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Question time - Decorshade Blinds

Chris Reid, operations director at Decorshade Blinds talks us through his career and how he sees the future of the industry

How did you get started in the blinds & shutters industry?
I started in the blind trade back in 1986 straight from school with a company called Bentley Smith which was part of the Courtaulds Group, which if I remember correctly was sold about 1989ish to the Ashley PLC Group. After the sale I joined Charles Bell (Decorshade Blinds)

What is your position at the company and how has your career progressed since you joined the company?
I have held many positions within Decorshade Blinds UK. I started back as a bench hand assembling vertical head rails and progressed through the company as a fitter, surveyor, production supervisor, factory manager, assistant manager and finally operations director. So I would like to think I have a good understanding of every aspect of the company. I even make the brew now and then.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I think the biggest influence on my working career has to be myself; I ‘am very self motivated and driven and I am a great believer of “what you put in is what you get out”.

What is your greatest achievement at the company?
I work in partnership with North Lancs. Training Group and have completed the funding for 22 NVQ’s for the staff in Administration, Logistics, Manufacture and BITS (Business improvement techniques) with this training we have managed to keep a skilled and loyal workforce together and help the company grow as a whole.

How has the company changed in your time there?
Over the 18 years I have worked for Decorshade Blinds UK the company has grown from the small industrial unit in Monton to three units on Wardley Industrial Estate. We have also in this time expanded our product ranges to strengthen our offering, and with the team I have around me we are very capable of producing in excess of 50,000 blinds per annum and capable of further growth.

What do you feel is the greatest threat to the industry today?
A self destruct button within parts of the industry, which feel the need to constantly drive prices down which then in return make it difficult to pull prices back.

What have you learned from the recession?
That the strategic planning the company had in place which covered  events like this and that the revenue made in previous years for reinvestment and rainy days helped guide us through, but there are also hard decision to be made to keep you in the game and never lose focus of the bigger picture.

What do think the outlook is for the market in the coming years?
I feel once the new Child safety regulations have settled down and the message gets across all levels of the industry the market will start to change, I would like to think that the lower end products and offers will give way to other better quality products, motorisation will get stronger as will the energy efficient fabrics, the safe by design products will hold a premium – so there will be opportunities and I think the idea of bringing back the made in the UK mentality will also improve the market quality.

What do you think will be the future big changes for the industry?
There is going to be more competition, the online sales will continue to grow and customers will shop around more.  There will still be the loyal customer who will stick with trusted suppliers and brands. The motorisation of the industry will take control.

Where would you like to live?
I would like to be very, very rural and where today’s technology can’t work! Peace and quiet

What is your favourite book?
Not sure this is my favourite book it is the one I remember most, “Enders Game”.  The book has just been released as a film and has been poorly done in my opinion. I have always read books as a kid I was constantly being told off for reading under the quilt with a torch!

How do you relax?
I like to do a lot of walking, I live up near Rivington in the North West, the best back garden anyone could have.

What is your desert island disc?
Not really a music listener, just a noise in the back ground

What is your ideal holiday?
I love city breaks getting out and about seeing the proper side of a city. Favourite city would have to be San Francisco.

 

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