By Heidi Schwartz
Published in the September 2008 issue of Today’s Facility Manager
How long has your company been acting as a resource to members of facility management (FM) profession?
We have been supplying Zeftron nylon premium branded nylon 6 carpet yarn systems for use in the commercial interiors marketplace for over 35 years.
All products made with Zeftron nylon are designed to work for facility managers (fms) dealing with a variety of end uses. In addition to stain removal, we guarantee color stability, static properties and wear. Our nationwide carpet recycling program 6ix Again® gives fms an easy landfill alternative at the end of a product’s useful life.
As an important FM supplier, what is the single most significant change you have observed in dealing with this customer over the past 20 years? Is there one triggering factor that has prompted this change? Or have there been several?
Without question, the recent focus on environmental responsibility is one of the most significant changes of the past 20 years. Performance used to be the key concern for fms. Today, when it comes to constructed carpets with nylon face yarns, performance takes a backseat to sustainability and styling.
Zeftron recently achieved MBDC’s Cradle to Cradle™ certification. This certification closely examines a product for the use in manufacturing of environmentally safe and healthy materials, design for recycling, water and energy efficiency, as well as social responsibility strategies. All Zeftron nylon is also designated Enviro6ix®, meaning that each of Zeftron’s 96 base colors contains a minimum of 25% recycled content. The marketplace has grown tired of hollow claims and will continue to look for products with third party, independent verification.
Do you think there will be an evolution in the client/vendor relationship as fms gain momentum and strategic relevance in the corporate structure?
We believe it is happening already. Corporations want well qualified and trusted executive level personnel making decisions. The fm’s function is no exception. Most fms today are highly trained and considered experts in their field. As a result, the fm’s function is becoming the clearinghouse for product selection.
Before, many relied on architect and design (A&D) firms for guidance on product specification. Now we are seeing fms playing a much more active role in determining which products they want specified for use.
As a result, many product suppliers that once focused product education and awareness primarily on A&D firms are now shifting their focus to facilities personnel. Fms have become more informed and want first hand information and data, because ultimately, they will have to live with the selections they make and the consequences for making an uninformed choice.
Do you anticipate any innovations (new materials, legislative/safety considerations, environmental concerns, etc.) that will have a significant impact on the way fms evaluate and purchase new products?
Yes. I think we will definitely continue to see product innovations, not only from a technical perspective that will enhance design and safety, but also heightened demand for meaningful environmental product attributes. More and more, fms look at the total environmental footprint of a product. The emphasis today goes beyond recyclability and recycled content to a product’s complete life cycle, including all aspects from raw material selection through end-of-life alternatives for disposal.
What does your organization have planned in terms of sustaining and even bolstering its relationship with fms in the future?
Recognizing their strong desire for first hand product information and education, we are focusing on making sure we establish relationships and can serve as a viable source of credible information. Because of our role, we are not directly selling fms a specific product. Instead, we are providing information on why Zeftron nylon should be their yarn system of choice and connecting them with quality commercial carpet manufacturers that provide highly styled carpets with proven performance and complete recyclability.
We will continue to listen to fms as experts, since they provide us with information that can enable Zeftron nylon to produce targeted, innovative products. Our philosophy has always been to listen and respond. Products and services are not valuable if they only meet the manufacturer’s needs. We look forward to their words of wisdom and the advice provided to those of us who are listening.