Claims file: A look ahead

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by Lew Migliore

Looking back on 2010, we’ve heard so much bad and negative news that we may often think that’s all there is but I refuse to believe it. We can’t help but be inundated with depressing news but I’ve found over the years, things are never as bad as they seem. You hear how bad business has been in the flooring industry over the past year but let me share some reality: Most manufacturers of residential product are up, albeit slightly.

The flooring industry is famous for adjusting to economic conditions, whenever they occur. There is indeed, pent up demand for flooring products as people will only go so long living without refreshing their homes. Many people have spent so much time at home they want to see some- thing new and refreshing in it.


Technology in the industry has exploded with new fibers and yarns, backing systems and, at the manufacturing equipment level, with new machinery. This industry can do more with less than probably any industry in existence. Making flooring material is not labor intensive and with new equipment and processes, there really is no need for a lot of people to do the work.

The commercial market is hard pressed to keep up with the demand for carpet tile, a lot of it at the expense of broadloom. Carpet tile is the hottest product in the carpet industry. It is also the product with the most technology behind it and it’s the most expensive textile product for general commercial use. Businesses that are flush with cash are spending it on carpet tile.

In this area, most of the commercial carpet manufacturers have invested in new equipment that can make carpet tile and/or broadloom. Some of the equipment does both while some is only for carpet tile. There are also new tufting machines that can make both residential and commercial carpet at literally the push of a button.

Yearn to learn

Education is starting to show signs of interest again. We have not held a carpet seminar in two years but recently we’ve had several inquiries as to when we’re going to have one again. This tells us that people in the industry are starting to be optimistic about business and getting some new hires exposed to information they need to succeed. If you’re interested, contact us so we can include you in the program.

We’re embarking on an era where a lot of what you’ve known about flooring is changing, not only in the way products are made but in the way they are installed. The glut of flooring dealers has thinned and those remaining are not doing too badly; some are even flourishing. This is the Darwinian theory at work, “survival of the fittest.” If you’re reading this, you’re a survivor. Now go out and be a dominator.

Success means you have to be adaptable. Those in the lead will always change to stay there.

The year at hand

The look ahead, in my opinion—and you should know I’m an eternal optimist—is for business to improve. Some manufacturers who were hanging by a thread have had markedly increased business.

Dealers I talk to are not so sullen; many are expressing signs of new life. My seminar at Surfaces, Tuesday, Jan. 25, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, has more attendees than ever and projections from Hanley Wood, the show’s owner, report increased attendance.

I think, overall, 2011 will be a good year. If you think that way and act on it, it should be for you too.

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