In the wake of their selection as the best of their respective industry segments, winners of NFT's second annual Supplier Service Awards have responded to their accolades with a mix of pride, appreciation and renewed resolve to maintain their high levels of performance over the coming years.

The awards selection covered 10 product-specific groups, as well as an Overall Best Product category.

Voting for the NFT Supplier Service Awards - which saw roughly 80,000 ballots distributed - kicked off in January, ran through Surfaces 2001 and concluded on Feb. 21. Members from all segments of the floor covering industry - including manufacturers, distributors, sales agents, retailers, contractors, and installers - submitted their choices of the companies they considered the best of the best. What follows are excerpts of our winners' reactions to their awards.

Mannington's Hudson Oak Plank engineered wood floor.
Mannington Mills

Winner Best Overall Product; co-winner in the Wood Floors, Laminate Floors and Resilient Floors categories.

"Our focus on the independent specialty retailer sets Mannington apart from its competitors. The products that we develop are an extension of this focus. And, of course, one of the main things that sets Mannington apart is its people who, without question, are the best in the industry to do business with.

"We are constantly challenging ourselves to innovate and set the next high standards in products and our business relationships. In the year ahead, we at Mannington will maintain our status as the best in the business by continuing to build on our loyalty and commitment to our industry partners - the independent specialty flooring retailers.

"We thank all those industry folks who voted for us, showing their support for the Mannington mission to be fast, flexible, focused, friendly, and fun. Undoubtedly, this is affirmative evidence of just how closely linked Mannington and its partners are in business and in success."

- Keith Campbell, chairman of the board, Manninton Mills

An accent area rug from Shaw Rugs' Reflections Collection.
Shaw Carpet, Shaw Commercial and Shaw Rugs

Winners in the Carpet, Commercial Carpet and Area Rug categories, respectively.

"We have close relationships with the independent floor covering dealer community. This group of customers knows that Shaw Rugs will have every price point of machine-made rugs to fit every consumer. Shaw Rugs is honored to receive this vote of confidence from our customers. In addition, we will commit to continue to improve in all aspects of our business."

- Jeff Meadows, division vice president, Shaw Rugs

"What sets Shaw Contract apart is our intense focus on customer satisfaction and operational excellence. We will continue putting the customer first, building trust and conducting business with the utmost integrity. We're extremely honored by this award and pledge to do even better next year. Thank you!"

- Tim Baucom, vice president of Marketing, Shaw Contract

"In order to maintain the highest levels of service in the industry, we at Shaw are continuously expanding and upgrading our customer service, warehouse and distribution systems. To those members of the industry who identified Shaw as the best service supplier, we'd like to acknowledge their vote of confidence and let them know that our entire organization?is continually involved in improving our service to our customers."

- Jim McIntosh, vice president of Marketing, Shaw Industries

Armstrong's Memories Collection.
Armstrong World Industries

Winner in the Training Programs category, co-winner in the Rubber Floors category.

"I believe voters recognized Armstrong's focus on delivering to the marketplace branded, differentiated products and services that meet the needs of customers and represent superior value when compared to alternative choices. Armstrong offers retailers a valuable sales strategy: the best selection of styles and designs and superior quality to help retailers close sales quicker and more easily.

"We will continue to be customer focused. The second commitment we will make to our customers is to be product focused. In addition, look very soon for some more exciting news about our installation training efforts.

"We'll continue to earn these honors by listening to your needs and leading the industry in the latest in product, in service and innovations."

- Rik Born, vice president of distributor sales, Armstrong Floor Products

Bruce Hardwood's Coastal Woodlands line.
Bruce Hardwood

Co-winner in the Wood Floors category.

"Bruce has worked hard to offer an extensive line of products that not only meets consumer demands for quality, but that also anticipates designer trends and fashions. Our goal continues to be to offer innovative, reliable products that our dealers, distributors and installers can be confident in offering to their customers.

"Every day, Bruce's sales and marketing staff tries to achieve the highest level of service for our industry partners and customers. We are constantly evaluating programs and examining new options for better communication at all levels of our organization.

"Bruce's status as the largest producer of hardwood flooring in the country is built on a foundation of trust and service. We rely on our dealers and distributors to extend our efforts in superior service to the end users. We both appreciate and are honored to be named the first-place winner in this category and look forward to another century of service."

- Randal Weeks, product manager, Bruce Hardwood

Mapei's Pro/Float system substrate.

Winner in the Installation Products, Tools & Equipment category.

"Our company has a dedicated group of over 65 factory-employed technical field representatives dedicated not only to sell product but also to train and troubleshoot as well. Each and every person in the organization is dedicated to our customers' needs.

"In 2001, Mapei has rededicated itself to training. We started at home and brought each and every one of our own field people into a week-long, intensive training program that involved many outside trainers for all aspects of the floor covering industry.

"We appreciate the recognition and pledge our dedication to not only maintaining our status, but raising the bar. We look forward to a long and deserving reign 'at the top' and will always remain appreciative of those that helped bring us there."

- Rick Wood, area sales manager, Mapei

Daltile's Cotto Antico Dorato tile line.

Winner in the Ceramics/Stone category.

"One of our core philosophies at Daltile is to achieve total customer satisfaction. Daltile demonstrates its leadership by aggressively launching new products, like Cotto Antico and Montesano, which have the high-end looks and styling that are consistent with market design trends.

"In order to continue our strong growth, we need to set even more aggressive goals to meet customer needs. Developing and maintaining a strong relationship with our customers is important to us. With the launch of our new website ( and e-commerce programs, our goal is to use technology to make it easier for our customers to do business with us.

"We appreciate their vote of confidence and, while we are proud to have been selected, our customers can be assured that we will not rest in our pursuit to achieve even better performance in 2001 and beyond."

- Harold Turk, vice president, Daltile Sales Service Centers

A stone-look pattern from Wilsonart's Classic Flooring line.

Co-winner in the Laminate Floors category.

"We continue to place high product quality at the forefront of our efforts in the very competitive laminate flooring category. We believe our customers appreciate this, and make a conscious decision to support us because of this commitment.

"New constructions, new finishes and new patterns will all be a part of our growing product offerings in the years ahead. We will also continue our strong commitment to product innovation through research and development.

"We would like to thank our partners for supporting us not only this year but in the years to come. We are thrilled to be recognized for our achievement and will continue to strive for excellence in everything we do. The best is yet to come!"

- Curt Thompson, national sales manager, Wilsonart Flooring

Johnsonite's Prima Olio rubber tile.

Co-winner in the Rubber Floors category.

"At Johnsonite, we believe in three support principles for continued growth. These are: a continuous stream of innovative and practical new products; color capability that entails having no dye lots in any of our products, color-trend forecasting and color matching; and a scheduling and inventory support system to get the customer what is needed when it is needed. Following these principles over the past 10 years has steadily gained the confidence of the specifier and end user communities.

"Steadily and judiciously promoting and living up to our support principles will eventually convert those who think we are a 'simple covebase supplier' to truly believeing that we are a 'system solution provider.'

"I would certainly like to thank all of the people who recognize Johnsonite for its service. Without the support of our distributor network, their employees and the employees at Johnsonite at all levels, our win in the Supplier Service Awards would not have been possible."

- Joe Visintin, director of marketing, Johnsonite