Achieving Excellence

This past week I had the opportunity to participate in the presentation of honors to the winners in Floor Covering News 2012 Award of Excellence competition. These awards, which are jointly sponsored by the WFCA, are presented to flooring manufacturers in a variety of categories ranging from design to sustainability. What is unique about these awards is that they are voted on by the manufacturer’s customers. The voting is done over an extended period of time, and by several mediums, so every dealer has the opportunity to be heard.

There is no cost to participate, so flooring manufacturers of all sizes have an equal opportunity. Because of this fact, I expected to see some smaller producers represented. This did not prove to be the case. The most dominant manufacturers in each product category received the bulk of the awards.

Whether your firm operates at wholesale, or retail, look at your competition and ask the question: “Are they good because they’re big, or are they big because they are good?” I believe that the answer is usually the latter. When firms satisfy their customers, they get positive “votes” in the form of purchase orders. Consequently, these businesses thrive and grow. These awards proved to be simply a reflection of this process.

They say that champions don’t do one thing a 100% better than their competitors, rather they do a hundred things 1% better. Whether the subject is racing horses, a golf tournament, etc., the winning margin is almost always less than 1% of the total score. It is often one seemingly insignificant act that determines the difference between a big trophy and a consolation prize!

Ask yourself, how many things does our firm do that our customers would vote us to be 1% better at than our competition? It’s imperative that all involved pay attention to the small, yet critical, details. Judging by this past week’s award ceremony, the major players in the flooring industry certainly are.

Tom Jennings

Wednesday, May 2, 2012