New Vice President presents exciting future for trend-focused Beaulieu Flooring Solutions
- More acquisitions and production investments on horizon following purchase of Beaulieu Australia and Beaulieu Canada
- Focus on future Digital Printing technology take-off and increasing industry sustainability
- Extensive, high-quality flooring product portfolio ahead of style trends thanks to expert engineers, design, production and marketing teams
Beaulieu Flooring Solutions’ Vice President James Neuling (47) is building on expertise and organic growth with more investments and acquisitions to support the global flooring industry.
Beaulieu Flooring Solutions, a division of the Beaulieu International Group (B.I.G.), is a global operation of 3,300 employees that develops and manufactures an extensive range of flooring solutions from its 17 factory locations. With the June 2018 acquisitions of Beaulieu Australia and Beaulieu Canada, the division achieved a combined turnover of €1 billion in 2017. Products include cushion vinyl, vinyl planks and tiles, parquet, laminate, carpet, needle felt, artificial grass, wall panels and mats. Leading brands include the BerryAlloc laminate, parquet, vinyl tiles and planks ranges, Beauflor and Juteks cushion vinyl and Ideal residential carpets. The Peerless and Peerless Contract Brand have been added to the brand portfolio with the recent acquisition.
After ten months at the helm, James Neuling is introducing a more performance-driven approach to transform the division well beyond a billion Euro in the next few years. To achieve this, the senior executive will draw on his significant commercial experience in upgrading the performance of major companies. Previous sectors include plastics, aerospace and specialty chemicals, as well as the similar architectural finished product arena of lighting.
“Beaulieu Flooring Solutions is a fantastic design and development company with an amazing, broad range of products,” comments James Neuling, Vice President Beaulieu Flooring Solutions. “I see a highly-dedicated, focused team of employees that’s open and ready to taking this business to the next level, and I’m eager to do this with them. We grew organically by an impressive 5% in 2017. We’ve already extended our capabilities in 2018 with two new companies. And we are planning to bolster this with more acquisitions and investments in production facilities and partnerships to enhance support both for our direct customer base through our own brands, and the private label customers we serve.”
Following Beaulieu Flooring Solutions’ $100 million investment in production facilities in North America in 2016, James is looking towards further investment for that region with needle felt as the next big target.
“Approximately €300 million of the €500 million invested in the Beaulieu International Group during the last 5 years was in flooring,” comments James. “That gives an indication of our commitment to growing with this industry, staying on top of global trends, and embracing the new technologies required for innovative finishes such as the emerging concrete look.”
James is impressed by the depth of knowledge of chemical processes, technical expertise and experienced design teams at Beaulieu Flooring Solutions working in combination to support the flooring industry in moving with consumer trends. The division has its own global team of designers that examines general lifestyle trends in depth and translates them into flooring products. The company works closely with its global customers to provide support not just for product development but also for offline and online sales activities, to ensure a consistent look is achieved throughout.
To support the worldwide trend towards more and more solid flooring, it recently revamped its direct pressure laminate (DPL) BerryAlloc range to bring realistic and exclusive new styles to the market. There has been a positive reception from customers following the initial launch at Domotex 2018, and more of the products will be phased in over the course of this year.
James is also excited by the opportunities that digital printing presents for the division’s different solid flooring product lines. Two years ago, Beaulieu Flooring Solutions invested in digital printing capabilities, forming partnerships with leading players in the field. These digitally printed products are invaluable in enabling efficient testing of product concepts and market interest, providing customers with endless design possibilities that cannot be achieved with traditional techniques. While the technology is currently too slow for broad commercial use, James sees Beaulieu Flooring Solutions as well-placed to respond quickly as technologies advance.
Recent investments in its soft flooring capabilities emphasise on-going new developments for these segments too. These include new technology for Carus XL contract carpet, state-of-the-art technology/machinery for needle felt carpet, and full extrusion lines for the artificial grass business. The division is also currently looking at investments in the newly-acquired Beaulieu Australia and Beaulieu Canada plants.
Beaulieu Flooring Solutions is committed to supporting the trend towards greater sustainability across the industry. It is already acting upon opportunities to increase recyclability of flooring, focusing for example on single material products and helping customers to recycle their products.
James concludes: “This is an inspiring time for Beaulieu Flooring Solutions and our customers. People buy flooring for a room, not a house. And we see it as our goal to refresh product trends and styles to help consumers pursue their individual tastes. Our customers rely on us to have the right products that are focused on trends. I look forward to sharing news of future investments and acquisitions to enhance what we are already achieving.”
James Neuling began his career in technical sales within the Lighting industry in Singapore, moving on to sales and marketing-related functions and later becoming Region General Manager SE Asia for Zumtobel from 1998 to 2000. Since 2001, he has held senior commercial positions at major players within the Plastics, Aerospace and Specialty Chemicals sectors. His roles have included European General Manager for the Specialty Film and Sheets division of GE Plastics (now Sabic), Global Managing Director for divisions of Rio Tinto, and more recently, Global Managing Director at the adhesive tapes manufacturer Scapa.
Immediately prior to joining Beaulieu Flooring Solutions, James provided freelance consultancy and executive management support to private equity, mid-cap and Blue Chip entities.
James holds an MBA from the IMD Business School in Lausanne, as well as Marketing and Engineering degrees. Born in Australia in 1971, he has lived and worked in 9 countries. Together with his wife Emily, they have 3 sons, aged 13yrs, 11yrs and 6 months.