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Growing business - American style

It’s an exciting time for our North American operation. With the new factory in Mississippi, opened just barely a year ago, ROXUL Inc. is certainly making its presence known in the US market. There’s been strong growth in Q1 with particular focus on increasing the business in the south.

The steep increase in sales of ROCKWOOL products in the US continues. On more and more construction sites – be it commercial buildings or private homes – the easily recognisable red ROXUL packaging can be spotted.

The general pick-up in construction activity is being helped by numerous state initiatives moving towards more stringent building codes with increased insulation values. Governments are mandating increased efficiency in their own public buildings, not only to combat climate change but also to save on operational costs.

“It’s really all our major segments - Residential, Commercial - which are moving,” explains President of ROXUL Inc. Trent Ogilvie. “The only market where we see a slight slowdown is for technical insulation due to current low energy prices reducing investment in the oil and gas sector.”

Southern sales focus

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) continues to be a main growth engine. ROXUL products are now stocked in 47 out of the 50 US states, and represented in over 2,200 so-called big box stores. Big box stores are the popular name for major home improvement centers.

While the build-up of a national brand is underway, Trent Ogilvie explains that the main sales thrust is still concentrated around those areas close to the new Memphis factory:

“To be in with the big box stores, we need to deliver on a national scale but for most of other market segments, we prioritise proximity to our factories to optimise delivery service. So, at the moment, it’s important to optimise the take-up of capacity in our new Memphis factory, particularly at a time when we’re familiarising ourselves with the best ways to achieve a highly efficient operation.”

Trent Ogilvie continues: “The factory was inaugurated in September 2014 but the ramp up was initially more complicated than expected and generated extra costs. The process is back on track and optimum production is expected towards the end of this year.”

Stepping up our sales approach

An important element in driving sales has been in-store sales demonstrations, so an in-house team of Retail Sales Specialists (RSS) has been established. The team is dedicated to servicing big box stores and lumber building supply outlets.

One of the RSS team’s main responsibilities is to conduct daily demos and sales calls within the big box stores and ensure that they have sufficient on-hand stock, sales/technical literature and signage, plus knowledgeable sales staff. The team aims to build strong relationships with store managers, sales associates, local contractors and customers.

“The decision to establish a new in-house team was challenging in that we had previously been successful using 3rd party associates,” says Trent Ogilvie. ”However, with rapid store expansion and sales growth opportunities nationwide, we felt it was necessary to manage the consistency of our in-store brand presence more effectively”.