May is finally here and summer is around the corner. With flowers blooming and the sun shining down, we thought this was the perfect time to announce our next Member of the Month, CMD. We were thrilled to speak with Stephan Roberts, Head of Sales, about the importance of ergonomics in our industry, some of CMD’s latest and most innovative releases, and their next steps in product development and sustainability.
Can you introduce CMD and your role within the company
CMD is the UK’s largest manufacturer of power distribution systems and workstation power solutions. We are also growing and enhancing our position and product range in the supply of ergonomic workstation solutions.
We operate within two distinct channels to market, electrical consultants/contractors and the office furniture industry via manufactures, dealers, and, of course, specifiers.
As Head of Sales, I work across both the furniture/interiors and power distribution teams to drive our sales strategy and performance, while also working closely with our NPD team. CMD is an organisation full of highly talented individuals and I try to increase client and internal collaboration to ensure we embed both customer feedback and technical knowledge into our product development process and bring forward products with the right capabilities, compliance and aesthetics to reflect current and future workplace trends.
Our HQ and factory is in Rotherham and our main showroom/sales office is in Clerkenwell. We support our local community and are proud of our Yorkshire roots and to be a true UK manufacturer.
Have you found that the awareness of ergonomics has grown over the past couple of years?
I think ergonomics has always been important, but awareness of the impact of good ergonomics on physical health and productivity has been growing. It has grown exponentially since COVID, along with much needed and increased awareness of mental health and employee wellbeing.
The biggest impact of the pandemic has been the way people have adapted to working from home as an emergency measure and then, as working from home or hybrid working has become more sustained for many, there has been a need for companies to take responsibility for providing employees with the same standard of set up at home as they have in the office. Any organisation’s biggest asset is its people – it seems crazy to think this wasn’t a priority before.
There is much greater and welcome focus now on the needs and value of individuals: how well a company looks after its employees has substantial employer brand equity in a competitive recruitment market. And supporting the workforce and nurturing positive mental and physical health involves the need to ensure every member of the team has the right tools and equipment to perform at their optimum level, whether they are based at home, in the office or a mixture of both.
Can you tell us about your latest release?
We’re actually really excited about two new, innovative and very different products that are both due to be launched later this year.
Our Neptune unit adds to our varied portfolio of collaboration space and workstation power solutions and provides a compact on desk unit that combines high-power type C USB charging, with type A USB charging, wireless charging, a UK socket and a data port, if required. It’s been designed by our in-house team to provide an ideal solution for charging and powering multiple devices in a single location, either when working alone or when getting together for a meeting.
Meanwhile, our new Miro monitor arm will be a game changer when it is launched later this year. Designed collaboratively by our team and renowned monitor arm designer, Andrew Wills, the Miro is a space efficient ergonomic solution that supports larger format curved screens, while reducing desktop footprint. The patented design creates vertical adjustment and moves the monitors/screens in a different way to any other monitor arm on the market, which enable space reduction and cost saving. It’s been designed to combine outstanding aesthetics with ease of adjustment and we’re certain it will take CMD ahead of its competitors in this area – as it will be the only product of its type to be manufactured in the UK.
How has CMD been addressing sustainability throughout production?
Management systems are very important to us; we are both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accredited and part of maintaining those accreditations is to identify and deliver opportunities for improvement.
As a UK manufacturer, we can supply UK customers with much lower embodied carbon and improved reliability. To build on this, we have been taking steps to bring our supply chain closer to our factory in Rotherham, as well as doing all the things you’d expect, such as waste reduction programmes and reducing travel to the office.
We also benefit from having an in-house design team, which means we can respond quickly to developments in low energy technology and sustainable materials and create products that reflect our customers’ focus on sustainability as well as our own.
When offering bespoke solutions, how do you work with the client to deliver this?
Our bespoke solutions are all about close collaboration with our customer and the end client. With early engagement, we can get under the skin of the brief so that we can understand what the customer really needs, not just what they’ve asked for, and develop a solution that answers their requirement while remaining within their commercial parameters. I’m really proud of our sales team, they are not order takers, they are challenger salespeople with considerable technical expertise so we are able to advise and consult, then manufacture in-house aligning our scheduling to the customer’s deadline.
What’s next for CMD?
Product development is ongoing but our primary focus is on the bigger picture – the themes that are shaping our world, our economy, our work environments and our lives.
The green agenda is a key area, and we’re looking at the demands of BREEAM, LEED and WELL building standards and how we can apply them within our product development process. We’re also considering our customers’ requirements more holistically, from a sustainability, wellbeing and aesthetic point of view. Our goal is to be ahead of the curve in understanding the buildings of tomorrow so that we can develop the aspirational solutions that fit with those environments.
Contact CMD on the BCFA Product Finder
The BCFA Product Finder is a unique search engine created especially for interior designers to source contract furnishing companies. Utilising this platform will support your findings for upcoming projects, with over 200 members profiles showcasing the latest product launches, new materials available, industry news, and design trends.