Joris Smet Features in Irish Construction Industry Magazine

Question & Answer Time with Joris

Passion, Products and People – as a family run business with 15 years experience in the construction industry, both nationally and internationally; Smet Building Products Ltd is passionate about delivering the leading names in building products direct from mainland Europe to Ireland and the UK.  Nov/Dec 2012 Irish Construction Industry Magazine features a comprehensive article interviewing Director Joris Smet on his phenomenal success in such a short period of time.

The full article an be read below and the Irish Construction Industry magazine can be read online.

Smet Success Spotlight – Passion, Products and People

As a family run business with over 15 years experience in the construction industry, both nationally and internationally, Smet Building Products is passionate about delivering the leading names in building products direct from Europe to Ireland and the UK

The firm’s strength is offering innovative high quality products supported by exceptional customer service which leads to improved site management, time saving, quality improvements and waste reduction. Irish Construction Industry Magazine caught up with Director Joris Smet to get the inside story behind this successful enterprise.

ICIM: What are the advantages to customers of dealing with a family run business?

Joris Smet – Primarily the speed at which we can respond to requests and because there are no office politics we are focused only on getting things done. This means a win-win situation for both SMET and the customer as they build trust and promote the SMET brand.

ICIM: Provide a brief history of the firm, referring to milestones in the development of the business.

Joris Smet – I created Smet Building Products Ltd due to the continued demand for my advice and services after 10 years working in the leading dry mortar industries in The Netherlands, Ireland & UK. Having secured sole agencies for innovative European screeds & renders, achieved ISO9001: 2008 and invested in logistics for both bulk and bagged products, the SMET brand was born. We are a young dynamic company with customer loyalty at the foundation of our creation and future development.

ICIM: In terms of developing your product range, how do you go about sourcing new lines and products and ensure you are ahead of the curve?

Joris Smet – Bringing European Innovation is the SMET mission. I’ve been fortunate having worked in the Netherlands, where advancements in dry mortar technology are many years ahead of the UK & Ireland. Speaking 3 languages certainly helps when sourcing the latest European innovations which I can deliver to SMET supported partners.

ICIM: Please provide a project case study that incorporates innovative SMET products?

Joris Smet – The new Lidl store in Littlehampton, where we delivered an innovative render system that matched the technical requirements and speed of application required by Lidl for a super quick turnaround. This project is a perfect example of best practice partnership combined with innovative products which makes SMET so successful. So much so, we went on to supply many new Lidl stores and bakeries across Ireland and the UK.

ICIM: How do you ensure that your customer services and technical support keeps pace with product development and changing client demands (perhaps focus on your CPD session with clients)?

Joris Smet – We are constantly talking to our customers, in fact it would be fair to say we live in their pockets! We have a concept that each client is a ‘SMET supported partner’, which means each client is provided with a total solution which meets their specific needs. A case in point would be where recently we invested with a client to have the latest on-site bulk storage in order to service the increase in screed demand.

ICIM: Who and where are your clients – in your opinion why should customers look to SMET over its competitors?

Joris Smet – Our clients are located all over Ireland and in the UK, however our clients could be specifying SMET products for projects around the globe. We are known for our pro-active professional work ethic and quite simply because we love what we do. We are champions for our innovative products.

ICIM: How has business been over the past year and what strategies have you adopted to move the business forward?

Joris Smet – We have worked hard and are thankful to see continued growth each quarter mainly due to the strategic introduction of innovative product ranges and  by offering variable delivery systems by package or bulk. We are also continuously busy behind the scenes with advancements on our online offering and digital media.

ICIM: What markets offer most potential going forward?

Joris Smet – There is always potential in the renovations, retrofit arenas and the local Public Realm projects.

ICIM: What quality standards do you operate to and how is quality promoted throughout the firm?

Joris Smet – We realised from our conception, as a supplier of superior quality building products and services, we must ensure our operations are carried out to the highest standards. In order to achieve this we operate BSI registered EN: ISO9001:2008 quality management system that defines all our working procedures and processes.

ICIM: Your website is extremely comprehensive in terms of technical information; how important is an online resource to the future development of the business?

Joris Smet – We are finding customers are using more online resources, accessed through their Smart phones and web tablets, thus the printed media is becoming less popular. There will always be a place for hard copy of course but the future is digital. It’s of paramount importance for our material to be up-to-date, accessible in appropriate formats and above all: relevant.

ICIM: “…with our products and our support, you’ll soon find; improved site management, time saving, quality improvements and waste reduction…” – is there a project or client that encapsulates these positives; please elaborate.

Joris Smet – There are many projects which illustrate these positives; one recent case was the supply to Frankfurt’s first Primark store. In collaboration with our SMET supported partner, Fast Floor Screed Ltd, we supplied on-site silo mixing pumps with JIT deliveries from our German supplier, SHG GmbH. (This is where speaking the lingo comes in handy!) Ensuring continuous availability of CE marked self-levelling screed, the project totalling 4,500 m2 was placed in 4 days. All our projects are managed similarly on a personal basis, demonstrating best practice in partnerships.

 ICIM: What future plans are there for the business; how do you see business in five years’ time?

Joris Smet – Hopefully moving along a similar line of growth! UK markets are interesting to us at present and while Ireland recovers, we plan to invest further in logistics, our websites, SEO projects, customer research and RIBA online resources. Sowing the seeds…..

ICIM: What do you do to keep motivated and driven in the business?

Joris Smet – Personally I have an ‘always on’ business attitude and always accessible. This is reassuring to clients and is made easier with today’s technologies. I love technology in the work-place and am a fan of anything which helps us do our jobs. My genuine interest in building materials means I’m a champion for promoting them and constant dialogue with Germany and Holland means I am always up to speed on future developments.

ICIM: What obstacles are there for businesses like yours and what suggestions do you have to overcome them (this could be anything from Bank credit, sub-standard imports, margins, Government support for the industry etc.)

Joris Smet – Our issues are the same issues faced by each company up and down the country and are not new: getting paid, providing credit and protecting our investments.

ICIM: What do you do in your spare time (hobbies, interests?)

Joris Smet – As I hinted at earlier, I’m a techno freak. I just love collecting gadgetry and innovative products. If I was part of a marketing survey for home entertainment technology, I would be classified as a Tech Innovator! Watching movies would be high on my interests list and naturally, spending time with my wife and our 3 children. Oh, and don’t mention the Lego…!