Organizing Innovations

Objectives and Strategies of the New MMFA-Association

In the opinion of Matthias Windmöller (Windmöller Flooring Products GmbH in Augustdorf), the floor covering market is also experiencing a huge innovation advance or is already jumping – quite as one wishes. In view of the fact that this is a welcome platform for Windmöller and his colleagues from the Management Board of the first MMFA-Association which was only formed on October 26, 2012, Domotex 2013 in Hannover is a welcome platform in order present its interpretation of the market and its strategies, objectives and operating stages to the public members of the branch.

The formation preceded round-table discussions in Berlin in December 2012 and in March 2012. This was brought about by a latent consciousness of the various market participants that the new products which are sprouting out of the earth with a semi-rigid structure, i.e. an elastic top layer on a static substrate was inappropriate in the existing cooperation landscape. At the same time, an urgent need was identified to ensure the truth and clarity of special product features and transparency in the interest of all the market participants concerned and especially end-users – truthfulness and clarity from the very beginning together with transparency is the relevant usage feature and requirement.

European Trade Association

Windmöller, the new Chairman of the MMFA: „Our abbreviation stands for the ‚Multilayer Modular Flooring Association‘, i.e. in German: “Verband der mehrschichtig modularen Fußbodenbeläge”. It is therefore clear in two matters. Firstly, we regard ourselves from the very beginning as a European Trade Association and, secondly, the definition of the product represented by us is selected on an extremely comprehensive basis.” There are good reasons for the aforesaid but, according to Windmöller further, this also provokes an important framework condition: “Especially in the case of multilayer structures, together with modularly constructed and layable flooring systems, there is at present a massive innovation potential – independently of the materials involved “. Self-developed framework terms and conditions apply regardless of whether existing friendly association structures are used unless friendly relationships already apply – such as EPLF, ERFMI, FEB or the German Cork Association – in order to coordinate their work and under no circumstances to intend factual overlappings and conflicts arising as a result. The correctness of this strategy is in itself confirmed by the diverse dual memberships.

Additional active participants are welcome!

Based on the 2013 Domotex, MMFA consists of eight ordinary members – namely Akzenta (Kaisersesch/Germany), Hamberger (Stephanskirchen/Germany), Kronoflooring (Lampertswalde/Germany), Li&Co, (Müstair/Switzerland), MeisterWerke (Rüthen/Germany), Parador (Coesfeld/Germany), Skema (Treviso/Italy) and Windmöller Flooring Products (Augustdorf/Germany). The doors are naturally wide open for new members, because – according to the Deputy Chairman Edwin Lingg (Li & Co AG, Müstair/Switzerland) – the strategic objectives can only be reached speedily and effectively if all producers of relevant new products are engaged in the MMFA.

Companies which are entered in the commercial register of their particular country and which manufacture and sell the multi-layer modular floor coverings with decorative surfaces on their own responsibility, may become ordinary members. The company domicile/headquarters and production facilities must be located in Europe. However, material producers, suppliers, system partners or a testing and research institute for the equipment operating for the branch are granted access. They may apply for an extraordinary membership with an advisory vote but without a voting right. For them, the full participation possibility applies in all working bodies and project groups and a right to talk in members’ meetings.

The major tasks and duties of the new grouping are defined in the statutes resolved in the formation meeting – the aforesaid took place under the moderation of Peter H. Meyer, Bielefeld (known as the EPLF Director since 1998), in the meantime appointed as Director of MMFA. MMFA represents the collective requirements of its technical sector and its members by assuming the general ideological, economic and business interests, especially by taking action against unfair competition. Efficiency by means of cooperation by collaboration with standardization in research and development sectors which are not sensitive to competition. Last but not least, the prospect is also the promotion of the sustainability principle within the relevant sector.

No simple name identification

The identification of the MMFA name was more difficult than it seems with the benefit of hindsight. Certain expressions had already established themselves or were on the way there – e.g. Luxury Vinyl Tiles LVT, Design Flooring and multi-layer semi-rigid floor coverings MSF. It was simultaneously apparent that the innovation tempo was continually generating new combinations originating from the original expressions. After an intense discussion, it was therefore decided on a “meta definition“: „Multilayer Modular Floor Coverings“.

MMFA intends to achieve a viable basis for the successful implementation of its objectives by establishing a quantitative and qualitative effective membership structure. This was designed on the one hand to show a representative dynamic development of the recently established sector and, on the other, to create the technically qualified personnel basis in order to master the numerous duties and responsibilities of the start-up phase with engaged and dedicated personalities. Membership acquisitions are therefore especially high up on the agenda for MMFA in these initial months in addition to operational work. Corresponding contacts are showing initial rewards.

New working groups for technologies and market developments

Operational work is forming the core of current activities. Two specialized working groups are to be formed as part of the next business conference of members. A “Technical Group” deals with the relevant standard work and, in connection therewith, with matters such as measurement values and tolerances, laying techniques and sustainability. This involves the development of differentiated product definitions and designations, standards for special product designations and the installation of a horizontal collaboration with allied branch associations and corporate bodies. Upon the recommendation of the Management Board, the Board Member Volker Kettler (MeisterWerke, Meiste) and the Deputy Chairman Edwin Lingg will manage the aforesaid working group. In this connection, the work on the DIN EN 16511 Standard is to be mentioned which has already been published as an initial standard draft of the Working Group under the Chairmanship of Dr. Theo Smet (Unilin, Wilsbeke/Belgium).

A second working group has to concentrate on the “development of the market, i.e. especially on communications. In this context, communications always have two dimensions. On the one hand, the communication of the branch members inter se is involved, i.e. a horizontal, product-related exchange of experience – also along the delivery chain – in order to generate an understanding for the requirements of the market. On the other hand, communication between the branches as a whole extending to customers and application structures is extremely important. The focus is on users, builder-owners and renovators. The physical path to the aforesaid also has to be observed, however, namely architects, recommenders, builder-owners, recommenders, tendering parties, mechanics and valuers. Comprehensive information and advice are regarded as necessary in order to establish these innovative flooring products successfully on the market as an independent “type” in addition to cork floors, laminate, parquet or fully elastic floor coverings.

The MMFA Board Members and Management are in agreement that „Rome was not built in a day”. A start has to be made on time and, in the case of our young branch, the “earlier the better” applies – of this, the MMFA Chairman Matthias Windmöller is convinced. The intention of the Association is to keep the branch informed by means of regular information and to motivate as many “stakeholders” as possible from the whole of Europe to participate. A foundation for the aforesaid has already been laid: the Association’s Website went online at the same time as Domotex.

Figures – Captions

mfne1301_b1: Logo MMFA. Graphic: MMFA
mfne1301_b2: Forms of construction of multilayer modular floorings. Graphics: MMFA (see download pdf)



mfnd1301_b1: Logo MMFA. Graphic: MMFA

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