Tandus Centiva & Desso Canada

Providing the Ultimate Choices in Commercial Flooring Solutions

‘It’s what’s inside that counts’.

That well-known phrase is most often used to accentuate how one’s inner being is what truly defines us as people, but it’s also suitably apropos for delineating the personality traits of commercial buildings, where quality craftsmanship in flooring solutions and the beautiful aesthetics they provide are an integral aspect in showcasing a positive reflection about a company’s heart and soul characteristics.

The acknowledged leader in flooring solutions for commercial buildings is Tandus Centiva, which manufactures, markets, and sells floor covering solutions for virtually all commercial applications. Offerings include modular, broadloom, woven, and luxury vinyl tile flooring products; and hybrid resilient sheet flooring products, accessories, flexible standards, custom floor designs, luminous carpets, and extrusions.

The roots of company in Canada can be traced back to Crossley Mills of Truro, Nova Scotia after Crossley came from England more than 50 years ago. About seven years ago the triumvirate of Crossley, California-based Monterey and Collins & Aikman from Georgia were purchased by a holding company and amalgamated, resulting in the formation of Tandus Group Inc. The sole intent was to package these companies together to attract a buyer, which turned out to be Tarkett, a prodigious enterprise that has historically performed exceptionally well in the European market and is known as a global leader in flooring and sports surfaces solutions. Tarkett then purchased Centiva, a luxury vinyl plant in Alabama and the two entities were combined to create Tandus Centiva Inc. That was followed up by the acquisition of Desso, a European company based in the Netherlands, in January, 2015. Through robust organic growth and acquisitions Tarkett impressively posted internationally net sales of $2.7 billion euros (US$3.03 billion US) (CDN$4.07B) in 2016 while conducting business in more than 100 countries.

The Canadian Business Journal recently spoke with William Potalivo, Vice President, Tandus Centiva & Desso Canada. Potalivo has a strong executive sales background in the industry having come up through the ranks with two competitors for a total of 17 years prior to joining Tandus Centiva in September, 2014.

A significant quantum of Potalivo’s time is spent attending a number of industry events throughout North America and holding strategy meetings with his national sales team. The sales team spends most working hours out on the road. In addition to the office in Mississauga there is also a bricks and mortar manufacturing location in Truro, Nova Scotia, where about 200 people are employed.

“We employ a full sales team of account executives. The Mississauga office contains our showroom and our sample warehouse, which serves as a distribution point for our sampling to connect right across the country,” he says.

Products & Services

Tandus Centiva’s unique line of Powerbond®, modular, broadloom, woven and LVT flooring products offers a true fit-for-purpose approach for each and every situation. Backed by years of industry-leading product design, excellent customer service and an unwavering commitment to environmental and social stewardship, Tandus Centiva prides itself on being the best choice for commercial customers.

Tandus Centiva typically deals with what Potalivo calls ‘direct to the architect and design community’ where they collaborate with specifiers or end users such as Royal Bank or Scotiabank. He and his team work closely with the customers’ procurement departments in assessing the various standards on the products for installation.

Corporate clients that standardize on Tandus Centiva products include the likes of Scotiabank, Enbridge, Great West Life Insurance and Investor’s Group. The company is heavily involved in having its products installed in many other sectors such as retirement living, healthcare, retail, institutional and hospitality – the list goes on. The mandate is primarily about segmentation and creating and delivering high-quality products, according to Potalivo. “For example, if it’s retirement living there will be certain components that come into play. It’s a very technical approach. It’s critical to properly understand the segment that you are selling into.”

Tandus Centiva primarily focuses on soft surface projects, which includes all the carpet lines and a line of luxury vinyl tile that complements the soft surface line. Transition materials are also being designed to work together and have been purposefully stylized and designed to coordinate together with maximum efficiency, both from a practical and aesthetic point of view.

Virtually every commercial segment has been identified and serviced by Tandus Centiva & Desso Canada. However, despite a healthy penetration within each sector, Potalivo and his team obviously have plans to continue growth in all quadrants.

“There is definitely more growth potential including those segments of the commercial sector that are changing. With corporate offices you traditionally see soft surfaces but in an effort to create interesting and unique work spaces some firms are creating very hip urban spaces so you’ll get a lot of hard surface and soft surface or a combination whereas in the past it was more likely to have been carpet throughout the entire office. For us it’s an always-changing environment; nothing is ever stagnant,” he says.

The value that Tandus Centiva is able to bring to the table lies directly within the multiple platforms it can offer to a customer. As a greater quantity of end users are aspiring to limit the number of vendors they procure, in an effort to improve efficiencies and reduce liabilities, many are coming to Potalivo and his team to source broadloom for boardrooms and modular carpet-tile floor for open office areas, just as one example. Under the Tarkett umbrella, all the products serve to work in unison. It’s the perfect solution for a customer in need without having to engage in multiple external organizations.

“In the case of Great West Life they can deal with Tandus Centiva and obtain modular carpet, Powerbond®® and woven goods without changing suppliers,” adds Potalivo.

Powerbond® hybrid resilient sheet flooring is a heterogeneous construction of nylon and closed-cell cushion. The cushion and nylon are fused together through heat and pressure creating a floorcovering that is integral and inseparable and offers unique attributes perfect for any interior commercial environment. Powerbond® is used at a number of airports, including Toronto’s Pearson International.

Customer Service

With a decisive international presence, Tarkett and its subsidiaries are well positioned to service customers on a global scale thanks to strategically located manufacturing, distribution and sales support operations worldwide. Each of the company’s product platforms offers a wonderful blend of styles, extensive colour ranges, and a variety of patterns and textures that enhance the appearance of any commercial environment. The coordination of soft and hard surface products and accessories allows for unlimited design flexibility.

Loyal, repeat customers and customer retention is an aspect that Tandus Centiva takes exceptional pride in achieving with tremendous success. In fact, the company’s business essentially matches up to the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule), whereby 80% of one’s business most often comes from 20% of its customer base. It’s always great to land new customers, but it should never come at the expense of existing ones. However, there are always certain customers with a pre-determined notion about a specific product platform they want to install, with some having far more understanding about the process than others, which means some are more right about the decision-making than others. But there is no disputing that taking the sage advice of the experts ensures maximize efficiency at the most economical price for everyone.

“We believe in a ‘fit for purpose’ philosophy,” notes Potalivo. “In too many cases you will have specifiers selecting products based solely on cost or solely on the aesthetics and they may not be appropriate for the intended use. We always communicate in a friendly, consultative manner in an effort to guide the customers to the best decisions for them based on the technical attributes of the products.”

Sustainable Practices

As a clear indictor that Tarkett is doing its part in being a conscientious environmental steward for the materials they manufacture each subsidiary under the parent company umbrella takes repossession of the installed materials at the end of their lifecycle. Given how important the environmental issues are today, it’s a corporate philosophy that definitely puts Tarkett far ahead of most all competitors.

“It’s basically taking full responsibility for the materials we make at the end of their life cycle and creating closed-loop recycling processes for them,” says Potalivo.

As further evidence of a firm commitment to environmental and corporate social responsibility, Tarkett entered into a partnership agreement with Sustainable Minds of Massachusetts this past March to provide a straightforward way for architects and designers to find material and environmental product transparency information on more than 850 Tarkett products across all its North American brands – Tandus Centiva, Desso and Johnsonite – found in the Sustainable Minds Transparency Catalog.

Tarkett is also involved with the UN Global Compact 21 program. Each year there is a Power of Collaboration Global Summit at the United Nations, which brings together the world’s most diverse, inclusive and innovative ideas, inspiring global leaders to collectively pursue endeavors that embody the best in human values. It’s all about coming together and forming a strong international partnership in an effort to continue to drive more efficient sustainable solutions toward inclusive and equitable economies.

The success of Tandus Centiva & Desso has been a great story to this point, and there’s every indication that Potalivo and his team will aggressively pursue many more opportunities as the company continues to expand its reach throughout Canada and far beyond. As leaders within the industry, Potalivo believes the next few years will yield even more impressive results for the company.

“What I would like to personally see is the cohesion of all the brands under the Tarkett brand working together in unison,” he says. “We are a very efficient company, but we’d still like to strive to have our house of brands even more aligned and provide the ultimate cross-branding solutions for our customers, all of whom are extremely important to us.”


For more information contact William Potalivo at [email protected]