Towards the end of June 2018, the editorial team of FLOORS in Africa magazine met with the team from LikeWise Trading, which consists of a group of leading local flooring companies who have joined forces to create a one-stop distribution network for the local flooring market. LikeWise Trading comprises Naas Prinsloo from MF Floorcoverings, Natasha Hamilton from Selborne, George Prinsloo from Fotakis Brothers, and Jaco Vermeulen and Tony Brewer from Likewise Trading. During the interview, we discussed their new distribution company, what sets them apart in the industry as well as their plans for the future.

LikeWise is the brainchild of Tony Brewer and Stephan Colle, who joined forces a year ago to launch the flooring distribution initiative. The backbone of the initiative is a large-scale distribution centre and warehouse, and the power that can be achieved when leading brands join forces to find ways to better serve a niche market.

“LikeWise Trading will bring sophistication to the South African flooring industry. Our goal is to do what we do, but better,” says Jaco.

The various companies that make up LikeWise Trading will continue to act independently and retain their various client bases, organisational structures and sales functions, but will share a distribution centre. They will also support each other to better service their individual client bases and use their combined industry expertise for product sourcing, product development and industry-related training.

Professional distribution and training
“We have created a professional, multi-product distribution network that is focused on serving flooring companies in the market. Besides being focused on providing excellent customer service, LikeWise is also focused on training and sharing new techniques and innovative products with the industry,” says Jaco.

The company sells everything from carpet and laminate flooring to various types of adhesives and levelling compounds as well as a range of leading international brands.

“As a professional flooring distributor, we partner with related product manufacturers and distributors to share their expertise in their respective fields with our client base to ensure best practice, -use and -installation of these products and services. We also assist in ensuring the best products, fit for purpose, be specified for the required application” says George.

Trade open day
On 2 and 3 August, the LikeWise team will be hosting an open day for customers where the product ranges and collections from MF Floorcoverings, Selborne Flooring Distributors and Fotakis Brothers will be showcased. Customers can network with suppliers, see which new brands are available from the company and find out more about how LikeWise can help them reach their business goals.

“While MF Floorcovering, Selborne Flooring Distributors and Fotakis Brothers will continue to function independently, our collaboration means that flooring companies can rest assured that when they order something from LikeWise, they will be receiving the best products at the best price.

“With our state of the art distribution centre, vast warehousing capacity and additional capital investment we aim to achieve customer satisfaction which includes good stock availability as well as expert advice and guidance on anything from finding the right solution to detailed information about installation,” says Natasha.

LikeWise will also be stocking a range of installation tools. The tooling range will mainly comprise fast moving goods for general installations, but if larger equipment such as a flooring grinder is needed, then the team will either source the equipment or point the client in the right direction.

“Our goal is to become the one-stop shop for top rated products at the right price. As our product offering grows, so will our service and support. We want to make sure that flooring companies not only have the products they need, but that they turn to LikeWise for after sale support to give their customers an excellent service,” says Tony.

Digital evolution
Digitisation is currently a major focus for LikeWise. The company is making use of the latest scanning technology to scan stock as it arrives at their warehouse and when it is packaged and shipped for distribution. This type of digitisation not only makes stock control more efficient, it also assists the team in locating specific products within the warehouse.

The company’s businesses are currently based in Gauteng and Durban but it is looking to expand to Cape Town in the near future. LikeWise is primarily focused on the South African market but future plans include expansion into Africa.

“Our goal, which is to do what we do better, is already helping us make leaps and strides in the local industry. We look forward to our continued growth throughout 2018,” concludes Jaco.

For more information, contact Likewise Trading on +27 (11) 493 6600 or via email: jaco@likewisefloors.co.za.

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