January 2/9, 2017: Volume 31, Number 15
By Reginald Tucker
WPS has vastly increased the number of SKUs in the Fusion line.
There’s good news for distributors who carry the Fusion brand of rigid core resilient flooring from World Product Sourcing (WPS). The manufacturer recently announced plans to vastly expand the number of products in the line; launch a new website to educate consumers and retailers; and, finally, build a manufacturing plant in Ringgold, Ga., which, when completed, will allow stocking distributors to more rapidly replenish their inventories.
Following Shaw Industries’ recent acquisition of USFloors (FCNews, Oct. 24/31, 2016), the goal, company executives say, is to drive growth of the WPC category. This covers both the COREtec line, which is geared toward the specialty retailer, as well as the WPS Fusion brand, which supports the distribution channel.
“With USFloors now being brought into the Shaw Floors group, we’re going to take advantage of all the support that Shaw will provide to help us grow our business even faster,” said Piet Dossche, president, USFloors. “With this alignment, WPS—which previously was a standalone unit—will be taken into the fold of the USFloors brand in support of our distributor network. We are focused on expanding and supporting it to make sure the distributor segment gets the full attention of our business.”
According to WPS, the expanded Fusion line offers distributors the most comprehensive program currently available with respect to the composite core flooring category. All totaled Fusion comprises 60 SKUs; 48 in the Elite program and 12 SKUs that include both wide planks and square tiles in the Max line.
“The composite flooring category is growing by leaps and bounds, and distributors are being inundated with all kinds of options,” Dossche stated. “But there’s no better program than what we are bringing to them under the Fusion brand.”
Presently, 11 distributors have signed on to support the WPS line. These include: A-M Supply, Certified Carpet Distributors, Denver Hardwood, Derr Flooring, Erickson’s Floors, Fargo Glass & Carpet, JH Freed, Lockwood Flooring, Medallion, NRF Distributors and Pac Mat Commercial. While many territories in the U.S. are covered, WPS said there is plenty of room to grow. “We have a strong group of distributors who have been with us over the past few years,” Dossche said. “We still have more opportunities to expand because the country is not 100% covered.”
Sweetening the pot
Dossche attributes the success of the Fusion line in part to the efforts of its distribution network. Not only have they supported the brand individually, but many of its wholesale partners have, on occasion, shared inventory of the Fusion brand when demand outstripped supply. Given the fact that the product is produced in Shanghai, China—much like the USFloors COREtec line—sometimes distributors had to wait anywhere from 90 to 120 days to receive orders.
Now, with WPS’ plans to build a dedicated WPC facility on the site of Shaw’s resilient plant in Ringgold, Ga., delivery times will be shortened dramatically. “This will give us an opportunity to improve service levels, and we will be much more proactive if we see spikes in demand,” Dossche explained. “Basically it will shorten the time it takes to get the products through the supply chain.”
There’s another benefit of producing locally, executives say. WPS’ distributor partners will be invited to participate in the product development process by providing input on style and format trends.
“This will give our distributor partners a much closer opportunity to be involved in creating the decors that speak to trends in their local markets,” Dossche said. “They play a very important role in their own areas and fields, and they have a tremendous relationship with the specialty retailer.”
Furthermore, having domestic production will allow WPS’ distributor partners the opportunity to promote collections that are produced locally under the Made in America label. “This gives them an edge over what’s currently being imported,” Dossche stated.
WPS estimates the production plant will start up by the end of Q2 2017. The massive, 800,000-square-foot plant, which will be composite core focused, will have a total estimated capacity of 75 million–85 million square feet. According to the company, it will be the first of its kind in the U.S.
In support of the expansion , WPS has created a new website, FusionVisionFloors.com. According to Dossche, the purpose of the site is twofold: first, to serve as reinforcement when consumers see the Fusion brand on the retail showroom floor. Second, it will provide both existing and potential distributors complete program details. This, he said, will provide continuity at both levels.
All these initiatives reflect WPS’ optimism and potential for the WPC segment. “We see the category continuing to grow and accelerate, and composite core will continue to represent a bigger piece of the LVT market,” Dossche stated. “We intend to remain the market leader in these categories across all the channels we serve.”
For more information on the program, please visit WPS at booth # 2174 at Surfaces.