5 Questions With…

James Lesslie discusses differentiation and product innovation.

James Lesslie president, Engineered Floors’ commercial business


How does the company differentiate EF Contract and J+J in the commercial market?

In the Engineered Floors commercial division, we believe product and the local sales reps are the most important differentiators between the J+J Flooring Group and EF Contract brands. Each brand has completely different product design teams that do not interact with each other. The unique talents and personalities of the individuals on these design teams are interjected in the product designs and overall creative visions for each brand. The local sales piece is just as important. We have separate sales forces for each brand.


How are EF Contract and J+J each uniquely qualified to support the needs of the A&D community? 

What sets us apart is styling at the yarn level, which is one of the many ways EF Contract and J+J innovate. Everybody has the same tufting machines, but we leverage patented technology – 40 patents currently – to create unique yarn systems. These patented yarn systems are like paint brushes that our design teams use to complete the canvas. Our product designs will always stand out because of the investment we make in our design teams and our patented technology.


Which market segments does each company excel at?

We just don’t think in terms of market segments. The lines of market distinction are disappearing, and we believe marketing to segments creates unnecessary boundaries and limitations. Also, building a sales force around contract vertical market segments has proven time and again to cause bothersome complexity and redundancy for sales teams, dealers and customers. But, most importantly, we’re designing product to inspire and defy the traditional concepts of market segments.


How is the Kinetex product line a game changer? 

J+J introduced Kinetex seven years ago, and it is still the only product in the commercial flooring market that successfully combines key attributes of soft surface flooring with the longwearing performance characteristics of hard surface flooring. Kinetex brings a proven array of benefits for performancedriven commercial spaces, including noise reduction, easy maintenance, comfort and safety and health. We refer to it categorically as an advanced textile composite flooring, but Kinetex is really its own product category. Kinetex truly allows our customers to have the best of both worlds, hard and soft, without compromise.


What will be the next phase of evolution for EF Contract?

We have invested more capital into soft surface flooring than any other company, and that is our platform for growth. Corporately, we’re the fastest growing flooring company in the world. Our founder, Bob Shaw, revolutionized the flooring industry 50 years ago, and now we’re raising the bar again in efficiency, precision, quality, design and service with the most technologically advanced operations in the industry. We’re also growing our Kinetex platform by expanding it to the EF Contract brand, which will have distinct Kinetex designs.

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