Participation in international exhibitions, research, development and standardisation, an active public relations strategy, and the assessment of statistical data are central topics of the activities of the EPLF, the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (registered in Bielefeld/Germany). The EPLF covers the leading European laminate flooring producers including companies which are major players in exporting to the US. The organisation holds a share of the world market of 69% and represents
85 % of the European production, with roughly 12 % being exported to the US.
The association has currently 21 ordinary members from eleven European countries producing and distributing laminate flooring under their own brand. Only manufacturers that are committed to a high quality standard and have relevant production facilities can join the association. EPLF’s increasing importance within its industry makes the membership even more interesting. Since a decision of EPLF members the doors were also opened to Non-European laminate flooring producers to join the EPLF as associated members.
The development of the EPLF (founded in 1994) so far concentrated on achieving a consent regarding the classification and rules within the European standard EN 13329 and common installation and cleaning guidelines. In the future more emphasis will be put on developing strategic goals for the industry and its members. The introduction of the European Standard was a great success, according to the EPLF-board with its president Ulrich Windmöller (Witex AG, Augustdorf/Germany). “The trade is happy to finally have a clear classification and even introduced the new product labelling before the standard was officially launched.”
EPLF is offering a stage for international exchange
The EPLF sees itself as an international stage for an exchange between the manufacturers of laminate flooring and their suppliers covering the whole spectrum – from wood working material suppliers, paper manufacturers, decor printers, impregnators to machinery producers. At the same time the EPLF is the representative for this industry in national and international bodies, and in the public arena when it comes to standardisation, international trade contacts etc. Following the successful introduction of the EN 13329 makes striving for the implementation of an ISO-Standard only natural. The EPLF is supporting the implementation of a worldwide and internationally binding new standard for laminate flooring in the not too distant future.
Another task is the support of concepts and the steering of activities that cover the wide field of mostly technological and ecological questions related to the laminate flooring industry. Continuous collation of statistical data documenting the situation of the laminate flooring industry and its markets is another aim of the EPLF. Committee Chairman of the EPLF-Marketing Committee Ralf Eisermann (Classen-Gruppe, Kaisersesch/Germany) adds: “Solid industry statistics help the industry as a whole in creating more market transparency, enabling the members to make strategic decisions. Finally we are aiming at winning still not organised producers of the laminate flooring industry to become members of the EPLF.”
Laminate market is a global market
This is the motto under which the measures of the association in its public appearances can increasingly be placed: In addition to the annual presentation at the Domotex there has been intensive work on press relations at the “National Floor Show” in Harrogate (UK) and the “Batimat” in Paris (France). In Beijing (China) the EPLF appeared as a non-material sponsor of the “Floor Coverings“ accompanied by a broad public relations campaign in Asian trade magazines and supported with a lecture on “EN 13329” at the parallel occurring laminate-symposium, which got enthusiastic feedback. At “Surfaces” in Las Vegas the EPLF has improved its contacts with the North American trade press and the national producers association NALFA. Then continuing with the German contingent to exhibit at the China Floor in Shanghai (March 26th - 28th, 2002) – originally an idea of the EPLF – which was also present there.
Finally, the work of the association includes an extensive public relations effort. This means in particular to produce and make available product-related information for all interested parties, the trade and general interest press, professional users and builders, the home improvers, architects, contractors, and all other customers. Currently the topic “Laminate flooring of the second generation” is in the center of all press and public relations work. With the glueless connecting abilities of the new systems as well as sound reduced flooring and many other improvements of the structure and pieces, today’s product is on an extremely high level of technology and development. To this have to be added a broad range of attractive décors and designs, which offer to match the respective application in private or public setting. The EPLF spring conference in Rüthen-Meiste (Germany) dealt intensively with the topic “Laminate flooring of the second generation“ and the results will be published steadily and consequently in the PR efforts in 2002.
More Information required . . . ?
The EPLF provides a number of brochures free of charge, written in English, French, and German. There are the image-brochure “Luxurious Living with Laminates”, the EPLF installation instructions for commercial fitters, the info-Brochure to the European Standard and the EPLF Instruction Sheet. At our website on www.eplf.com one will find all current news regarding the EPLF and the laminate flooring. One can also order all brochures by the Internet, while the EPLF staff is available to answer individual questions.