Tarkett North America recently announced it will transition its sub-brands of Johnsonite, Tandus Centiva, Desso and Lexmark to Tarkett. We connected with Jeff Fenwick, chief operating officer, Tarkett North America, to find out more about the transition.
FT: Was it an easy decision to brand under one name?
Fenwick: It was the natural next step, and it's been a topic for a number of years. It was finding the right time to do it. And with the acquisition of Lexmark, and in our ability to go into segments in a more focused way, it made sense to begin to sunset the existing brands. Tarkett’s global presence is such now that in the U.S., it is a far better-known brand.
FT: What can your customers expect to happen during this transition?
Fenwick: As we've gone through the transition, we’ve called customers—we wanted them to know what was going on before they saw it in an email or heard it from somebody else. What they're going to see is a greater presence from us in the marketplace—more people selling our material and more of a one-faced approach. So, rather than get called on by a Johnsonite rep and a Tandus rep and a former Lexmark rep, it’s going to be one person taking responsibility. We will handle the channel, the A&D community and the new segments that way. It really is how can we make better use of our customer's time?
FT: What does the Tarkett name mean in the market?
Fenwick: It’s about helping to create unique spaces, one space at a time. There are a lot of other things that are embedded within that. Our sustainability platform, I think, is the best in the industry. We don't do a really good job with talking about that. I always attributed it to the fact that we're a Midwest-based company and people from the Midwest, when I was growing up, my mom and dad always told me, “Keep your mouth shut and work hard to get recognized.” That was the mentality that we had about our own sustainability because it felt like it was bragging. But you know what? We’ve done a lot of good in a very holistic, sustainable way. Not just product sustainability, but in the way that we treat our employees, the opportunities we give them, in the way that we are within our communities, the product, and it's time we not be embarrassed about that anymore.
FT: How do you see this brand change affecting business growth?
Fenwick: The legacy brands that have had a lot of strength in what I would call the institutional segments, education, healthcare, workplace. With the acquisition of Lexmark, we're really going to get some benefit and some legs in the hospitality market and accessories.
FT: What you’re outlook for 2019?
Fenwick: We are optimistic about the forecast for the flooring market. We see growth across all product categories, and we see some decent growth across most segments, and we are very optimistic. We’re very bullish in 2019.
For more information, visit tarkettna.com.