Floor Covering Weekly October 14, 2013 : Page 1

Vol. 62 No. 19 A Hearst Business Publication October 14, 2013 $4 Vinnie Virga shares his Big Bob’s journey F LOOR C OVERING W EEKLY The Industry’s Business News & Information Resource Design ooring, he said, includes real-istic visuals, mixed widths and lengths and design strips which dealers merchandise along with the ooring that allows for unique installations. During Floor Covering Weekly’s time with Mellow, he took a few minutes to create a unique ooring pattern using the strips. “ is is not a big to-do but it di erentiates you and makes you a ooring expert,” he said. Mellow points to the stone and wood visu-als as examples of what the company is capa-ble of doing. “ is stu is so beautiful. We are top-of-the-line design. Our strategy is to go to market with point of sale. at is how we have to increase our share of the market. We aren’t going direct to consumer, so the way to do it is to go to the people that are selling your stu and train them and get them to buy in — and they do, once they see this stu .” An important part of the company’s mes-saging is its sales reps because the company does not, with little exception, use distribu-tion but rather goes straight to dealers. Also spending time here at the Export, Pa. facility was a handful of the company’s 40-some sales reps going through a sales boot camp. Boot camps are held throughout the year to train the sales force on everything Karndean so that they can e ectively work with dealers. “At least once a year you have to train them. You just can’t assume they know. We want them known as experts,” Mellow explained. “And the sales people need to go in and train the people on the oor.” e company has simple display systems for each level of retailer — platinum at the top, then gold and silver. Within the dis-play, there is a good, better, best structure. e popular Knight Tile collection is at a starting price point for the company, then Da Vinci, then Opus. “As you go up the line, the wearlayer is better,” he said. “We want retailers to buy into the program through training and understanding they can make 3 Karndean sharpens design focus By Amy Joyce Rush [E, P.] is year, Karndean Design-ooring changed its name (it was Karndean International), internally restructured its marketing functions and, under the direction of Emil Mellow, its recently appointed senior vice president of marketing, set out to let its market position be known and better under-stood by key dealers. Its position is that of a design house that brings unique and custom luxury vinyl tile (LVT) products to dealers in a simple, straightforward way. And, according to Mellow, key targets for the company include helping people understand the company’s design position and providing the point of sale collateral to support the e ort. Plus, he said, the company is looking to refresh all of its collections, introducing new designs twice a year — January and Sep-tember. “One big push is making sure that people understand we sell design ooring,” Mellow noted. Mannington brings LVT home Customer service is the ultimate goal By Santiago Montero [M, G] Mannington has started what is expected to be a $50 million expansion proj-ect 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. e 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. e expansion will qua-druple the capacity of this plant when com-pleted. e addition of a distribution facility is already on the drawing board. “ is 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 Rus-sell Grizzle, president and CEO, Mannington Mills. “We are making investments to provide better service in a very fast growing category.” e 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 di cult to control that to the service levels we aspire to bring,” he said. Right now, Mannington o ers LVT under its Mannington Commercial banner as well as Continued on page 6 Mannington celebrates the groundbreaking for its Madison, Ga., LVT plant expansion project. Roger Farabee balances form & function tile and resilient products. He oversees Unilin brands, including Quick-Step, Roger Farabee said he got his rst job in the Pergo, Columbia and Century, which are distributed through ooring industry by acci-specialty retail, builder, dent. at rst position home centers and other might have been serendip-national accounts. itous, but the next 21 years It all started in 1985, have been guided by hard when, a er completing an work, concentration and MBA in marketing at the the ability to juggle multiple University of North Caro-products and tasks. lina at Chapel Hill, Farabee Currently, Farabee went to work in advertising. is senior vice president, He recalled, “In 1992, a marketing for Mohawk co-worker, who had le to Hard Surfaces and Unilin work for Mannington, called Flooring. He is responsi-to talk about a candidate for ble for residential hard-wood, laminate, ceramic Roger Farabee Continued on page 20 By Janet Herlihy Emil Mellow, vice president of marketing, Karndean Designfl ooring Continued on page 10 P e r i o d i c a l For breaking news updated each business day, visit us online at www.fcw1.com

Karndean sharpens design focus

Amy Joyce Rush


This year, Karndean Design- flooring changed its name (it was Karndean International), internally restructured its marketing functions and, under the direction of Emil Mellow, its recently appointed senior vice president of marketing, set out to let its market position be known and better understood by key dealers.

Its position is that of a design house that brings unique and custom luxury vinyl tile (LVT) products to dealers in a simple, straightforward way. And, according to Mellow, key targets for the company include helping people understand the company’s design position and providing the point of sale collateral to support the effort.

Plus, he said, the company is looking to refresh all of its collections, introducing new designs twice a year — January and September. “One big push is making sure that people understand we sell design flooring,” Mellow noted.

Design flooring, he said, includes realistic visuals, mixed widths and lengths and design strips which dealers merchandise along with the flooring that allows for unique installations.

During Floor Covering Weekly’s time with Mellow, he took a few minutes to create a unique flooring pattern using the strips. “This is not a big to-do but it differentiates you and makes you a flooring expert,” he said.

Mellow points to the stone and wood visuals as examples of what the company is capable of doing. “This stuffis so beautiful. We are top-of-the-line design. Our strategy is to go to market with point of sale. That is how we have to increase our share of the market. We aren’t going direct to consumer, so the way to do it is to go to the people that are selling your stuff and train them and get them to buy in — and they do, once they see this stuff.”

An important part of the company’s messaging is its sales reps because the company does not, with little exception, use distribution but rather goes straight to dealers. Also spending time here at the Export, Pa. facility was a handful of the company’s 40-some sales reps going through a sales boot camp. Boot camps are held throughout the year to train the sales force on everything Karndean so that they can effectively work with dealers.

“At least once a year you have to train them. You just can’t assume they know. We want them known as experts,” Mellow explained. “And the sales people need to go in and train the people on the floor.”

The company has simple display systems for each level of retailer — platinum at the top, then gold and silver. Within the display, there is a good, better, best structure.The popular Knight Tile collection is at a starting price point for the company, then Da Vinci, then Opus. “As you go up the line, the wearlayer is better,” he said. “We want retailers to buy into the program through training and understanding they can make their margins and the call-back on our stuff is minimal — very few claims. The wearlayer is good; the product that goes out is good.”

Part of the company’s growth strategy is a move into the South American market. There, because the residential market is “tough to tackle,” according to Mellow, it goes through distribution. “We are opening up that marketplace. There is a huge uptick there,” he said.

Karndean Designflooring’s business is supported by three domestic facilities that house both showrooms and warehouse space — all have a similar footprint as well as the facility in the U.K. and other worldwide locations. Here in Export, it is 60,000 square feet; in Dallas it is about 80,000 square feet and in Vegas, it is 40,000 square feet. “Everything comes into these three locations. We are committed to stocking product.”

Another part of the company’s strategy was a name change earlier this year — changing from Karndean International to Karndean Designflooring. It was just one indicator of the company’s sharp focus.

“Karndean didn’t mean anything. Designflooring automatically tells people what we do and it is because it is more than just flooring, it’s choices. The cool thing now is that LVT has broken the barrier — people aren’t afraid of LVT anymore. And we’ve been doing this for 40 years and have been around the block a bit. Our philosophy is we will not compromise our quality. We are not gonna have a race to the bottom and not go into the big box and discount it to the point of hurting our retail business and that is just not what we are going to do.”

Read the full article at http://bt.e-ditionsbyfry.com/article/Karndean+sharpens+design+focus/1530857/178830/article.html.

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.

Read the full article at http://bt.e-ditionsbyfry.com/article/Mannington+brings+LVT+home/1530858/178830/article.html.

Roger Farabee balances form & function

Janet Herlihy


Roger Farabee said he got his first job in the flooring industry by accident. That first position might have been serendipitous, but the next 21 years have been guided by hard work, concentration and the ability to juggle multiple products and tasks.

Currently, Farabee is senior vice president, marketing for Mohawk Hard Surfaces and Unilin Flooring. He is responsible for residential hardwood, laminate, ceramic tile and resilient products. He oversees Unilin brands, including Quick-Step, Pergo, Columbia and Century, which are distributed through specialty retail, builder, home centers and other national accounts.

It all started in 1985, when, after completing an MBA in marketing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Farabee went to work in advertising. He recalled, “In 1992, a co-worker, who had left to work for Mannington, called to talk about a candidate for a job. The job description piqued my interest and I said, ‘It’s a better fit for me.’ ”

Farabee soon left advertising and joined Mannington as a marketing analyst and became its first product manager for residential resilient.

Moving to Dal-Tile in 1995, Farabee invented a dual role of product management and marketing that continues to bring him satisfaction through a constant evolution of fashion and product.

“I like my job,” Farabee stressed. “There’s a new challenge every day. We are always trying to come up with something new, different and meaningful. It’s very satisfying to understand what the needs are, develop products that will meet those needs and then, get them to the consumer through communication and merchandising,” he reported.

Balancing form and function
Being a product manager consists of understanding what the consumer is looking for in a product, what price they will be willing to pay for it, and then creating it. Farabee explained, “It’s a bundle of functional and decorative attributes that are then turned into a product. I remind my team daily that we are in a fashion business. How our floors make people ‘feel’ in their homes, determines how satisfied they are.”

Marketing connects consumers to products
After a product is developed, consumers must learn about it. “A big part of what we do is to educate consumers on all of the choices available to them across all of the flooring categories and then help them choose the right floor for them,” he said. “Marketing is getting the message through to the consumer that you have the product that meets their needs. This is accomplished through the combination of effective communication and effective merchandising. It is presenting all of the benefits and attributes of a product in a clear, attractive, and compelling way.”

Marketing for flooring must be grounded in reality. “Flooring is less about marketing hype and more about substance,” he stressed.

Products and fashion evolve
Since Farabee joined the flooring business, there has been a shiftin residential flooring from mostly carpet to more of a balance of hard and softsurface floorings. “When I started, laminate and luxury vinyl tile (in today’s form) did not even exist,” he pointed out.

The consumer is the final, essential piece. “One of the greatest satisfactions of my job is seeing a consumer delighted with a product that we have created and the difference that product can make in how they feel about their home,” Farabee said.

Over 21 years, there have been a lot of great products. Farabee recalls French Quarter, a tile product developed for the builder market that moved the fashion bar. “Technology was growing and we were able to give French Quarter a more realistic multi-color slate look. It had a 12-year run and really changed the perception of what ceramic could look like.”

Unilin’s Quick-Step is an ongoing success. “When Mohawk bought Unilin, the Quick-Step line had very European, middle-of-the-road look. It was the first glueless laminate and is still the best, most widely used locking system in the world. Our goal was to make Quick-Step the style, design, and innovation leader in the laminate industry and we believe we have succeeded in doing so,” Farabee said. Quick-Step’s Reclaimé Collection is a winner of FCW’s Dealers Choice Award for two years.

Personal and professional goals align
Acknowledging that the work can be demanding, Farabee stressed that he enjoys it thoroughly. “One of the greatest things about my position is that the interests and abilities needed to be good in my job are actually the things that I personally get excited about,” he said. “I like creating beautiful things and enriching people’s lives. I get to do both of these in my job.”

With a 35-member staff based in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina, and frequent travel around the world, over the years, Farabee has become an effective manager. “I hope that I have grown to be a good leader who sets clear objectives, then mentors, guides and directs, but does not micro-manage,” he noted.

Farabee also finds time to serve on the board of directors for NALFA (North American Laminate Flooring Association) and is a chair holder in the Color Marketing Group.

Read the full article at http://bt.e-ditionsbyfry.com/article/Roger+Farabee+balances+form+%26amp%3B+function/1530859/178830/article.html.

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