Caesarstone UK | Changing business following customer feedback

Recently-appointed managing director of premium surface brand Caesarstone UK & ROI Edward Smith talks about listening to its customers to inform business changes

03 Apr, 24

Recently-appointed managing director UK & ROI of premium surface brand Caesarstone Edward Smith talks about listening to its customers to inform business changes, ahead of a new product launch

Caesarstone welcomes MD UK & ROI

“I’m not quite sure I can say I’m the new guy for much longer”, laughs Edward Smith who was appointed as managing director of Caesarstone UK & ROI in September last year.

“I’m embedded into the business now. I’ve had a chance to meet every colleague and probably the majority of our customers. It’s the only way to properly understand a business and dip test where we are and what our customers think of us.”

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Customers at core

And what has Edward Smith found out about the business? “When I came into Caesarstone, what I observed and what was reality, is that absolutely we design and supply premium products. No question. I think there wasn’t necessarily premium customer service though. But I also think that’s the worktop sector, generally.”

Caesarstone | Taj Royale

Meeting the consumer trend towards natural colours, Caesarstone introduced Taj Royale to its quartz worktop collection


Currently surveying its customers to better understand the needs of fabricators and showrooms, Smith says: “I’m not sure it’s that commonplace in the worksurface sector.

“We can get proper feedback from our customers and be data driven in how we develop and grow.

“We want to make the customer is at the heart of what we do. I think a customer index is a really important driver for the business.”

And he said this understanding of what customers want, and working in harmony with them, will provide the greatest sales opportunity for the business.

“If you are truly symbiotic with your customers then both businesses will grow, and you will both be successful and that’s a partnership.”

In fact, such is the importance Smith places on customer satisfaction, he cites turnover as well as a business valued by its customers, as a personal benchmark of success.

Improving stock availability

With a background of delivering operational transformation, Smith has already started on making changes to resolve issues which has arisen from customer feedback, including availability, stock management and delivery.

Caesarstone opens Irish distribution centre

Caesarstone UK opened a warehouse and distribution centre in 2023


Using overarching learnings from his previous experiences, Smith says: “Simplicity is best. The easier you can make a process, a procedure, information or decision-making for a customer and for a business, the easier it is to do business.”

The company has now taken control of its delivery service to make sure it is delivering on time in full. “We are now planning all the routes ourselves fully and to the point, we now make pre-delivery calls to our customers, just to check if there is anything else we can do while we are heading their way”, explains Smith.

Caesarstone UK has also brought a supply chain expert into the business with 30 years’ experience of logistics to drive the business forwards.

Smith says in a short time of implementing changes, he has already received customer compliments about the improvements to the business, but adds: “There’s more to go. We will get to a fully automated process, where customers can track deliveries.”

Substantial growth

Having set up in the UK in 2017, Smith states Caesarstone grew rapidly and he is now readying the organisation for the next leg of its growth. “Where we want to get to in three years is ‘substantial’ growth of the business.”

Caesarstone opens Dublin studio

Caesarstone has opened a studio in Dublin


Smith points out: “I think we are holding our own in the retail sector”, explaining Ireland is a “real growth market”, with Caesarstone having opened a warehouse and more recently a showroom in Dublin. He explains 60-70% of “standard” kitchens sold  in Ireland have an engineered surface, whereas it is about 30-35% in the UK.

However, Smith adds he wants to make sure Caesarstone is a “competitive, serious player” across all relevant markets including independent kitchen showrooms, national chains, housebuilders and property developers.

It has seen the company invest by employing talent for these channels.

Also growth has been supported by the company being present in Material Source Glasgow, which is used as a resource by the architecture and design community, as well as kitchen retailers.

“We can’t forget our roots”, explains Smith, adding: “Our roots are independent kitchen showrooms. We need to make sure we add value to their showrooms. That’s how we’ve grown the business and we need to make sure we nurture and grow that business.”

However, Smith admits change comes with challenges: “I think with every business, change always carries risk. So it’s about making sure the organisation understands the need for change and the benefit of the change and to come along on the journey with you.”

Multi-surface portfolio

It could also be argued, there could be challenges as a tough economic climate isn’t the easiest time to take over a business, as well as the white elephant in the room about potential health issues surrounding the fabrication of quartz.

Caesarstone featured in Material Source Scotland

Material Source in Glasgow features Caesarstone surfaces


But self-confessed optimist “I’m a glass half-full type of guy”, Smith points out: “The general consensus is positivity in the KBB market is slowly gathering momentum. It just feels as though people are saying ‘Yes, it might be a tough economic climate but let’s get on with it’.”

And he further highlights Caesarstone UK is well-positioned in the surface market, not only offering a low-content silica range of quartz tops, but also a “compelling” multi material offer. As alongside quartz and mineral surfaces, the company moved into developing porcelain having acquired Lioli Ceramica in 2020.

In fact, the company has a “significant” product launch planned for Spring, with a double figure of surfaces decors set to launch across quartz, mineral and porcelain.

Edward Smith concludes: “Caesarstone has been going for the past 40 years and all we’ve ever really done is premium surfaces. So we’re investing in lots of new technologies and lots of new surfaces, so we can make sure, we have got what the market wants.”