By Megan Salzano With so much uncertainty in the supply chain these days, it’s important to have suppliers that can be counted on for more than just quality product. Made-to-order options can be a leg-up for retailers today, and a benefit that should be considered when looking at new suppliers—especially when it comes to accessories.
Trim and molding, for example, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can easily bog down a retailer in terms of inventory and even design options. That’s where made-to-order comes in. “If a retailer does not have to stock product, it is good for inventory turns and reduces expenses,” said Mark Pacacha, national sales manager, Seneca Millwork. “Additionally, the retailer does not have to worry about damage or warping while being held in inventory.”
Marion Frick, business development USA at Küberit, added that with today’s variety of floor types, colors and application areas, it is impossible to offer only standard profiles if you want to meet customer requirements. “Contractors in particular have to implement the wishes of builders and architects,” Frick said. “As a manufacturer, we have to stock standard profiles and raw materials in order to be able to implement requests as quickly as possible. This takes the burden off of the [retailer]—they do not have to search; only ask us and we can offer a solution.”
When it comes to floor vents and drains, Joe Kennedy, president, Perfect Vents, added that custom-made options allow the independent retailer to offer something the box stores can’t. “Matching floor vents can be a competitive advantage,” he explained. “Most stores do not offer any options for new floor vents. This is an easy add-on item to add something extra to the bottom line. And the finished visual with the flush mount vents is amazing. Customers will tell their friends about them and hopefully offer referrals.”
Following are several top accessories suppliers that offer made-to-order products.
With over 2 million SKU possibilities, every order is made-to-order at Artistic Finishes.
“Inventory of that many items would not be feasible; however, the advantage to our retail partners is they are able to order exactly what they need in the quantity they need it. There are no minimums. If by chance we do not have the product in our library, a fresh set of samples is required for a new listing. Once received, our average turnaround time for complete setup into our system is 36 hours. That means the product has been evaluated for species or composition, measured for thickness, measured for sheen level and materials used for finishing. If the floor is oil finished, we will oil finish our products. If the floor is wire brushed, we will wire brush our products—whitewash, hand scraped, whatever the special finish, we, for the most part, can do it to order.”
—Bill Treiber, technical sales and education manager, Artistic Finishes
“We have molding stock in inventory and make it available within days. Our wall base and moldings are pre-manufactured and held in inventory but not yet packaged or boxed for shipment. Once an order is received, we assemble the SKUs quickly and send to the customer.”
—Haley Plank, marketing manager, Flexco
“For the customer, the advantage is to have a partner who has flexible, fast and offers efficient solutions. Often the customer saves time not only in finding a solution, but also in the implementation and installation of the floor according to the customer’s wishes. At Küberit, we have the following options: Profiles available in special lengths and with special drillings; prefabricated corners for open stair edges; expansion silicone joints in special colors; and standard profiles with powder coating or wood decor foils to match LVT or other flooring. Or, if you need completely new profiles, we can create brand new ones.”
—Marion Frick, business development USA, Küberit
“The standard wall base is a commodity item that customers look to purchase quickly without a lead time. We are well positioned with 14 standard QuickShip colors that meet most [commercial] customers’ immediate needs. All of our Elemental Edges products are Made in the USA and have short lead times. Most products have two- to four-week lead times. This allows us to maximize our warehouse space for the items that are ordered on a daily basis and gives us an opportunity to review our top selling SKUs throughout the year so we can review and expand our stocking options.”
—Bridgette Johnson, product manager, Mohawk Group
“We know time is of the utmost importance, and oftentimes when the word custom is put in front of something it can add several weeks to the timeframe. At Perfect Vents, we have any of our custom sizes ready to ship in three to five business days once we receive the material. Perfect vents will set your store apart from other less quality-driven competitors. Our custom-made floor vents can range up to 8 inches wide by as long as required. Our patented system can be installed during or after the original install of the floor. You can pick from any of our 12 brands that we stock material for, or we will send you a prepaid FedEx label to have your material sent to us.”
—Joe Kennedy, president, Perfect Vents
“As long as a molding manufacturer is consistent with delivery dates, a retailer’s stocking burden is eased tremendously [through made-to-order accessories]. No longer do they have to keep a variety of profiles on hand that they may not need. At Seneca Millwork, all of our hardwood transitions are made-to-order. Each reducer and stair nosing is custom fit to a particular flooring manufacturer’s product. This ensures a proper fit along with matching stain and finish.”