When Armstrong Flooring emerged as an independent business focused 100% on resilient after its split from Armstrong World Industries in 2015, the industry watched to see how the business would redefine itself. Fast forward to 2020—the company is demonstrating a renewed focus on the customer, fashion and innovation.
“Although it seems they are slow on the launch since the split of the companies, I think they are on the right track and the team they have in place is responsive, engaged and knowledgeable, especially the ones calling on me,” said Michael Longwill, president, of Carpet and Tile Mart.
“We are becoming much more customer focused as a company,” noted Armstrong President and CEO Michel Vermette. “I would say it’s a different Armstrong than maybe you’ve seen the last couple of years. I think you’ll see a much more dynamic company and team.”
That dynamic is answering needs in the marketplace, including hastening product development and focusing operations to solve problems for customers in a world facing new challenges, such as COVID-19.
As customers search for domestic sources for supply, Vermette said the company has adjusted manufacturing shift schedules and overtime allocations in five of its six facilities. “We’re seeing some nice demand in our LVT and VCT, particularly commercial.”
In addition, the company is ramping up its product development with fresh talent on the design team and speeding up timelines to go to market faster, beginning this month with the launch of a new PVC-free homogeneous sheet offering that will answer the need of healthcare facilities around the globe.
“We’ve had some private showings and the feedback has been very good,” Vermette said. “We have a sizeable operation in China where we manufacture it—our team, our staff, they are very strong in healthcare. Let’s put it this way: the recent shock they’ve had over there is creating demand and the healthcare sector is looking for solutions and products.”
Armstrong is also fine-tuning its customer service for retailers.
“For elite and direct accounts, they seem to have pulled out all the stops to facilitate business,” said Longwill, whose business is a member of the National Floorcovering Alliance. “The Elite program has everything a dealer would want—from nice displays, sample updates, marketing and advertising support including a web leads program, which they were the best at before the split.”
Armstrong’s Elite program offers a dedicated customer service team, free sample floors, samples to customers and self-inspect claim resolution.
“Most importantly, they say they will be offering unique product stocking opportunities that we should be able to make some extra margin on,” Longwill added. “I did see some new sheet good offerings that looked great.”