Companies that focus on the bigger picture, beyond just selling a product for profit, and embrace change and adapt are forward thinking companies. This is the opinion of Frank Moffat, chief executive officer at Belgotex Floors.
“In the Age of Disruption, change isn’t incremental anymore, it’s massive. And it’s changing traditional business models. Consider how Uber and AirBnB have turned the transport and hospitality industries on their head. So you can either initiate change or react to it, but change is guaranteed. Modern technology and “the Internet of Things” accelerate the rate of change and only the forward thinkers will survive,” he continued.
Since inception, Belgotex have pioneered new products, adopted new processes, developed new markets and adapted their business to remain competitive and at the forefront of technological advances. When carpet manufacturers refused to buy the company’s hi-tech nylon yarn from Natal Nylon Industries in 1983, founder chairman Stefan Colle set up his own factory and produced his own carpets for sale a year later. This appetite for excellence and advancement has become a hallmark of the Belgotex brand today.
“At Belgotex we have a culture of innovation. We try to anticipate change and gear up accordingly by constantly innovating and diversifying our business,” explains Frank.
Not only do these activities keep Belgotex at the forefront of technology, poised to capitalise on new opportunities and improve their competitiveness in the local and global flooring markets, but they are also critical for the future sustainability of all its stakeholders.
“As good corporate citizens, we have a responsibility to our stakeholders to ensure our continued success – not only economically in terms of profitability, but also in terms of social development and environmentally by managing any negative impacts our operations may have on the earth. We choose to initiate change rather than waiting for it to be forced upon us and we have integrated sustainability as a driver of change, innovation and our competitive advantage,” added Frank.
This offers a lot of value to clients for a number of reasons. Firstly, Belgotex offers a diverse portfolio of flooring products to service everything from corporate to residential, government to sporting markets, in line with our world of choice positioning. The company is also continuously expanding this portfolio in line with market needs and technical developments.
“Secondly, these products are developed with the latest technological advancements, and without charging a premium for that R&D. This provides our customers with the latest hi-tech contemporary ranges to sell on to their customers. We pride ourselves on being first-to-market with the latest hi-tech advances. Lastly, and possibly more importantly, we’re doing so from South Africa’s FIRST 6 green-star rated industrial facility certified to be environmentally and socio-economically sustainable. So you’re dealing with a company that takes their responsibility to all their stakeholders seriously and who are continuously striving for improvements on every level,” says Frank.
Not being forward thinking could lead to a company becoming obsolete. Initially you may see declining market share and profitability, but eventually you will not be competitive anymore. The demand for your product or service will disappear.
“Belgotex are market leaders, not followers. We proactively search for change, respond and seize it as an opportunity for growth. Our planned obsolescence strategy demands that we continuously upgrade our machinery, introduce new ranges with up-to-the-minute technology, and push the limits for operational efficiency. We installed the first artificial grass pitch back in 2004, long before the demand for the product existed. Our solar panels on our factory rooftop were installed long before loadshedding began! With the current drought and water restrictions, we’re glad we undertook our Rainwater Harvesting Initiative for use in our production and changed all our product lines to dry-manufacturing processes. This has ensured our continued profitability, developed our staff and the communities we serve, and improved our environmental credentials. We’re always on the lookout for new opportunities, threats, social trends and changing landscapes. You can’t do that in hindsight,” says Frank.
Frank adds that one of the keys to Belgotex’s success is that their short-term goals and targets are always moving them closer to their medium-to-long-term goals.
“We are constantly monitoring market forces, controlling and adapting to developments or feedback on the success or failure of these steps. Often global developments or trends can influence or change the local market, or vice versa, so your ability to adapt becomes critical. Fortunately, we’re a vertically integrated business so we have the flexibility to change that trajectory by reassessing our activities, products or services to keep us on track towards our long-term goals,” says Frank.
Some of the challenges involved in being future oriented include balancing the needs and demands of local markets against those of the international markets we serve and this can prove quite tricky.
“But resistance to change and getting everyone on board is probably the biggest challenge,” he continues. Often the older we become, the more reluctant we are to accept new things – not only products or technology, but even the way we conduct business. Belgotex tries to provide ongoing support and training to build confidence and trust, offer product guarantees and warranties to overcome this resistance and offer excellent after-sale service,” he explaines.
Some of the risks and changes that companies in the flooring industry need to plan for include being too early to market after a major investment in capital expenditure such as new equipment or premises which can be quite risky.
“Flooring is ubiquitous – it’s everywhere. But if we launch a new product or concept before the market is ready for it, we will meet with resistance. At Belgotex we’ve never been afraid to “put our money where our mouth is” and try new things – whether that means entering a new market and expanding into a new product category such as the artificial grass market, or introducing new point-of-sale marketing material like we did last year with the Lifestyle Collection. We’ve always taken calculated risks and take a long-term view of those kinds of developments,” says Frank.
Belgotex are a full-service company – a one-stop shop. They offer a world of choice in product offerings, backed by full guarantees and warranties – from fashionable stocked ranges to customisation and everything in between, for indoors and out.
“We support you the whole way, from specification to installation and after-sale service. We provide training on installation and technical support, maintenance packages and marketing support. We look after our people, our community and our planet. And we do it all with a green heart. Why wouldn’t you want to partner with us,” concludes Frank.
For more information, contact Belgotex Floors on +27 (33) 897 7500 or via www.belgotexfloors.co.za.