How easy is it to juggle a global brand, show preparations, and a newly acquired manufacturing facility? Furniture News asked Richard Greenwood – who replaced Mark Draper as La-Z-Boy UK’s MD in October – for the lowdown on his market-leading proposition …
What might a typical working week entail?
It’s imperative that I understand and manage all aspects of the business, whether that be the commercial side, based in Maidenhead, or the production facility, which is based in Colne, Lancashire. Although I try to split my time equally between the two, I am led by the projects and priorities we are focused on, as to where I need to be that particular week.
My background has been sales focused, so I do especially enjoy meeting customers and visiting stores and sales staff as part of my working week, which also gives me a great insight of how the market and our brand is performing.
What’s been your most pressing challenge since becoming MD?
At around the time I was promoted, we, as well as other UK manufacturers, experienced a market-wide shortage of fire-resistant foam, significantly affecting our production facility and manufacturing capabilities.
This shortage required intensive monitoring to ensure workflow and staff resource within the factory was evaluated and managed on a daily basis to coincide with foam deliveries. Despite this shortage, our UK and global procurement teams have worked together to ensure we now have contingency plans in place for the future.
How have you incorporated the Furnico brand within the La-Z-Boy UK business?
When we purchased Furnico Furniture Ltd in 2021 it was always part of our business plan to continue manufacture of the own-label product as we transitioned the business to La-Z-Boy Manufacturing Ltd.
The Furnico-labelled product line is hugely important to our overall strategy, and we know that the products are valued by our retail customers and consumers. Across the La-Z-Boy brand and our own-label offering, we continue to have strong order books and are looking forward to one of the most important promotional periods of the year (winter sale). To keep a strong product offering across both areas of the business, we will continue to ensure that product development and innovation are at the forefront of all new launches.
Give us your elevator pitch for the January Furniture Show – what can visitors expect to see from both brands?
An industry-leading brand partnership, a new recline mechanism and a new product line on our largest-ever stand.
As we enter our second year as the official furniture partner to the NFL London Games, we’ll be showcasing our Spectator sporting chair – which was featured in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at this year’s games – and revealing our plans to further involve retailers in our partnership for 2023.
Along with a taster of fresh brand assets, we’ll also reveal new sofa ranges and mechanisms from the La-Z-Boy brand.
Read the rest of the interview in January's Furniture News, here.