The past, present and future of the working world with Sean Starkey

In the past 20 years or so the working world has changed dramatically. From the financial crisis, to the rise of technology, no one could have planned for how quickly things would change.

We recently sat down with our managing director, Sean Starkey, to find out how DURABLE has continued to go from strength to strength despite these changes and to find out what the future holds in the modern workplace.

1. How has DURABLE reacted to the rapidly changing working world?

DURABLE has been a reliable partner, manufacturing products that help people in their daily work for over 100 years. We would not have survived if it wasn’t for our ability to adapt to change including the changing landscape of both work practices and patterns but also the nature of the dynamic business services supply chain. Our main strength is that we manufacture nearly all of our product range that support professional working practices even as they change over time, and not just within office products but in other industry sectors too.

In the last 20 years, our working world has evolved dramatically with the rise of tablets, the challenge of digitisation, online disruption etc. and there has been an increase in flexible working patterns and changing working environments. During this evolution, DURABLE has continually identified trends and offered solutions, such as our award-winning TABLET HOLDER range, which help our customers work professionally and efficiently, our warehouse labelling and floor marking systems, our biodynamic and stylish lighting range LUCTRA and many more categories.

It’s this adaptability and proactive analysis of trends that will see DURABLE thrive for many years to come.

2. What innovative solutions and services have been the real success stories in recent years and what should we be looking out for?

We launch new products every year, all aimed at a real market need, so businesses can rely on DURABLE to drive sales and support growth.

In the past 3 years agile working has become normalised in many workspaces. We introduced our VARICOLOR® SMART OFFICE range back in 2014 to provide workers with the flexible storage solutions they need for this new office environment.

We all know how important clear communication is and when combined with the fact that the indoor signage makes up 72% of the print signage market, it’s no surprise that our DURAFRAME® range has seen fantastic success since it was launched 10 years ago.  This award-winning range has only developed over this time. From just a handful of products we now have over 80 different colour and size variants that are used in a huge number of environments from offices to warehouses to retailers.

Right now, we’re really excited about our fantastic new range DURAFIX®. We all have bits of paper floating around our desks, but DURAFIX® ensures nothing is lost in the chaos of notes and notices. Interest in the product has already been fantastic since it launched a few months ago.

Aside from our products, our fantastic free software DURAPRINT® is used by thousands of customers to professionally design and print name badges and ID cards in the blink of an eye.

3. How important have environmental issues become in recent times and how are DURABLE tackling this

Environmental issues are continuing to grow in importance and rightly so. As a plastics manufacturer we work extremely hard to minimise the impact of our operations on our environment. We take our social and environmental responsibility very seriously and this attitude is exuded right from the top of our organisation by our group President.

We’ve taken several steps to reduce our environmental impact including making continual improvements to our manufacturing processes. We waste very little energy during manufacturing as heat from production is used to heat buildings or passed through energy recovery systems. We also use waste from producing one product to create the raw materials for manufacturing another.

In the UK for example, I have installed solar roofing panels, implemented Hybrid company cars, and installed LED lighting with presence sensors everywhere from our warehouse pick locations to bathrooms.

We can all make a big difference to our environment and we have been encouraging others to optimise their processes and procedures to reduce costs and increase efficiency via Lean Management. DURABLE implemented Lean in 2010, using our own products to improve lead times, inventory and delivery performance to name but a few indicators. We’ve shared our experiences in a guide which is available on our website or in hard copy.

4. What does the future look like for DURABLE UK?

A real focus on delivering new products to our partners and helping them gear up to meet the demands of the changing workplace; one based on staff welfare, on a workspace environment which is less sterile and rather more akin to one’s home, a place of fun and a place where people love to come and work. This demands new, exciting and innovative products which facilitate healthy working, innovation and productivity as well as an enjoyable working environment.