Posted on

Executive Forecast: Wood—Changing demands drive innovations at manufacturer level

December 5/12, 2016; Volume 31, Number 13         

By Reginald Tucker

 

In much the same way that technological advances in wood flooring manufacturing paved the way for surface texturing, finishing options and new engineered offerings in 2016, the latest round of innovations are generating excitement for the coming year. Suppliers see 2017 as an opportunity to step up their respective capabilities as a means to further differentiate themselves while increasing market share.

Todd Gates, VP, residential sales, DuChateau
screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-10-00-47-amWhat is your projection for category growth next year?
We anticipate 2017’s growth will outpace last year’s industry-wide growth of 6.6%. There are obvious potential variables such as the direction of the economy in the wake of the election.

What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
Trends in this fashion industry still point towards the longer, wider format planks that are often referred to as the “European” looks. These formats suggest the engineered wood products will enjoy a larger portion of the overall hardwood growth.

What is the predicted growth of your company in 2017?
From a fashion perspective, we are ideally positioned going into 2017. As we increase our product offering and expand into additional markets, we are confident we will outpace the industry growth.

What is the “X factor” that will impact business next year?
For better or for worse, the security and the economic impact of the recent election.

Where do you see opportunities for next year? Challenges?
Investment in the people and the culture that drives and defines our business, our family and our employees. The most successful companies globally are those who don’t look past their own people.

What are some of your biggest initiatives for 2017?
Additional product offerings, retooling of our presence in the retail showrooms, expansion into new territories and a dedicated commercial sales team.

 

Neil Poland, president, Mullican Flooring
screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-10-00-53-amWhat is your projection for category growth next year?
I expect to see between 4%-5% growth in hardwood flooring in 2017.

What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
The housing market will continue to strengthen, although single-family starts and completions remain more than 20% lower than the historical average. Engineered flooring will lead the growth as housing should grow more rapidly in Sun Belt markets.

What is the predicted growth of your company in 2017?
We anticipate Mullican Flooring will see growth between 8%-10% next year.

What is the “X factor” that will impact business next year?
Single-family housing construction continues to be the question mark. We are hoping to see this segment increase. I would love to see starts accelerate to one million single-family homes in 2017.

Where do you see opportunities for next year? Challenges?
We believe that the Made-in-America movement will continue to gain momentum. Progressive retailers should develop stronger programs within their stores to promote our products made in the U.S.

What are some of your biggest initiatives for 2017?
We will continue to fine tune our product lines, adding new products on the front edge of wood flooring design trends.

 

Paul Rezuke, VP, residential sale, USA, Wickham Flooring
screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-10-00-58-amWhat is your projection for category growth next year?
We are confident that if interest rates remain constant, and the economy continues to be positive, the expected growth will be in the 6%-10% range.

What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
We have seen a steady shift from solids to engineered and we stand ready to be positioned to service our customers.

What is the predicted growth of your company in 2017?
We have targeted 10% growth for 2017. It will be a transitional year for Wickham Flooring, especially as we move to introduce our engineered platforms to keep up with customer demand.

What is the “X factor” that will impact business next year?
We’re in the process of fine tuning our engineered production. The “X factor” for Wickham will be our ability to have the line fully functional in 2017.

Where do you see opportunities for next year? Challenges?
Our opportunities will derive from our increased expansion into the U.S. market, along with the successful implementation of new products. Our challenges will be hiring the right people to represent our brand and lines.

What are some of your biggest initiatives for 2017?
We have invested over $7M in a new state-of-the-art engineered flooring line. Our plan over the next 12-24 months will be to align our engineered lines with our solid lines.

 

Brad Williams, VP, sales and marketing, Mirage
screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-10-01-05-amWhat is your projection for category growth next year?
Our expectation is that the hardwood category will grow at 4%-6% rate in 2017.

What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
Unique, value-added products in engineered platforms will continue to fuel this growth. There will continue to be a shift into wider width products. However, the look will be one of the main drivers.

What is the predicted growth of your company in 2017?
Our predicted growth is to grow at the same rate of the overall industry or 4%-6%.

What is the “X factor” that will impact business next year?
The issue is whether consumers will have the confidence in the current economic and political climate to invest in residential replacement or buying a new home. If so, they might opt for cheaper products in other categories.

Where do you see opportunities for next year? Challenges?
The opportunities for us are within our current network. We want to continue to stay focused on our customers and giving them the best service possible. We don’t want to give them reasons to go elsewhere.

What are some of your biggest initiatives for 2017?
Wider width and longer length offerings will continue to be a strong initiative for us. Color, texture and finish will also be at the forefront of our innovations.