The key ingredients for Mannington Mills’ success as the top awarded manufacturer in the 2003National Floor Trends’Supplier Service Award program are commitment and hard work at both the manufacturer and distributor levels.

Mannington took the following honors in the 2003 Supplier Service Awards program: First Place, Best Service -- Resilient Floors; First Place, Best Service -- Training Programs; First Place, Overall Best Product; and Runner Up, Best Service -- Laminate Floors. This was the fourth consecutive year that Mannington took first place in the Resilient Floors category.

“Obviously, we continue to be honored by the retailers with their votes in the Service Awards. The awards are a reflection upon Mannington but more so on the distributor network,” commented Kim Holm, president, Mannington Residential Business Group. “We work hard with our distributors to work hand and glove with them to ensure we are servicing the market. We make sure our inventories are available to them on a timely basis, as well as finished goods, displays and samples. We work hard on executing and request they do the same.

“We have implemented with all our distributors a service-tracking mechanism to gauge how distributors are servicing with their retail customers. It appears to be working,” Holm added. “We are universally recognized as having the best distributor network in the industry. I don’t think this could have been said five or six years ago.”

“We’ve certainly grown with all of our distributors, over the last five or six years, to truly have a partnership relationship with our distributors,” said Mark Hollinger, Mannington vice president, distributor network. “We’ve been able to drive change with programs and processes. There is a level of trust now that is at its peak.”

Six years ago, Mannington transitioned from having separate ceramic tile, wood, vinyl, and carpet companies to focus on the residential and commercial channels. “Now most of our distributors carry all of our products -- vinyl, wood, laminate, VCT, commercial sheet,” said Holm. “We have become more important to our distributor network and our distributors have become more important to us. And, our distributors have become more important to our retail customers as well.”

In 2003, Mannington took top honors in the Best Service -- Training Programs after finishing runner-up for the three previous years. “The award is a reflection of a conscious effort to maintain training programs,” said Ed Duncan, Mannington senior vice president, residential marketing.

Over the past year, the company has invested in sales and installation training across the board, internally and externally. “Our distributors are focused on training,” added Duncan.

“We believe training is one of our keys to success. And we invest in it,” Holm commented.

Mannington is a repeat winner in the Best Service -- Overall Best Product category. The company has won the annual award twice and came in as runner-up in another year. “We focus on our customer base first and our product second. This is a report card on how we are doing. We are proud of it,” said Holm.

Earlier this year, the company expanded its wood, laminate and porcelain tile warehousing in North Carolina to speed service it retailers. Products can now be loaded on the same trailer to speed deliveries.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles about recipients of National Floor Trends’ 2003 Supplier Service Awards. In this and upcoming issues, we will discuss the importance of the award(s) to the selected manufacturers.