Eco focus key for Panaz’s new UK Sales Director

Diane Chadwick, new UK Sales Director at fabrics supplier Panaz, discusses her recent appointment and the company’s plans for 2023.

How are you settling into your new role?

Prior to joining Panaz, I was responsible for bathroom manufacturer, VADO’s, specification sales for 14 years, most recently as Director of Specification Sales. I joined Panaz as I was looking for a new challenge and given the company’s commitment to innovation and quality, I felt we would work really well together.

One of the reasons I was drawn to Panaz was because of its values, a lot of which align with my own beliefs. For example, the company is committed to reducing its impact on the environment by working in partnership with the industry to support and secure a prosperous future for all. From my first interview with the company, I was very impressed by its environmental commitments and its unwavering dedication to achieving the highest possible standards at all times.

Specification teams play an integral role in ensuring professionals achieve a successful installation, and my colleagues at Panaz are extremely hardworking and committed to working together as a team to ensure that as a collective we achieve strong results, not only for ourselves but for the customer.

What immediate plans do you have in the pipeline?

I think that it is beneficial to work in dynamic ways that enable you as a team to assess in real time the success of your activities. This approach makes it easier to react to customer requirements and ensure you are maximising productivity across every aspect of the business to achieve strong results.

As part of this, we are currently implementing a new CRM system that will assist us in increasing efficiency and streamlining customer communication even further to ensure we consistently deliver the highest standards of customer service and support.

We have also implemented a small restructure that gives each business development manager greater authority over their geographical areas, serving both hospitality and healthcare, to help them forge stronger relationships with existing and new customers.

What other plans longer term can you share?

Panaz is truly committed to incorporating technology into design. The company has been at the forefront of technical innovation in contract fabric manufacture for over 35 years and is extremely aware of its responsibility to support furniture manufacturers and designers in meeting the most stringent project requirements, without compromising on aesthetics.

With contract fabrics, it is important to consider why each fabric may be suitable or unsuitable for a particular application, so we are also continuously developing our resources to assist our customers in achieving a successful installation.

What can customers expect to see with you in the role?

Panaz’s great strength is that it really knows its clients and what they require. As Panaz’s new UK Sales Director, they can be assured I will be out proactively meeting with them and listening to their needs to identify how we can support them in fulfilling their specific requirements. I work the same way with suppliers, and I hope both groups will come to know me as an individual that is reliable and always visible to ensure that their needs are met to the best of my ability.

Away from work, what do you like to do in your free time?

I have two amazing daughters, who are my inspiration. I think that it is important to set good examples in life, and I make sure to be a good role model for my girls. I think a work life balance is also important for everyone to maintain, so I enjoy my time away from work by enjoying nice food and wine, whilst also going for runs.

What would you say is trending in the industry at present?

Sustainability continues to be a key consideration for the industry as we collectively try to minimise the impact of both our operations and products throughout the entire supply chain, without compromising on quality or longevity. To support customers in achieving this, Panaz has recently extended its range of recycled and recyclable basecloths with the introduction of the industry’s first 100% recycled crepe, EcoTwist.

The basecloth, which can be used for both solid colour and print textiles, consumes less water and energy during the manufacturing process when compared to virgin polycotton. The lightweight and durable fabric is suitable for use as an upholstery fabric and accessories, combining outstanding technical performance with soft and textural qualities.

How has business been for the company so far this year?

We have experienced a very positive start. We have a very strong pipeline that is being fulfilled by an energised team who are serving their loyal customers with a consistently positive outlook. The market has shifted slightly in the current financial market, which can be seen with a minimal reduction in refurbishment projects due to the increasing cost of energy. However, new build developments remain very strong and we are continuing to support a great number of these types of projects across the hospitality, healthcare and workspace sectors.

A single sales target unites all members of the sales team. This encourages collaboration and support between every employee as they cohesively work together to benefit the company as a whole. This has helped to create and draw together a united and energised team that is reactive, dynamic, and keen to help their customers and I’m delighted to be working with them.

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