In September, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, Shaw Industries, opened its first overseas carpet tile manufacturing plant in Nantong, China. Its Divisional Vice President of Asia Pacific Jeff Galloway tells Yvonne Xu about the Dalton-based company’s next steps in Asia, particularly that of its contract brand, Shaw Contract Group.
29 November, 2013
What can the Asia Pacific market expect from Shaw Contract Group following the opening of your new carpet tile plant? I think the market can expect to see us even more active in the Asia Pacific region. With this new local manufacturing, we are in an even better position to serve the region with globally consistent products at a speed that matches what our clients here require. We will be competing in a broader range of market segments including healthcare, government, education and more, versus only the corporate segment. The Asia Pacific design community will experience more in-market activities such as exciting launch events and engagement sessions, for example around product research and feedback. Shaw Industries’ new manufacturing facility in Nantong, China Manufacturing bases are increasingly being moved to Southeast Asia. Why did Shaw decide to locate its first overseas plant in China? Our purpose is to be in Asia, for Asia. As a very large and growing carpet tile market, China was a natural location as the first facility in this region; both to serve the domestic market within China and to export throughout the region such as to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, India and others, with faster shipping times. Products manufactured in China will cater to the growing demand of the Asia markets and there are no plans to export back to the US. Carpet tile manufacturing is a technology-intensive process and labour is only a small per cent of the manufacturing cost, so low cost labour was not a driving factor. Our desire is to be closer to our customer base, as a lot of cost and time are incurred by transportation. Facility in
Nantong, China Shaw Industries is the world’s largest carpet manufacturer and a Berkshire Hathaway company. What is the biggest challenge faced by a top carpet producer today? As the number one producer, everyone is targeting and competing with us especially as we hold leadership positions across different market segments. We cannot be addicted to past success… In our industry, we lead change rather than follow or hold on to status quo. For example, we lead the change in backing technology by producing a 100% PVC-free backing, EcoWorx, which has superior environmental benefits. We also lead the change to switch to the Type 6 nylon fibre, known in our company as EcoSolution Q, which is completely recyclable. As a company, we constantly push ourselves to be different and better. Facility in Nantong, China Share with us some interesting trends you’ve observed in Asian contract market segments. Asia is a diverse mix of developed markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea and emerging markets such as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This diversity is evident also within China, where Beijing and Shanghai operate differently from Chengdu, Guangzhou or Shenzhen. The emerging cities may focus on price and commoditizing the product, while most of the developed markets buy based on brand reputation, quality of service and so forth. With such diversities, the value proposition has to appeal to a wide range of markets. Hexagon by Shaw Contract Group What will Shaw’s next steps in Asia be? Our next step is to become more integral to the Asia market. We will dive deeper into the markets and embed ourselves in the core of the business. The new plant gives us the agility to pursue different projects such as tenant improvement and small office changes while continuing to service the large projects we are used to. As we continue to grow, we will offer a full suite of service in the region such as technical and training. Ultimately, we will have multiple facilities in the region as Asia is a large geography. We will continue to innovate, and to innovate for Asia. Overlay and Colour Plank by Shaw Contract Group Shaw Contract Group shawcontractgroup.com
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