September 11/18, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 7
By Ken Ryan
In its 40-plus years, Karndean Designflooring has developed and maintained a closeness whereby every person has a voice. Even as it grew the company never lost sight of the importance of empowerment, where everyone from CEO Larry Browder to the warehouse worker had a say.
That corporate culture led Karndean to roll out its “4 Pillars” initiative, which covers product, selection, service and brand. “Every company has a corporate mission; we want to ensure that everyone in the company is working toward the same goal,” said Emil Mellow, director of public relations and communications. “We have always included staff on where we are going as a company. You grow to 172 people…how do you grab everyone’s opinion? The fact is every employee here touches all four of these pillars and is focused on helping us achieve our goal of becoming the leading global brand.”
The spirit of teamwork was evident at a recent meeting to discuss product design. A woman who helps produce the merchandising sample boards presented an idea on how to better streamline the production of the boards. “Although we have grown to employ approximately 100 full-time employees at our Export, Pa., facility alone, this new initiative makes our vision for the company clear to all our employees so that we can achieve these shared goals together,” Browder said.
The pillars in summary:
Product. It all starts and ends with quality product. To Karndean, quality products mean low callbacks for retailers and low claims. As a team they go through the entire process—designs, color, marketing, fashion trends—often working two to three years ahead of a product launch. “The reason is it takes time to perfect the technology, perfect the designs to deliver a high-quality, high-performing product at a competitive cost,” Mellow explained. A good example of that is Korlok, the company’s newest LVT line.
Selection. “We are solution providers, that is why selection is so important,” Mellow stated. “No matter your circumstances there is Karndean to service your needs.” Whether it is floating floors for subfloor situations, glue-down or LooseLay, Karndean strives to pick the right flooring solution without ever having to compromise to get a quality floor.
Service. Karndean keeps its inventory levels plentiful through three distribution centers that provide 48-hour turnaround time on products, and POS/merchandising. As Mellow explains, “You cannot be hard to do business with; we are very in tune to this. We have millions of square feet available. We have the inventory levels to fill the orders, and we have the POS materials to service our dealers.”
Brand. What does Karndean Designflooring’s brand represent? For many it translates into a trusted name with 40 years of experience. “We are partners with our retailers and commercial buying groups [i.e., Fuse Alliance],” Mellow said. “To the retail world we are a player, a big player. In the LVT world we are a known quantity, a brand associated with good design. We believe we are an industry leader in each of these pillars. No one has the design components, the stocking levels, etc., that we have.”