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My Take: Award of Excellence—Behind the results

May 27/June 3, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 25

By Steven Feldman

 

This issue of FCNews is a bit different than the other 25 we publish throughout the year. For starters, it offers a commercial slant given its distribution at NeoCon, the premier event for the contract design industry. This issue also heralds the 23rd Award of Excellence winners, which produced results that were quite similar to the year prior with a few exceptions. That’s not so surprising given that a company in one year isn’t likely to fall off a cliff in their partnerships with retailers—unless something has gone terribly wrong.

With that said, while FCNewspublishes the winners in their respective categories, what you don’t see are the voting trends from year to year as it relates to specific companies. So here it is—Award of Excellence: Behind the results.

First, I am always fascinated by the voting in and of itself—in particular, the “other” category, which encourages the voter to write in a somewhat lesser-known company that does not appear on the ballot but is still a key partner to their business. Note: You don’t have to write in Shaw or Mohawk here; they already appear in category A. I also enjoyed seeing the votes for Beaulieu. Maybe next year I’ll get a few Kentiles.

Anyway, the most interesting thing to me this year was the Cushion category. For the past few years, Carpenter and Leggett & Platt staged an all-out war in the voting with Carpenter winning by less than 20 votes each time. This year Leggett & Platt won by more than 100 votes. When something like this happens, you have to wonder why. In this case I am guessing Leggett & Platt has underlayment for the burgeoning LVT segment where Carpenter does not. Beyond that...?

The second thing I found interesting was how Armstrong fared in the voting over the last couple of years. Two years ago, the company that once owned the resilient category garnered 10.6% of the LVT vote, 15.3% of the sheet vote and 2.3% of the WPC/rigid category. This year the numbers were 6.4%, 12.6% and 2%, respectively. Again, is the competition stepping up their game or is it internal? It’s not for us to say because we don’t know.

The third voting trend that caught me off guard was the Hardwood B category, where Mirage returned to the winner’s circle after a two-year absence. The Canadian company, considered by many to be at the pinnacle of quality, had previously won five straight until the streak was snapped. USFloors, which pioneered the WPC category, still offers hardwood flooring, lest we forget, and gets a whole lot more votes than people would ever imagine.

Some other observations:

  1. Mohawk took 54% of the carpet vote two years ago and 55% this year. Consistent.
  2. In the Carpet B category, Anderson Tuftex, Dixie and Phoenix all increased their shares of the vote by at least two percentage points.
  3. In the Commercial Carpet category, Mohawk went from 50% of the vote to 42.5%, still a hefty number, with Mannington Commercial picking up almost the exact same percentage gain. It was its best showing ever since the category launched a few years ago.
  4. Almost every company dropped share in the Hardwood category except Mannington, which more than doubled its 12% share from a year ago. Shaw was obviously the strong player this year, winning the category after taking a back seat to Mohawk last year.
  5. Karndean impressed in the LVT B category, going from 25.5% of the vote to 36%.
  6. For the second year in a row, Mannington commanded a 38% share of the Commercial Resilient votes. This is after being swamped by Johnsonite every year since the category’s inception a few years back.
  7. Mannington also took Resilient Sheet with 31.1% of the vote. The company commanded just 16.9% of the vote the year before.
  8. Mohawk might not like the word “laminate” but it had a dominant position this year thanks to RevWood.
  9. The Laminate B category was tight again between Inhaus, Alloc and Swiss Krono. Only 10 votes separated the three.