Floor Covering Weekly — October 14, 2013
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Mannington brings LVT home
Santiago Montero

Customer service is the ultimate goal

Mannington has started what is expected to be a $50 million expansion project in its facility here that will consolidate much of its total LVT production — both commercial and residential — in the U.S. while at the same time improving customer service levels and product availability. The facility is expected to be fully operational by January 2015.

Originally the manufacturing facility for Amtico was acquired by Mannington in March of last year. The expansion will quadruple the capacity of this plant when completed. The addition of a distribution facility is already on the drawing board.

“This story really is about our core values — taking control of our own destiny and our commitment to U.S. manufacturing — plus improving service to our customers,” said Russell Grizzle, president and CEO, Mannington Mills. “We are making investments to provide better service in a very fast growing category.”

The challenge, he said, was to improve customer service levels with a product that has a lot of esthetic options for residential and commercial product lines and a long supply chain. “It is difficult to control that to the service levels we aspire to bring,” he said.

Right now, Mannington offers LVT under its Mannington Commercial banner as well as Adura in residential, plus Amtico’s full line, including its Spacia collection. “When we make product in the U.S., we can turn orders to ship in about 14 days,” he said. “When we have a supply chain from an off shore source, it takes about 16 week lead time. Trying to provide exceptional service from offshore makes it a challenge. Only way you can do it with massive inventory levels and even then you can’t speculate at an individual SKU level for the entire range of product we offer.”

American made
The expansion will bring some 219 jobs to the state of Georgia over the next few years, jobs that are currently offshore.

“We have a highly skilled workforce in Madison that has been doing LVT for a long time and doing it well, with great quality and great service,” said Grizzle. “The state of Georgia has the infrastructure, easy transportation, a great port system through Savannah and great logistics around Atlanta airport plus an inexpensive and consistent power supply.”

In addition, Georgia offers its Quickstart training program which provides free training to qualified businesses in the state. Quickstart develops customized programs that help train employees throughout the organization and is recognized as a world-class program for employee training and development.

“Mannington’s decision to grow its business here in Georgia is a direct reflection on the high quality of our workforce and the ease of access we provide to its global markets,” said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.

“We are very excited, particularly for the opportunity of fulfilling our legacy of being dedicated to local communities and local economies and U.S. manufacturing jobs,” said Grizzle.

Going green
Building on the success of its LOOP reclamation and recycling system — for which the company won a GreenStep Environmental Award this year — Mannington will launch what it thinks is the industry’s first take back program for LVT. The company will reclaim LVT and recycle it back into new LVT products through a closed loop system. It is also exploring several innovative options to further enhance its position as an industry environmental leader.

Overseas expansion
Mannington further announced a major expansion of Amtico’s United Kingdom plant. Amtico operates in a slightly different way overseas than here at home. Throughout the U.K., Amtico is a very well-known manufacturer of high-design residential LVT as well as a commercial supplier in both the U.K. and throughout the Eurozone.

Grizzle said, “This is a great partnership. Amtico brought us a skill base that is letting us do this expansion here at home and we are providing some capital they needed for their expansion where we took their operations vertical as well as to onshore jobs back in the U.K.”

This expansion comes at a time when many other industry leaders are also investing heavily for the future and is reflective of Mannington’s sense of strong pent-up demand and growth ahead. (See FCW, Sept. 30, 2013.)

“Mannington is proud to be the leading LVT manufacturer in the world, and this expansion will further secure that position. We’re especially excited that we are expanding domestically, onshoring jobs from China and investing in the U.S. economy,” said Grizzle.