IN an exclusive interview with CFJ, Guy Stanton, director at WE Rawson, says the company strives to be unrivalled with its client support and its range of products to suit any budget, performance, or design aspiration.
When asked whether Rawson’s products are better than its competitors’ products, he said: ‘I think it’s fair to say there are some great products out there and some of them are ours. New Recover is a great environmental solution; Riven is a superb design solution; and our Heritage ranges are depended on by many.’
Guy, who’s been with family-run heritage UK manufacturer Rawson for four years, says he joined because he liked the opportunity to make a difference. ‘I now have a great team and the journey has really only just started for us.’
When it comes to who he admires in the flooring industry, Guy says it’s ‘all those longstanding names in industry, customers, and colleagues who I’ve had the pleasure to meet or work with, who’ve served their time and created a name through their experience and honesty. They end up being key influencers to our evolving trade’.
Through his role, Guy has had the perfect opportunity to advise on what the secret is to a successful flooring installation. In his words it’s ‘preparation, uninterrupted space (when possible), attention to detail and a good supplier’. And the secret to creating a successful flooring product? ‘Market research, material research, cost analysis, and speaking to others in the industry. There’s a lot of work in bringing a new product to market.’
When asked what the most important characteristic of a successful flooring contractor is, Guy lists: ‘Organised; good repeat client base; and fairness.’ When contractors have a problem with product, Guy says: ‘In the unusual event that things haven’t gone to plan, I like to think our customers choose Rawson because they can rely on our clear motivation to solve the issue effectively to support the project.’
In today’s current climate, there is plenty to be concerned about. It seems like there’s been one thing after another with Brexit followed by Covid-19 followed by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
When considering what’s worrying him about the challenges facing the industry, Guy says: ‘Skilled labour shortage across the many roles, cheap imports, and barriers to effective promotion. And the biggest threat to all companies’ profitability will certainly be costs – for material, transport, production. Nonetheless, I believe the industry has fared okay after the lockdowns, but my thoughts are with those who’ve caught the sharp end of the past two years. There’ll be a period of adjustment to new costs and requirements. The shift towards sustainable, recyclable, and lower impact products, is inevitable, but the tough economy may still favour the more economic solution as projects are bought across the line to already tight budgets.’
When it comes to the problems of no new blood coming through the ranks, Guy is clear on the solution: ‘Supported apprenticeships are needed. It’s a great industry.’
The next big issue facing the world will be around sustainability. CFJ asked Guy what he’d tell a contractor who complained about sustainable products costing them more money.
‘We’ve just released a fully recyclable carpet sheet and tile solution that’s very competitive, but any additional costs should go down the line to the end-user who pays for a better sustainable solution.
The costs are R&D, manufacturing change, testing, and the higher costs of sourcing GRS or similar accredited raw materials. Sustainable products should have a longer lifespan – it should be a major factor in their creation. This saves on the environmental impact of replacements. We’re finding our product Recover is showing exceptional durability. So, in the final analysis, any higher costs for the client may be nullified, in part, through product lifecycle.’
On a personal level, Guy says if he wasn’t in the flooring industry he’d be ‘in construction somewhere’ and his favourite flooring installed in his home is: ‘Either nora rubber or ‘Riven plank’ by Rawson. Obviously.’