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Last Update: Wednesday March 20, 2019

Key Idea: Focus On Quality Products and Quality Relationships

Jimmy searched the world to find the factories who would ship him tile that he is proud to sell.

Key Question:


Jimmy Fand searched searched the world.  He went in person to many factories to find the ones that could ship him quality products consistently and to form a personal relationship with the owners or leadership in those companies.

He knows his market, which is mainly Florida, and went to the countries that have similar weather.

Q:  How many tile makers does Jimmy have to choose from and how many does he do business with?

A: There are about 1,000 factories in Europe and he only works with about 50 of them. The fact is, for tile to be shipped around the world, it must be durable enough to stand up to the stress of the trip; and, the factories must be large enough to provide the quantities he needs.

  How does he manage the payment part of the relationship.

  He said that when he started he didn't have lines of credit with his suppliers so he had to come up with downpayments. to convince the supplier that he would be an excellent customer.   However, today he places orders and through his bank the suppliers are paid by electronic transfer of funds.

Q:  What does Jimmy do to keep his suppliers happy?

He pays on time. Over the years he has established an excellent credit rating all over the world. Any tile factory will ship to The Tile Connection without advance payment. However, when Jimmy has verified that the shipment is accurate, the supplier is paid immediately. He said, "This is sacred. The money is not mine once I have the product. It belongs to the factory that shipped the tile in good faith."

In addition to paying in a timely fashion, Jimmy visits the factories and has made friends with the people from whom he buys. Nothing can take the place of knowing people personally. He also warns, " If you don't know the people you are dealing with, you could lose your money."

Think about it

Is there a weak link in your supply chain?  Is it time for you to upgrade?

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

Focus On Quality Products and Quality Relationships

HATTIE: (Voiceover) In Jimmy's and Maria's home, of course, we found file everywhere.

JIMMY: This particular tile is called porcelain tile. The reason that it was selected for this house is that it goes with the decoration, the overall color scheme of the house. And no matter how much traffic you have, it will last you forever.

It's also a very hygienic product to use. Bacteria doesn't grow on these products. Maintenancewise, it's probably the easiest flooring or walls to maintain for that matter. You don't need to use chemicals. You should not use any chemicals to clean these products. Good ceramic tile you should swept--sweep--excuse me--or vacuum, whenever necessary, to protect it from sand primarily, which is the number one cause for scratch in the flooring; sand being quartz material, a very strong mineral. We make sandpaper with.

But the cleaning should be done with mopping those floors with clean water; warm water if you need to remove some extra dirt or adding detergent to the water to break up grease or any other dirt. Just maintain your floors or walls the same way you clean your dishes, same products. It's ceramic just the same.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Why does it have to be imported?

JIMMY: Well, we have a variety of products that are not manufactured here in the States, or that if it's manufactured in the States by the few companies that we have here in North America, the quantities are too limited for the styles we want. Europe especially has excellent variety of products, and the prices are actually lower than they can produce them here in the States. So I select my manufacturers based on their quality controls of the product lines, the availability of the products and, of course, the pricing that we're able to obtain them from.

These are manufacturers that produce excellent-quality material, and they're very reliable. I don't want to deal with factories that are not reliable or that do not produce the quality that we need to have.

HATTIE: What do you do to keep the suppliers happy?

JIMMY: I make sure that the products are well represented in our market area, number one. Inasmuch as paying them for those products that they're sending us, I'm in a position that I don't open any letters of credit to any distributor, factory, that sends us merchandise. We don't have to pay ahead of time. We have an excellent credit rating with factories all over the world, and you build that up. It doesn't come at first. You must build it up. But when we pay them, we pay them in time. That, to me, is sacred. That money doesn't belong to us. It belongs to a supplier, who in turn's going to need that money to pay their employees as well as the material suppliers to them.

So we make sure that, through the international division of the bank that I deal with, any moneys that are sent to them are sent via swift--that's bank to bank--and are paid the day they are due.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Jimmy thinks more of us should be doing business internationally.

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