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Last Update: Monday September 20, 2021

Key Idea: Be Efficient

Every step in the process of creating and servicing a customer takes time and money.  Profits pile up when these processes are smooth.

Key Question:


You only make money when you can do the same thing over and over and make customers keep coming back for the same product or service.  If you can't do this, you'll have to charge very high prices which might work for you.  However, efficiency is a key to long-term success.

To control quality and to be efficient,  Jimmy  brings products in from all over the world but only uses one port of entry and one broker.  Even if the cost of freight from Europe to Miami is cheaper than it is from Europe to Tampa, it is still smarter for Jimmy to consolidate his receipt of shipments.  He is able to save on any ground shipping costs and he builds strong rapport with his broker who is working to protect him.

Should Jimmy be nervous that he has all of his eggs in one basket?

A: If he didn't trust the Tampa Port and his broker, he would not have formed such a close relationship. He wants long-term quality and profits that he believes will be achieved by sticking with the people he gives his business to. And he depends upon them to keep him abreast of changes in the law and new ways to do business globally.

Think about it

Would it help you manage prices and quality if you reduced the number of suppliers with whom you work?  Are there any steps in your sales and service process that could be eliminated, re-engineered or automated?

Clip from: Tile Connection - Jimmy Fand Sources Globally

Tampa: Meet Jimmy Fand and his wife, Maria. They were shopping for ceramic tile for a new home. Jimmy thought the selection in the USA was too limited and the prices were too high. So unlike most people, they started a business!

Their business, simply called The Tile Connection, is the largest North American importer of several tile manufacturers through Europe and South America.  Jimmy was born in Columbia (South America),  traveled the world extensively, and speaks Spanish, English, Italian and Portuguese. Jimmy came to New York City when he was 19, completed three university degrees, and became an American citizen. He met his wife, a Cuban-American.  They're a global people and they encourage us all to source globally!

The Tile Connection

Jimmy Fand, CEO

5906 Johns Rd
Tampa, FL 33634

Office: 813-885-2219

Business Classification:
Construction, Specialty Retail

Year Founded: 1991

Be Efficient

HATTIE: OK. We did a story earlier on about a customs broker in San Diego who moves goods back and forth. Is your broker one broker for all of this, or does each vendor that you work with, each manufacturer, have its broker?

JIMMY: OK. We are direct buyers. These are the factories that I deal with all over the world, and I specify my products. Inasmuch as the broker that we use to handle our paperwork, US Customs releases and so on, we use one broker in Tampa that has been here for generations, actually, and is a very good one.

HATTIE: So that makes it easy.

JIMMY: Absolutely.

HATTIE: One broker--many factories coming in, but one broker.

JIMMY: Right. You cannot do that all the time because if you bring merchandise to various ports in the country, it might be easier for you to work with local brokers, less expensive. But in our case, since we bring all the merchandise to the state of Florida, then we use one broker located in the city of Tampa.

HATTIE: How did you select your factories, your manufacturers? These products are beautiful.

JIMMY: We select the product lines that we want to work with based on the necessities of our market location. We do sell materials statewide and even out of the state, but in Florida I make myself fully aware of the needs of the market for these products. And in doing so, I try to be ahead of my competitors by bringing products that will be in line within the next year or two years from current styles. By doing so, I keep a step ahead of the competition, number one. But also in doing your research as to the marketplace, then you're able to select the products that you want to deal with.

Inasmuch as my clients, we do have salespeople that visit them, call upon them statewide, and that way we supply them with the samples or the necessities they have for these products.

HATTIE: So Tile Connection does have salespeople out across the state.

JIMMY: Yes. We do primarily wholesale statewide.

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