Nurturing its roots proves a success for Formica
The Formica Group Ltd, based in the iconic Formica building on the Coast Road in North Shields, has been manufacturing laminate in the North East for over one hundred years.
Formica Group moved its European head office back to its roots in North Shields, after several years at the Cobalt Business Park, during 2017. Since then the company has grown locally, as well as globally.
Paul Foreman, Chief Operating Officer of Formica Group, reveals more about the company’s local, national and international success.
Tell us a little more about the Formica Group
Formica Group invented High Pressure Laminate (HPL) over 100 years ago. Our products have since been developed using the skills and experience of generations of workers. We now provide our laminates for both commercial and residential projects all over the world.
Our products are used in offices, the retail sector, in educational establishments and in homes up and down the country in the form of worktops, cupboards, splashbacks and breakfast bars. They’re ideal in a vast range of projects because they’re so hard wearing and easy to maintain.
Many people in North Tyneside will be familiar with our iconic head office on the Coast Road. We invested a great deal of money into the renovation of the building and moved back in, after a stay at the Cobalt Business Park, during 2017. Coast Road is now our European head office and contains our sales, marketing and management teams as well as the manufacturing operation. In addition, we’ve also included an upgraded Fabrication Support Unit department with a training area, in which we provide instruction and training for our customers.
In the past 18 months we’ve strengthened our UK sales force with the team doubling in size. Our European sales team has also increased by 30 per cent.
We employ around 1,000 people across Europe, around 500 of whom are based here in the North East.
How did you come to be nominated for the Special Contribution Award?
We were contacted by the judges of the award to be told we’d been shortlisted because of our commitment to the local area, the economy of North Tyneside and because we always try to recruit local talent as well as utilising local supply chains.
What does winning the Award mean to your business?
It’s a massive achievement for the team and a real accolade that not only showcases our company but also raises awareness of North Tyneside as a key location for other companies and manufacturers to set up their businesses in the region.
We’re very proud of our local roots and winning the award is a testament to the hard work of the team and to our 70 years based in North Shields.
What are your plans for the business?
Formica Group is half way through a three-year, £40million investment strategy aimed at increasing our competitiveness and growing the business. The North Shields facility has improved operational performance and, we know from customer feedback that our service levels are still considered the best in our industry.
The investment to date has supported innovation and increased production capabilities and we aim to continue this growth in the years to come.
What’s the best thing about running a business in North Tyneside?
The Formica® brand is synonymous with the region thanks to our 70-year heritage in the area. Equally, our brand is synonymous with laminate, which affords us the ability to remain strong in the region and continue our growth here.
North Tyneside provides a real community atmosphere and our employees tend to build a career with us and in the North East. Many of our team members have worked for us for years, including employees who have connections to the business spanning back through the generations.
Being based in the UK means that we are in a strong position to provide excellent, British-manufactured products to other companies in the UK and provide faster delivery times and better cost efficiencies. As a result we can provide price stability, making it easier for customers to plan ahead.
Describe Formica in three words
Original, iconic, pioneering.