2016 Year in Review: Carl Yench, Assistant Director and Head of Technical, Europe Imports
What goals did your company kick in 2016?
2016 was a great year for Europe Imports in both sales growth and company development. Throughout the year we opened a second warehouse location in Seven Hills, developed interstate markets, employed our newest sales rep Emma, implemented a new ERP program to better serve our customers, saw the release of the 2 cm Grohn range of exterior porcelain, introduced new premium travertine and limestone ranges and also launched a new range of stone imitation mosaics by Ezarri named the Zen range. To say that 2016 was a huge year for our company would be an understatement!
How does your company plan to better itself in 2017?
As we are always looking to improve our product ranges and services, we will continue to focus on building a comprehensive range of products to cover the pool surface areas whilst focusing on client satisfaction and customer service. We are aiming to be able to supply the industry with the most comprehensive selection of high-quality pool interior and exterior surfacing and installation materials.
What new technologies are you seeing gain traction in the pool industry?
There are two product groups that we have seen gaining traction in the pool industry recently. Over the years, epoxy adhesive and grouting systems have had a bad stigma attached to them due to the difficulties associated with the installation. In recent times, many manufacturers have reformulated their systems to become more user-friendly and also much higher performing than previous formulations. Some of the new systems possess qualities that many installers and project owners are appreciating. Easy water clean-ups, high UV resistance, acid resistance, workability, great colour selections and also the ability to be used as both adhesive and grout system in a single product. The feedback that we have been receiving from our customers in recent times is indicating that a long overdue evolution in the epoxy technology has arrived and is beginning to change the attitudes of the installers.
We also have noticed a trend towards 2 cm porcelain pavers emerging in both commercial and domestic project application that demand predictable, adaptable and high-performing surface finishes. Certain projects require specific performance requirements. Whether it be consistency in size, shade, colour or even the ability to utilise pedestal systems for more technically demanding installation, I believe that the 2 cm porcelain products will continue to gain traction into 2017.
What issues do you think the pool industry needs educating on and why?
As the Ezarri mosaics JointPoint backing system has been the most successful pool tile in the market, and also, as a company that strives for leadership of the sector, we hear about many issues in the industry. One of the biggest topics we discuss with clients is suitability of products for the application. These past few years have seen many new ‘pool safe’ tiles and new mosaic sheeting systems introduced to the market — I believe that there have been six new brands in the past four years alone.
Some of these products on the market have been experiencing quantities of failures in pool application. I believe this is largely due to manufacturers and importers rushing into the market prior to fully testing the products. But not only this, they are also failing to educate the installers about what adhesives, grouts and installation techniques are correct or apply to the product. Many of these new products don’t even meet the Australian standards (allowing 90% adhesive coverage on the rear of the tile) and there is no shortage of documents floating around that state their product to be an exception to the rule.
There are many reasons that a failure can occur in submerged conditions; however, as importers we have responsibility to ensure that we are able to support the installers, ensure that our products are suitable for the application, offer installation specifications and most importantly take responsibility. If as importers we do everything we can to educate the market with solid and truthful advice and documentation, then consumers, contractors and builders don’t suffer. If there is anything in my eyes that I think the industry needs educating on it is understanding what the importers of pool mosaics should be responsible for.
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