Vision and strategies

The news that heritage brand, FloorworX, was in liquidation was offset by the surprise announcement of a buy-out by investors Manyano Jele and Bianca Shakinovsky.  

Marlene van Rooyen and Tracey Swart from FLOORS in Africa sat down with this dynamic duo to find out more about their plans for the 70-year-old brand.  

Q: It was a very big risk and big capital investment to buy FloorworX, especially in the current economic climate. What was the reasoning behind it? 

Jele: “I’m originally from the East London area, although my corporate life was in Gauteng. I wanted to put my training as an industrial engineer to use and be in the industrial environment.  

With FloorworX, I saw the opportunity to take a local manufacturer and grow it into a global player within the flooring industry.” 

Shakinovsky: “I’ve always had a background in flooring and interior design. It was a logical step to take the experience gained from my previous business, Pentafloor, and expand into manufacturing.  

Manyano and I met during the business rescue process and found that we have very similar ideas about the opportunities for FloorworX. That’s when we decided to partner on this venture.” 

Vision and strategies

Q: What are your immediate plans for the business?  

The first order of business for Jele was optimising procurement and improving the production processes. “FloorworX has a contribution to make in the local community, and an existing customer base to take care of,” he says. 

Shakinovsky referenced to the importance of stabilising the business and getting the staff on board. “We have kept all the jobs, so everybody who wants to be here is here,” she confirms.  

The team uses the analogy of being on a bus. Everyone is on board, and they are all looking at the next 20 years for FloorworX. This approach appears to be paying off, with the factory already running at full production.  

Q: What can your customers expect from the new FloorworX?  

A recent rebrand gives a facelift to the legacy of FloorworX. However, keeping that legacy alive is important to the team. They are focussed on deliveries, service and adding to the value of the brand, keeping the core values of the brand.  

“We also want to convey that as the new owners, we think differently. We have a fresh, trendier approach,” Shakinovsky explains.  

With the new black economic empowerment (BEE) partnership in place, the company aims to overcome concerns about the liquidation and reassure partners that it is stable. Improved production planning is expected to grow the stock on hand to about R40 million to R50 million.  

Q: Are there any untapped market segments or geographical regions that your company plans to explore?  

Vision and strategies

Jele shares that he is travelling to global shows, particularly in East Africa, across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and the Middle Eastern markets. This is where they see growth, and they have already hired a dedicated person to manage exports for the brand.  

Another gap in the market, according to Jele, is supporting local manufacturing and understanding the value of buying local. “We should be looking inwards versus outwards, when procuring materials.” 

Q: Looking ahead, what is your long-term vision for the company?  

Shakinovsky and Jele share a vision to make FloorworX a shining example of what a local manufacturer can achieve. Innovation, job creation, stability and growth are four key pillars they are focussed on.  

“We want to be the preferred manufacturer on the continent,” says Jele. “To encourage, motivate and inspire others, to be a new generation of South African industrialists.” 

Shakinovsky expresses a drive to get the business across the line in terms of manufacturing, and to not let the people down. “We don’t take no for an answer. The more yeses we get, the better we get.” 

The plans and aspirations of the team at the helm of FloorworX are certainly ambitious, and to the benefit of the local flooring industry. Under this new leadership, the overriding impression is that of a business that is 70 years young. 

 

An exclusive interview with the new owners of FloorworX discusses the reason for their investment, their immediate plans for the company and they share their vision for the future of this legacy brand.  

 

For more information, contact FloorworX: 

Tel: +27 860 346 679 

Website: https://floorworx.co.za/  

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