Hicksville, N.Y.—In 1996, Floor Covering News and the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) joined forces to form the Award of Excellence, an annual competition that allows those in the industry a say as to who are the best floor covering manufacturers in their respective categories as well as the Best Overall Manufacturer.
While much has changed since then—in the world, the industry and the competition itself—the original goal has not: to provide a vehicle for retailers, salespeople, installers, distributors, contractors and designers the opportunity to voice their opinion for the manufacturers they feel help them the best in running successful, profitable business operations.
In addition, during the course of its first 15 years, the Award of Excellence has become the industry standard by which mills judge themselves on achieving their customer service missions. In fact, manufacturers say being named a winner is the one true measure of industry success because it is awarded to them by their customers.
In accepting last year’s Best Overall Manufacturer and Green Leader honors, along John Godwin, executive vice president of sales for Shaw Industries, said, “We are extremely proud to be recognized with these awards. It’s even more gratifying to know we were chosen by the customers and retail sales personnel whom we serve.”
The year prior, Tom Davis, president and CEO of Mannington, expressed a similar sentiment when his company was named Best Overall: “We at Mannington are thrilled to win…We work hard every day to provide the best products, quality and service in the industry, and it’s very gratifying to be recognized for our efforts, both when our customers cast their ballots and, of course, when they buy our products.”
Even companies who win the award for their respective category have similar praise: “We are honored retailers consider Mirage as an outstanding partner that helps them reach their goals through quality business relations,” said Luc Robitaille, vice president of marketing at Boa-Franc, manufacturer of the Mirage brand. “Claiming the top spot takes a lot of work, but holding onto it year after year takes even more, because you have to keep earning it. We couldn’t have done it without the skill and dedication of our people and the invaluable support of our dealers and distributors, who constantly inspire us to go further.”
Chris Davis, WFCA’s president and CEO, agreed “What makes this honor so special is that it comes directly from [manufacturers’] customers. They are the ones who voted.” And that is a key reason why WFCA originally partnered with FCNews for the Award of Excellence. “WFCA is committed to enhancing quality in our industry and this competition is designed to recognize and reward quality.”
He added, one other reason why the industry’s largest retailer association likes the competition is there is no fee for a manufacturer to be nominated and there is no charge for someone to cast a ballot. “The procedures that have been put in place ensure these awards are open to all floor covering manufacturers of the product categories represented, regardless of company size, affiliation or origin. Most important, the voter gets to make all the choices, just as it is in the marketplace.”
Voting now open
Any industry personnel not employed by a manufacturer can now cast a ballot in the 16th Award of Excellence competition. Voting runs through March 31, 2012. A copy of the ballot can be found on page XX of this issue. Voting can also be done via Floor Covering News website, fcnews.net, as well as at the publication’s Facebook page, facebook.com/FloorCoveringNews.
In addition to the above mentioned ways to vote, ballots will be available at industry trade shows and events such as Surfaces 2012, Jan. 23 to 26, in order to give as many people the opportunity to participate and make their voice heard.
Voters are once again being asked to use the following criteria when selecting who they feel are the best manufacturers: Companies that consistently provide the best service, professionalism of sales force, management responsiveness, value, design, B2B, handling of claims and ease of doing business.
Ballots can be cast for the best manufacturers in the individual categories—Carpet, Area Rugs, Resilient, Hardwood, Ceramic and Laminate—as well as the Best Overall mill and the one that best exemplifies Environmental Leadership.
Once again, all the categories except Rugs, have been divided in two groups based on volume. This is to put companies on a more even playing field based on the fact the industry has become polarized in many ways. This is especially true at the manufacturing level where some companies’ sales in certain categories are so huge they dwarf those of the vast majority of companies.
Rather than setting some arbitrary figure, FCNews and WFCA used common sense to determine the groupings. The idea was to give every company the same chance to walk away with an award.
After March 31, ballots will be gathered and sent to a third-party not affiliated with the industry to be tallied. The winning companies from each group, along with Best Overall and Environmental Leadership will be invited to a gala evening affair hosted by FCNews and WFCA where the official winners will be announced.
To learn more about the Award of Excellence competition from either a voter or manufacturer perspective, call FCNews at 516.932.7860 or email email@example.com.