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Showing posts from October, 2010

Wootton's Outlook on the Flooring Industry

October 28th is a milestone day for me and my family. It will be 20 years to the day since we came to America and the floor covering industry. The headlines that day were shared with two major issues: •    America was fighting a war in the Middle East. •    The nation’s economy was in a very poor state. Fast forward 20 years and the headlines are the same with little sign of the war ending or the economy improving in the immediate future. I find myself asking how 20 years have passed so quickly and how so much could have happened and yet so little has changed, and more importantly, I wonder what the future holds. For me personally, life hopefully will mean travel, enjoying my family, working on interesting projects and doing all the things we have been unable to do during the years when work came before everything else. As for the future of the floor covering industry, well that’s a little more complicated. Although the stock market is currently trending upwards, unemployment rem

China's flooring innovations increase

ANOTHER TRIP TO CHINA YIELDS NEW INSIGHT FOR FLOOR COVERING A few years ago Thomas Baert, president of Chinafloors  and its brand Lamett USA told me “ China has been the low cost producer but soon it will be the source of innovation .”  That was quite a statement considering in the 1990’s the country’s reputation was to partner with Westerners simply to access modern technology and information.  That, like so much else is changing remarkably fast in Chinese flooring. I have visited China about twice a year since 1992 and every visit reveals something new.  I just returned from my most recent trip and can confirm that the metamorphosis continues. Just riding to the airport in Shanghai I saw more building cranes on skyscrapers under construction than probably exist in the whole US Midwest. Only five years ago it was common to see hopeful workers standing every morning 50 deep for a job in a flooring plant. Today, manufacturers talk about the difficulty of finding good workers and

Creativity in Flooring: The Bigger Picture

Have you considered the state of creativity in flooring? An interesting article appeared recently on TalkFloor.com titled Consumer Purchases Influenced by What's Under Foot?  which had me thinking about it. The article caught my attention for two reasons.  One because it addressed the consumer retail experience, a topic I'm passionate about, and cited research that I've written about on Flooring The Consumer [see Flooring Affects Retail Experience ] which in turn led the Carpet and Rug Institute 's Bethany Richmond to write Carpet Steps Up Retail Sales, Study Says . It also intrigued me because the company responsible for the article - Desso - is one I wrote about on The Carpetology Blog in World Cup Extends To Grass Carpet . Desso, an 80 year old European carpet manufacturer, seems to have embraced creativity in flooring in a way I haven't seen. As I learn more about their innovations, I can't help but think that the reason has a lot to do with being foc

Stone floor construction - good data leads to intelligent decisions and market strategies

Developing strategies for stone and flooring construction markets requires that you understand the market and materials. You are only limited by what you don't know - and that can be remedied with good research and data. I have been saying for what seems like forever, "we have re-entered the stone age."  I'm talking about natural stone of course. Natural stone is millions of years old and has been used for thousands of years by man for various uses from weapons, tools, shelter, communications, art, and building materials.  But in the most recent decades stone has exploded in its use as a preferred building material.  As old as stone is you would expect there to be more information about this industry.  Until recently there has been relatively little statistical and marketing trend data available to help companies intelligently navigate their businesses through business threats and opportunities. During the U.S. economic boom of the late 1990’s a trend began for