Barry Casement knows more about kitchens than most people. But that comes with the jobs when you’re MD of a kitchen manufacturer and installer!
Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
As owner and managing director of Lanzet, my role is to lead the business growth strategy as well as manage day-to-day operations. We work with property developers and contractors nationwide so there is reasonable amount of travelling with my role as I regularly visit clients and meet with prospective clients all over the country.
I am always on the look out for the latest trends in kitchens and new appliances coming to market; and, very importantly, I keep a close eye on the finances and opportunities to operate in the most efficient way, which enables to keep our prices highly competitive.
What is it the company does?
With a heritage that spans more than 30 years, Lanzet designs, manufactures and installs fitted kitchen solutions for house builders, developers and social and commercial contracts.
With offices in Blackburn and Reading, we work throughout the UK providing our partners with a complete solution, from advising on the kitchen styles that will cost-effectively add the most value to their scheme to precision fitting.
We manufacture 100% of our cabinets in Blackburn, with teams of project managers and fitters.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
After school I completed an electrician apprenticeship and started working as an electrician. I then became a kitchen surveyor with Manchester-based Farouche Cuisine, working my way up through the business to director level. I then set up my own distribution business supplying furniture components for the trade. This was bought by a midlands based kitchen company and I remained active in the business until I eventually went it alone again, setting up my own kitchen company to specialise in contract furniture.
The business was originally established in Trafford Park as Interior Contracts in 1985. Following a management buy out and the formation of a partnership with Betta Living in 2008, we added bedrooms and other specialist furniture to our kitchen offer. We then bought Reading-based contract kitchen specialist Lanzet UK Limited in 2009 and subsequently became known as Lanzet Interior Contracts.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
A leader never asks for anything they wouldn’t be prepared to do themselves. I believe a great leader’s actions set the example - hard work, diligence and going the extra mile are all vital qualities of a good leader.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
The biggest challenge was without a doubt surviving the recession. Between 2007 and 2009 the building industry basically shut up shop. Downsizing, battening down the hatches and maintaining the relationships saw us through.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I don’t really get stressed – I leave work at work and home at home; I am able to switch my mindset at the office door. But I have a great team and so challenges can be solved quicker if you have people you can rely on.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a footballer and to play for Manchester United! I am still an avid United fan and often take clients to Old Trafford.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?
Clutter and mess! I run a tight ship. If it’s not tidy you can’t see what you have. I am known for being a little obssessive when it comes to stock management and returns.
Where do you see the company in five years time?
Three years ago we set out an ambitious growth plan and have exceeded all targets; our aim is to now grow the business in the next three years to a £10m turnover business. I believe we have a strong product and service offering, with well-honed processes, so we will be continuing to build on this as part of our five-year plan.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Don’t expect to get more out of your business than you are prepared to put in. Time and effort investments are always rewarded in the end.