Innovation and Community: How Newmor Wallcoverings Thrives on Tradition

As part of our Next Generation campaign, we caught up with one of Commercial Interiors UK’s longest serving members, Newmor Wallcoverings.

 David Johnson & Robbie Williams

Established in 1967 and based in Welshpool in mid Wales, Newmor has built a reputation as a leading manufacturer in traditional contract specification wallcoverings. But did you know that whilst retaining its traditional roots, Newmor has also invested heavily in their digital capability, increased focus on design, and offer a fast bespoke sampling service through their onsite wet studio?

David Johnston, Managing Director at Newmor Wallcoverings and Board Member of CIUK said:

“I believe in British manufacturing – we’re one of the largest employers in the area and are commitment to manufacturing in Welshpool. We benefit from a skilled workforce and have generations of family members working in our business (me included)

“As someone who has worked from the shopfloor up, its essential as MD I ensure the business is in good shape for the future. The business has evolved with greater investment in digital, but we’ve made sure to retain our skills base in the traditional plant. Both areas work in synergy, we plan longer runs through our traditional plant, where we also manufacture the base material used on digital. We’ve improved efficiency and our stockholding by taking smaller runs through the digital route, which also offers our customers a greater opportunity for bespoke design.  

“Our steadfast commitment to quality and innovation means Newmor has solidified its reputation as a leader in the industry. We have invested in both our plant and people, putting extra resource in our digital studio as well as our conventional manufacturing areas”.

HSEQ champions image below:. From left to right: Jake Rigby, Paul Brewin, Cameron Webster, Ben Evans & Edward Carter.

For a business that relies on a local skilled workforce, it is vital that it nurtures its roots. Newmor offer regular work experience opportunities in the office and factory, as well as apprenticeships. They hold regular open days for schools and college students, and work in collaboration with charity “The Game Change Project” to support young people who come from a difficult background.

We caught up with Robbie Williams, Compliance Manager at Newmor to talk through the initiatives in place:

“It’s important that we promote the opportunities available to the next generation, as generations of family members work at Newmor. We are a Community Interest Company supporting The Game Change Project with life skills confidence and training. The charity does incredible work and has helped hundreds of children build their confidence and sense of purpose, with programmes helping disengaged young people develop essential life skills to improve their mental health and well-being so that they can thrive and reach their true potential in life as they enter employment or further education.

“Within the business, we have Works Council that meets monthly, and has been running for 12 months, with Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality (HSEQ) Champions from across each department. Some of the initiatives already implemented include IT hub(s) in each production department, allowing teams to access documentation electronically; GEMBA Walks (5s) improving housekeeping, and additional welfare facilities such as vending machines and water dispensers across site. We are currently working on fabricating a bigger bike shed due to more employee’s cycling to work.”

GEMBA is a Japanese term meaning “place where value is created”. It’s clear listening to David and Robbie that Newmor is a place where true value is created. The employee participation has undoubtedly impacted their latest accreditation, ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Standard, which adds to their ISO9001 and ISO14001 Standards.

There is a real sense of community within the workforce, as many of them prepare to embark on a charity walk to Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) on the 10th of May to raise funds for the local mental health Charity, Ponthafren. Robbie adds:

“Our most important asset is our people The workplace initiatives and community activities allow everyone to feel safe talking about their mental health”.

So, what’s next on the agenda we asked?

David said:

“We want to look after future generations and recognise we also need to address sustainability. So, we’re currently going through environmental declarations on all our products. We are also incorporating recycled materials into new collections launching in the next couple of months with a plan is to make recycled content standard in the near future”.

Commercial Interiors UK are proud to have Newmor as members and contributors to Design Insiders Next Generation Campaign.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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