Last month, I had the good fortune to travel to Venice, Italy, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Fila -- an Italian manufacturer of surface care products. And while a gala dinner on the Grand Canal was certainly spectacular and memorable, I was more impressed with some of the developments taking place in our industry.Fila plant in Italy

My visit to Italy also included a tour of Fila's plant, where it was clear that the company is dedicated to quality. The plant is clean and organized -- making for an efficient operation. On top of that, Fila dedicates a great deal of time to research and development, which results in premium materials.

In this edition of the Stone & Tile Design Insider, Fila is featured in the Trend Report about green installation products, which appears in the Green Design section. The company not only produces a line of eco-friendly products, but it has also taken many green initiatives.

Soon, Fila plans to install a photovoltaic system, which will provide solar power to cover all the company's needs -- from the office and production facilities to the on-site research and development laboratory. "It will also prevent the emission of 766 tons of carbon dioxide; the equivalent of an average car travelling 4,855,307 kilometers," said Francesco Pettenon, the company's Commercial Director. "To achieve the same reduction through forest methods, an equivalent of 18,132 trees would need to be replanted."

Although Fila is just one of many companies in the stone and tile industry that place an emphasis on quality and customer service, I thought it would be beneficial to share my visit with our readers. It only reiterates the importance of building solid relationships with customers and showing appreciation for their business to experience success.