Howard Olansky
Hollywood has announced that it has rediscovered grownups, and that it's starting to acknowledge the salability of quality movies. My April column -- Live by Price, Die by Price; Live by Fashion, Thrive by Fashion -- drew a strong reader response (see June 2004 Industry Perspectives for a sampling). The letters revealed a growing desire for the industry to put the emphasis on fashion/quality and take it off of price.

The timing is perfect for our industry to escape the price trap. The door is wide open. Growing numbers recognize that living by price blows profits, turns products into commodities and guarantees us a bleak future. We control our own destiny; it's in our hands to either propel the industry to greater heights or plunge it into a pit. It's time for the industry to increase its emphasis on fashion and quality.

There are steps that each segment of the industry can and should take, responsibilities each can and must assume. If Hollywood has awakened to the importance of quality, look at the fashion and quality story floor coverings have at their beck and call. Let's start with the manufacturers of floor covering products, installation products and accessory products. I'll get to the other segments in future columns. After all, success requires a total industry commitment.

Some manufacturers either aren't aware of their strengths or they assume everyone knows them. So they preach price. How else do you explain why they hide under a basket the many attributes of their floor coverings? Included among the things manufacturers should stress are style and design, technological advancements, exceptional value, and the beauty added to homes and commercial establishments. The list of features and benefits is endless.

Manufacturers should regularly hold reviews to ensure that they are providing information about the many attributes of their floor coverings to their own staffs along with distributors, retailers, contractors, installers, relevant associations, and the media. In short, they must help all of them do a better job of reaching, selling and serving the residential and commercial markets.

Installation products' ongoing technological advancements help ensure quality installations. Accessories provide numerous function and fashion advantages. Manufacturers of installation products and accessories must keep their own staffs as well as distributors, retailers, contractors, installers, relevant associations, and the media fully informed about their products and why, how, when, and where to use them. They must stress that quality installations require well-trained installers using quality installation products.