How has the mouldings market Been performing this year?

John Carney (JC): 2016 has been a very strong year for Cheshire Mouldings, particularly in the small mouldings market where we have seen huge growth of between 50-60%.

This has strengthened our position as the number one small mouldings manufacturer in the UK, which is down to quality of product and high levels of service.

paul martin (pm): It’s been a good year. We differentiate by also supplying specialist mouldings to cater for specific needs. In particular this year we have started to see business come back from China due to our quality, flexibility and delivery performance.

What product and design changes are you seeing currently?

JC: Two areas where there has been rapid market growth are veneer wrapping and primed mouldings.

Veneer wrapping involves taking a solid engineered core material and applying a real wood veneer.

This allows for increased durability and stability and it is something we will be introducing to the market early next year in a range of wood veneers, such as prime oak and walnut.

Decorative mouldings are also becoming more popular as consumers are increasingly interested in products that are quick and easy to install.

Our own panel mouldings kits provide a range of simple solutions, which can transform a room by creating a feature of walls or doors.

pm: For consumer markets we are seeing an increase towards simple more contemporary designs.

White oak is especially popular. We are also seeing 1200mm becoming increasingly popular as they are a better fit than 900mm for most jobs.

How has the market developed for different materials/finishes?

JC: Clear pine mouldings continue to be a great volume seller and traditional also seems to be back in fashion with oak seeing a surge in popularity.

White primed is also attracting increased interest, as it provides a time-effective, hassle-free solution for the needs of the end consumer.

Pre-finished, white painted and veneer wrap mouldings are certainly the main growth products for the future.

pm: Increasingly installers want a faster installation time.

So for new build and major refurbishment, primed or wrapped ready-to- finish or fully finished mouldings are becoming more important.

We can also provide matching trim mouldings for solid and engineered wood flooring offers.

What new technologies are impacting the sector?

JC: Technical advances are delivering operational improvement in production and distribution stages.

For example, we have invested in powerful scanning systems at our company to streamline the process of getting products out to customers.

Consumers are also looking for inspiration online, so we’ve now developed some interactive planning tools for staircases and decking, allowing end users to visualise what products will look like in the home.

Tools like these are perfect for mouldings, helping customers achieve the right aesthetic and driving demand for merchants. pm: We can match mouldings to any colour our customers need.

It’s important for us not just to supply standard mouldings but to be able to cater for the bespoke market too.

Where else is your company investing in its business?

JC: This year, we have opened a new multi-million pound 81,000ft2 distribution centre at Abbotsfield dedicated purely to core independent and national merchant customers.

It features a brand new barcode picking system and state-of-the-art racking and picking, all designed to streamline distribution operations.

Investing in our manufacturing processes is also a key priority and we’ve installed a new purpose-built mouldings line, a finger jointing line and also a new veneer wrapping line.

We’ve totalled investment of £5.2m in new machinery since January 2014.

How do you see trade prospects developing post-brexit

JC: Despite the fear around Brexit, we’re taking a positive outlook as we believe the UK economy is very strong.

Like many other manufacturers who import raw materials, we’ve experienced the effect of inflation, but although we saw a slight downturn in growth immediately after the vote, our growth pattern has now recovered and looks set to continue as we close 2016. pm: Much of the raw material for our mouldings are sourced within Europe, but it’s difficult to say what the outcome will be until we know more detail about Brexit agreements.

But with increasing recognition in the UK of the need for more housing, either new construction, or conversion of existing buildings, the market looks to be encouraging.