position, there is no way to accurately value the importance of these connections.
A Cohesive Team
In some organizations, the sales department seems to operate independently from the rest of the group. That disconnect is only going to make it harder for the business to serve customers and continue to grow. In home furnishings and furniture manufacturing, as is most other industries, the credit and sales departments should work closely together toward the same goals.
Sales reps are such an important asset for the credit department because they have frequent contact with the retail partners. Even if the credit manager has built a relationship with a retail store’s owner or manager, the sales rep is going to have many other connections that will further serve to strengthen ties between the two organizations.
Striking the Right Balance
Credit managers who move into the home furnishings industry from another sector are sometimes surprised to see how this market works. When a retail partner takes a 50% deposit on a sale, that money is often spent before the product is even shipped. In an industry where it is difficult to find ways to increase margin, credit managers have to remain flexible and willing to use some common sense when making decisions. Staying current with trends in the furniture industry can help managers think beyond the spreadsheet and work with retail partners to solve problems.
A Trusted Resource
One of the best ways to build relationships and access information in this industry is to turn to the Furniture Manufacturers Credit Association for guidance. Our members have many years of experience in this industry and countless lasting relationships have been formed under our umbrella. We encourage you to reach out today to learn more.
Smart People + Good Data = Better Credit Decisions
Sign up for FMCA! We’re a community of credit professionals who motivate and help our members succeed in their credit careers- whether just beginning or sharpening the axe with decades of experience.
We provide comprehensive credit reporting, collection services, industry leading educational opportunities, and a network of like-minded individuals to learn and grow with.
If you liked to see what we’re all about, sign up for a free trial to see for yourself! You get 3 free reports.