Better way: Steve Warren on inspiration, recognising what is vital for the business and future challenges

Warren began his career at Black & Decker then after 10 years entered the furniture industry. He has been at Sleepeezee since 2016, first as operations and supply chain director, and md since 2021.

Why did you enter the industry?

‘It didn’t seem as corporate at the time and allowed me to increase my management experience enormously across a wide range of topics.’

What is your typical working day?

‘Catch up on emails first thing and add to my “to do” list depending on anything overnight. Walk the factory floor then check in with all of my direct reports at some time during the day. We will have a few scheduled meetings during the day either face to face or Teams and other than that I am normally chasing down my targets for the day, week etc.’

What challenges do you think the industry will face over the next year, and the next five years?

‘I think that this year will be reacting to the normalised retail sales levels. If its anything like the past two years it will be unpredictable and will be influenced more by economic factors generally rather than anything industry specific. Over the next five years as an industry we will all be challenged to speed up our ESG work and I believe that this will be beyond the pure product and normal business sustainability, but successful businesses will develop a lot of engagement with community and charity projects.’ 

Which company/person do you most aspire to be like?

‘I tend to take inspiration and energy from the people around me rather than from one or two figures that I have read about. I don’t aspire to be like anybody else.’

How does sustainability impact the business?

‘It has changed the way we have gone about our business for the past eight years minimum and is now seen as importantly as any other factor in the business.’ 

Has the way you conduct business changed over the years?

‘I think that the Covid years forced us to really understand what was vital in the business and what was nice to have. This led to us developing a great honesty both internally and externally with all of our stakeholders; customers, suppliers, shareholders and banks. This is turn has allowed us to build some new outstanding relationships and to consolidate the fantastic relationships that we already had.’ 

How could your company improve what it does?

‘We are constantly reviewing to see if there is a better process, better product, better method that we could adopt. Communicating very clearly what you are doing and why you are doing it will lead to some great feedback on areas you previously will not have considered.’

What is the next product launch that’s planned? 

‘We have just launched the Centurial product to help celebrate our 100 year anniversary as a business. This product epitomises both our heritage and our modern way of thinking, achieving product of the year too at the NBF awards in September. We have a number of new launches planned for later in the year, which we’re hoping to give retailers first view of in the summer as well as an exclusive AIS range launching at the April show.’

What do you think makes your company stand out from the crowd?

‘Great heritage backed by a Royal Warrant. Great product, service, quality and lead-times backed up by a team of exceptional people. We have been consistent in our brand and business messaging for a number of years now and will continue this for the foreseeable future.’

What would you change about the industry

‘I think this is a great industry but we must constantly strive to ensure that everyone adheres to the minimum product and customer service standard expected by both the retailers and end consumers.’

How do you spend your leisure time?

‘Travel, family, sport and general socialising.’

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