ROSLYN, N.Y.—Mannington Mills has regained the mountaintop, as it was voted the industry’s Best Overall Manufacturer in the 14th Award of Excellence competition. This was the ninth time in the award’s history that Mannington took top honors, which it last held in 2006. Shaw Industries was the winner in the inaugural Award of Excellence for Environmental Leadership.
These awards, along with 12 other honors, were presented at a gala evening reception and dinner here. In addition, Sandy Mishkin, co-founder and president of CCA Global Partners, was among the invited guests as the recipient of the first Floor Covering News Lifetime Achievement Award, which was present- ed to him earlier this year at Carpet One’s 25th anniversary (FCNews, Jan. 25/Feb. 1).
Tom Davis, president and CEO of Mannington, expressed the company’s excitement upon learning the mill won the coveted Best Overall award. “We at Mannington are thrilled to win our ninth Best Overall Manufacturer award. 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.”
Sponsored by FCNews and the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), the Award of Excellence is a way for manufacturers’ customers—retailers, distributors, designers, installers, specifiers, etc.—to honor the companies they feel consistently provide the best service, professionalism of sales force, management responsiveness, value, design, B2B, handling of claims and ease of doing business. In other words, those manufacturers they feel help them the best in running successful, profitable business operations. “WFCA is committed to enhancing quality in our industry and this competition is designed to recognize and reward quality,” said Chris Davis, the organization’s president and CEO.
In comparing the Award of Excellence to the J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction and quality awards, he noted, “What makes this honor so special is that it comes directly from your customers. They are the ones who voted.” Because of this, he encouraged the winning companies to share the award with their employees and sales force. “Let them know the hard work they are doing is recognized by their customers.”
To receive an Award of Excellence, readers of FCNews, members of the WFCA as well as any other industry personnel visiting trade shows such as Surfaces but not employed by a manufacturer voted between October 2009 and the end of February for the companies they felt best met the previously mentioned criteria.
There are six individual floor covering categories— Carpet, Area Rugs, Resilient, Hardwood, Ceramic and Laminate—as well as the Best Overall mill and the manufacturer that best exemplified Environmental Leadership.
This was the fourth year that individual category winners were selected in two groups based on their sales volume. This puts companies on a more even playing field based on the fact some companies’ sales in certain segments are made in a week what it takes others to do in a year.
Once again, the format proved to be a success in a number of ways, as companies such as Columbia were represented on the winner’s podium for the first time in the competition’s history, while others, such as Beaulieu of America and Crossville, returned after a significant absence.
In Beaulieu’s case, the company was voted best Area Rug manufacturer in 2000, back when the mill participated in that category, while Crossville regained its top spot after a two-year hiatus.
While some things changed, others remained the same. For example, among the individual winners, Dal-Tile continued its string of consecutive victories, snaring a record 11 in a row as the best Ceramic manufacturer; Boa-Franc, maker of the Mirage brand, won the Group B Wood category every year under the new format, and Johnsonite captured the Group B Resilient category for three straight years.
Luc Robitaille, vice president of marketing for Boa-Franc, said, “We are honored to receive this prestigious award. 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.”
Along with asking mill customers to select the best companies in each category, this year marked the debut the Environmental Leadership Award. Similar to the individual category and Best Overall honors, the award puts the focus on the entire company and what it is doing as a whole to stand out and be a leader but, in this case, in the growing and important green movement.
In winning the honor, Shaw’s Reggie Newton, vice president of sales, and David Wilkerson, corporate director of sustainability and product stewardship, said, “We greatly appreciate and are honored by winning the Award of Excellence for Environmental Leadership, which recognizes Shaw’s ongoing commitment to environmental leadership, sustainability through innovation and product stewardship. As the premier recipient of the distinction by our customers, we will continue to strive to exceed their expectations.”
A total of 14 Awards of Excellence were handed out during the awards dinner. While the category awards were done on a simple, one vote per category/company format, both the Best Overall and Environmental Leadership awards had write-ins to vote for first, second and third, which were weighted in the overall tally.
The recipient of Lifetime Achievement honor will be presented annually at the Award of Excellence dinner.
FCNews established the Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize and celebrate those people who have not only made significant contributions to the floor covering industry, but more importantly, worked toward its betterment and made a difference over a sustained period of time. Simply stated, it is intended to recognize service and leadership that is of a scope and duration to be considered a lifetime achievement.
“We wanted to honor those people who have dedicated their life to improving the floor covering industry,” said Mike Blick, co-owner and co-publisher of FCNews. “We felt it was about time to have our own award annually honoring an individual who has made significant contributions. We chose [Mishkin] as our inaugural recipient because he exemplified that person.”