Flex-R is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of EPDM materials and cold-applied roofing systems. This year, the company celebrates a significant milestone in its history by marking 20 years of supplying to the roofing industry. PBM spoke with Duncan Winter, Trading Director of Flex-R.
Q: As Flex-R celebrates its 20th anniversary, can you tell us how it all started?
A: To put it simply, it all began with EPDM. The company started 20 years ago with the plan to launch a rubber roofing system into the UK market as although an established product in America, back in 2000 EPDM products were relatively unknown here.
Launching an unknown system into the market could only work by supplying a trusted and reliable world leading product. Flex-R worked with Carlisle SynTec, the pioneers of rubber roofing, to exclusively distribute Rubberbond Fleeceback. In fact we believe in the product so much we still supply it today.
However, getting customers to use a new product is never easy and it has taken a lot of hard work! Flex-R knew the benefits of EPDM — a strong, flexible system which is quick to install — but to start with, installers weren’t comfortable about moving away from their usual systems.
Q:What can you offer merchants?
A: Merchants play a vital role in getting any product direct to market and we believe the merchants deserve a supply partner who works with — and offers unique product to — them and not direct to their customers.
Flex-R created an exclusive range of own brand products for the merchant market which provides flexibility to their customers. We supply two distinct EPDM products, ClassicBond an economical membrane which is easy to install and ClassicBond Pro, a high-performance polyester reinforced EPDM which offers greater tear and puncture resistance.
When we supply a product, you can be confident that we’ve done the research to launch a system which solves problems for a merchant’s customers. For example, our ClassicBond EPDM is available in a range of large sheet formats with rolls up to 15m and this flexibility means a lot of smaller projects can be completed in one piece, whilst merchants can cut the membrane to size.
Q:So do you only supply EPDM products?
A: No, Flex-R has always believed in working closely with merchants and their customers, listening to the issues they face on the roof. We supply a range of cold applied systems for most applications.
ClassicLiquid is a strong, rapid curing, one component liquid membrane for application over existing roofing systems. ClassicRepair is a cost effective, all year-round, patch & repair waterproofing solution. Finally, we have Sure Edge, a fast-fit, PVC-u edge trim system designed around a high-quality finish and the durability to offer an extra-long life.
Q:What else can you offer merchants?
A: We are all about building the relationship with merchants. We achieve this by getting out and visiting the merchants to showcase our range of products. It is our ability to be hands-on with merchants and their customers that is a real point of difference for us.
For example, we provide in-store training for merchant staff so they fully understand the benefits of our systems and we also hold demonstration events for their customers to show the simplicity of installing Flex-R systems.
Most importantly for merchants we also carry enough stock at any one time available for next day delivery.
Q:Apart from the obvious issue of coronavirus, what do you see as some of the key industry challenges?
A: The industry is facing big challenges in the future through a lack of labour. By working with Flex-R and offering training through the merchants, we hope that contractors can see the benefits of this busy and rewarding industry.
Keeping the working environment safe is also a constant consideration. We want to find the safest and cleanest products available for the contractor which is why we are now looking to launch a self-adhered membrane.
For more information on Flex-R’s product range and support services for merchants, go to: http://flex-r.co.uk/products/merchants/