Suppliers increase domestic manufacturing

Suppliers increase domestic manufacturing

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

By Sharyn Bernard from Floor Covering Weekly
Flooring suppliers are increasingly bullish about U.S. manufacturing and have been substantially increasing their domestic investments.

“I believe the trend to U.S. manufacturing in flooring will continue simply because of the service and selection needs of the customer,” said Russell Grizzle, president and chief executive officer of Mannington Mills. “But it has challenges. There has never been a time when our industry has faced more change. Product preferences are changing rapidly and for those of us in multiple product categories we must quickly adjust to the rapid growth in some categories and declines in others. But with change comes opportunity. Opportunity to push ourselves to be better, stronger and faster; to provide better service to our customers and be on the forefront of innovation.”

Jeff Meadows, president of residential sales for Mohawk Industries, said domestic manufacturing gives the company a competitive advantage. “It’s not easy building a world-class plant, but it gives us an advantage having it closer to our customers and our supply chain.” He noted that the company is building several hard surface facilities in Georgia, Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee. “We’ve completed six new North America plants in the last three years and expanded a dozen other ones,” he said. “We’ll continue to invest where it makes sense,” expanding both globally and domestically.

Shaw Industries has invested $1.5 billion in new and existing facilities in the U.S. in the last five years, noted David Morgan, executive vice president of operations for Shaw Industries. This includes opening and expanding plants across the Southeast, from Georgia to Tennessee to South Carolina and others. “It’s important that we enhance operations throughout our portfolio to ensure customers receive the high-quality products and service they expect from Shaw,” he said, adding that keeping the manufacturing close to its customers is a critical advantage. “Any internally produced product also allows us to understand the entire makeup of that flooring, and adjacency between our designers and manufacturing teams provides great synergy in product creation.”

Mike Bell, chief operating officer of AHF Products, believes that the current uncertainty over tariffs makes domestic manufacturing more attractive. “AHF Products offer a significant degree of certainty to serving customers with our strong domestic manufacturing capabilities and scale,” providing product control, faster lead times, lower transportation costs, stable prices and a made-in-the-USA angle. He added that under the company’s new ownership, there are significant investments in domestic manufacturing. “Investing in assets and innovation to make the products where consumers experience real differentiation over the long-term is good for our customers, dealers, consumers, employees and suppliers — everyone in the supply chain.”

Manufacturing in the U.S. has always been a priority for Engineered Floors and will continue to be, according to Mike Sanderson, vice president of marketing. “Growth in the industry is essential to us and along with that is growth in the community.”

Indeed, community growth and helping grow the U.S. economy and labor market is a key factor in expanding domestic manufacturing. For example, Mohawk’s Meadows said that expanding U.S. operations is not only a viable strategy, “but if you can support the American worker, that’s not just good for our business, it’s good for America.”