Rowland Wood is a key member of the team at Flexion Global, which is a company that develops high-strength, light weight technical fibres. In fact, Flexion Global is the “sister company” of Arbortec Forestwear: a market-leading provider of personal protective equipment (PPE). Based at Corporate House in the heart of the Kings Lynn’s industrial region, Flexion Global has nearly 30 years of industry operation and has been a family-run firm since 1992.
Rowland was able to take some time away from the business and answer a few questions we had about Flexion Global and Dymaflex.
Rowland, when was Flexion Global founded and what was the primary motivation?
Flexion Global was formed in 1992, primarily to supply cut resistant clothing to arborists as there was clearly a global market for such products. This complemented the directors’ knowledge of the PPE market, but allowed laser focus on a key element of it. The basic cut protection fabric used in the chainsaw workwear is the same material as used in the current workwear range for protection against cuts and lacerations from glass and sheet metal. A niche was quickly identified in the industries producing and processing glass and handling sheet material. Today the company has two divisions – Flexion Global which supplies industry, and Arbortec Forestwear which concentrates on Arborists.
Has the current COVID-19 pandemic affected your stock levels and what is Flexion Global implementing to ensure consumer needs are still met?
The cut resistant clothing that Flexion Global supplies is made in our wholly owned facility in Portugal. Production there is as yet unrestricted, so we are taking the opportunity to increase our UK stockholding as a result. We are getting a consignment of finished goods every week, which will enable us to continue with our next day delivery promise, even throughout the current crisis. The UK warehouse still continues to dispatch goods, and consumer needs are still being met as normal.
What makes your Dymaflex workwear more practical than your leading competitors?
We promote the fact that our products are simply lighter, more comfortable and in stock. Historically, PPE has been bulky, unpleasant to wear, and often itchy. We set out to manufacture products that have the same cut resistance, but are smarter, more stylish and great to wear. I think we have achieved this. We even include shirts to 5XL and trousers to 50” waist, so larger sizes are not neglected. The Dymaflex range has become the number 1 choice for wearers. We have had several orders from individuals who are not happy with the goods supplied by competitors and have purchased Dymaflex products for their own use at work. We design and manufacture on the basis of a happy user being a productive one.
What is the main difference between Dymaflex, Dymatex and Dyneema?
Dymaflex is the registered trade mark of the finished product. This covers shirts, trousers, jackets and aprons. We are building this brand which has the key messages of “simply lighter and more comfortable.” The cut prevention fabric used in the manufacture of the goods is known as Dymatex, and is our own registered brand. Dyneema is the raw material manufacturer whose fibres are used within the production of our garments.
From a distribution perspective, what are your plans for when the crisis has passed?
We are currently building a network of quality distributors in the UK. These are companies that don’t merely put items onto a website, but that have the technical know-how to properly sell and present our Dymaflex range. And there are many in the UK that are able for this. We welcome approaches from safety distributors, industrial supplies distributors and workwear distributors to come and join us.
The second strand to our distribution strategy is to open distribution to USA, Canada, Australia and Europe. We are well placed to extend distribution quickly into Europe, because even with the uncertainties surrounding a post-Brexit trade deal, our presence in the EU is already in place. We have plans to extend the EU factory to include stockholding so that goods can be distributed throughout the EU even if trade tariffs are implemented between EU and UK.
Thirdly, we are considering acquisitions, and approaches have been made to other leading brands already.
Do you offer samples or returns for consumers who are just trialling different PPE products?
We offer sample packs of cut resistant gloves, from our Xscape range. These are supplied free of charge to qualified enquiries. All we ask is for genuine feedback. Clothing is a little different because of the higher values, but if we establish a company with an application that suits our products, we will supply free samples. We envisage that following the Covid-19 crisis there is likely to be much fewer face to face meetings, in which case sale or return samples can be sent out to prospects.
Do you offer colour customizations for consumers trying to purchase PPE in, for example, company colours?
Yes. Because we are the manufacture we can produce in almost any colour that fabric is currently available in. It isn’t possible at the moment to recolour the cut-resistant material, but the other parts of the clothing can be as diverse as required. However, as always with manufacture, it is not possible to do this economically for just a few items of cut resistant apparel. But when the requirement is for 50 garments or more, even if called off over an agreed period, we can certainly assist. As an example, some companies have requested corporate colours, and the addition of a top pocket in the shirts, so most things are possible.
Thank you Rowland for your time!
You can follow up with Rowland Wood at https://flexionglobal.com