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Interface Inc  (TILE)
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Interface Inc

Business Description

We are a worldwide leader in design, production and sales of modular carpet, also known as carpet tile. For the past several years, modular carpet sales growth in the floorcovering industry has significantly outpaced the growth of the overall industry, as architects, designers and end users increasingly recognized the unique and superior attributes of modular carpet, including its dynamic design capabilities, greater economic value (which includes lower costs as a result of reduced waste in both installation and replacement), and installation ease and speed.

Market Leader in Attractive Modular Carpet Segment. We are the world’s leading manufacturer of carpet tile. Modular carpet has become more prevalent across all commercial interiors markets as designers, architects and end users have become more familiar with its unique attributes. We believe that we are well positioned to lead and capitalize upon the continued shift to modular carpet, both domestically and around the world.

Established Brands and Reputation for Quality, Reliability and Leadership. Our products are known in the industry for their high quality, reliability and premium positioning in the marketplace, and our established brand names are leaders in the industry. The 2015 Floor Focus survey ranked our Interface brand first in the survey categories of service, quality, design and performance. In the North American residential market segment, our FLOR brand is known for its high style carpet design squares that consumers assemble to create custom rugs, runners or wall-to-wall designs in the home. On the international front, Interface is a well-recognized brand name in carpet tiles for commercial and institutional use. More generally, we believe that as the appeal and utilization of modular carpet continues to expand into market segments such as government, healthcare, education, hospitality, and retail and residential space, our reputation as the pioneer of modular carpet — as well as our established brands and leading market position for modular carpet in the corporate office segment — will enhance our competitive advantage in marketing to the customers in these new markets.

Innovative Product Design and Development Capabilities. Our product design and development capabilities have long given us a significant competitive advantage, and we believe they continue to do so as modular carpet’s appeal and utilization expand across virtually every market segment and around the globe. One of our recent design innovations is the introduction of long and narrow rectangular carpet tiles in the shape of planks, and even more narrow versions known as Skinny Planks™. The use of planks and Skinny Planks increases the design versatility of our carpet tile, as these products can create aesthetics (such as a herringbone pattern) that are different from, or enhance, that of our traditional square carpet tiles.

The award-winning design firm David Oakey Designs has had a pivotal role in developing our plank and Skinny Plank products, as well as many of our other innovative product designs, and our long-standing exclusive relationship with David Oakey Designs remains vibrant and augments our internal research, development and design staff. As another example, David Oakey Designs has developed products that are manufactured using state-of-the-art tufting technology which allows us to pinpoint tufts of different colored yarns in virtually any arrangement within a carpet tile. These unique designs are best exemplified by our Urban Retreat®, Net Effect® and Human Nature® collections, which are sold throughout our international operations.

Historically, one of our best design innovations is our i2™ modular product line, which includes our popular Entropy® product for which we received a patent in 2005 on the key elements of its design. The i2 line introduced and features mergeable dye lots, and includes a number of carpet tile products that are designed to be installed randomly without reference to the orientation of neighboring tiles. The i2 line offers cost-efficient installation and maintenance, interactive flexibility, and recycled and recyclable materials. Another more recent innovation is our TacTiles® carpet tile installation system, which uses small squares of adhesive plastic film to connect intersecting carpet tiles, thus eliminating the need for traditional carpet adhesive and resulting in a reduction in installation time and waste materials.

Made-to-Order and Global Manufacturing Capabilities. We have a distinct competitive advantage in meeting two principal requirements of the specified products markets we primarily target — that is, providing custom samples quickly and on-time delivery of customized final products. We also can generate realistic digital samples that allow us to create a virtually unlimited number of new design concepts and distribute them instantly for customer review, while at the same time reducing sampling waste. Approximately 60% to 65% of our modular carpet products in the United States and Asia-Pacific markets are now made-to-order, and we are increasing our made-to-order production in Europe as well. Our made-to-order capabilities not only enhance our marketing and sales, they significantly improve our inventory turns. Our global manufacturing capabilities in modular carpet production are an important component of this strength, and give us an advantage in serving the needs of multinational corporate customers that require products and services at various locations around the world. Our manufacturing locations across four continents enable us to compete effectively with local producers in our international markets, while giving international customers more favorable delivery times and freight costs.

Experienced and Motivated Management and Sales Force. An important component of our competitive position is the quality of our management team and its commitment to developing and maintaining an engaged and accountable workforce. Our team is highly skilled and dedicated to guiding our overall growth and expansion into our targeted market segments, while maintaining our leadership in traditional markets and our high contribution margins. We utilize an internal marketing and predominantly commissioned sales force of more than 650 experienced personnel, stationed at over 70 locations in over 30 countries, to market our products and services in person to our customers. Our incentive compensation and our sales and marketing training programs are tailored to promote performance and facilitate leadership by our executives both in strategic areas as well as the Company as a whole.

Our business strategy is to continue to use our leading position in modular carpet and our product design and global made-to-order capabilities as a platform from which to drive acceptance of modular carpet products across several industry segments, while maintaining our leadership position in the corporate office market segment. We will seek to increase revenues and profitability by capitalizing on the above strengths and pursuing the following key strategic initiatives:

Continue to Penetrate Non-Corporate Office Market Segments. We will continue our strategic focus on product design and marketing and sales efforts for non-corporate office market segments such as government, education, healthcare, hospitality, retail and residential space. We began this initiative as part of our market diversification strategy in 2001 (when our initial objective was reducing our exposure to the more severe economic cyclicality of the corporate office segment), and it has become a principal strategy generally for growing our business and enhancing profitability. To implement this strategy, we:

introduced specialized product offerings tailored to the unique demands of these segments, including specific designs, functionalities and prices;

created special sales teams dedicated to penetrating these segments at a high level, with a focus on specific customer accounts rather than geographic territories; and

realigned incentives for our corporate office segment sales force generally in order to encourage their efforts, and where appropriate, to assist our penetration of these other segments.

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