Floortex Turns 20!
Here's what CEO, Steve Bull had to say...
20 Years of Floortex, how does that make you feel?
Time flies! There have been some tough times, especially early on, but we’ve now got a great company selling all over the world and I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 20 years.
Why Chair Mats?
I was working for Tenex, a US chair mat manufacturer and at the time, the number one chair mat brand in the world, selling into key European markets and could see huge potential to develop the category with other materials and applications. When Tenex decided to sell its entire operation to its biggest competitor, Newell Rubbermaid, it was an ideal time to set up and launch Floortex. Chair mats were not widely known products throughout the European market but in the relatively short time that Tenex had a European operation, the potential to emulate the US market was obvious. Very early on, I could also see a huge opportunity for other materials and applications in the US market which at the time, was predominantly PVC.
Which year was your most challenging?
There have been many challenges over the years but, in all honesty, 2020 was probably the most challenging so far. Brexit was coming and, as a UK manufacturer this could have been a major problem, especially considering our central European distribution facility is based in Mannheim, Germany. Like everyone else though, we didn’t know if a deal would be done or the exact effects it may have. Then COVID-19 arrived which has had a huge effect on how we operate from all our sites. As it happens, COVID-19 has driven the need for millions to work from home which has resulted in unprecedented demand for chair mats and the rest of our product categories. While the high sales growth has been fantastic for Floortex, it’s also caused major headaches in terms of manufacturing capacity and the need to dramatically ramp up productivity at our warehouse facilities. It’s been a very testing year but we’ve adapted and responded amazingly with record sales in both North America and Europe. I’m expecting 2021 to be equally challenging.
What does the future of Floortex look like / next 20 years?
We’ve come a very long way in the last 20 years but I’m determined that we’ll continue the effective growth of our business for the foreseeable future. We are currently investing heavily in a state-of-the-art ERP system that will enable us to continue to manage large growth in our key European and North American markets whilst also continuing to expand our export markets around the world. We have always been highly innovative in our new product development and this will continue. This is vital to ensure we remain as market leaders in our core categories while, at the same time, expanding into new and related product areas. While the world is currently under unprecedented pressures from COVID-19, I’m very confident that we’ll come through this in even better shape to face a very exciting future.
What single moment stands out?
Winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and International Trade in 2015 resulting in being invited to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in July 2015.