Jonathan Lucas, managing director of Elstead Lighting talks to TL’s Emma Morgan about copying, quality control and the future
TL: How did you become involved in the industry?
I joined what was then Elstead Forge in 1980 to work as a business apprentice alongside my father and uncle. I took a business studies degree during those early years and soon began to see that this small engineering business should focus more on lighting. I have spent the last 30 years developing the product range and customer base and I am still passionate about retaining a manufacturing skill base in the UK, in particular within the lighting industry.
TL: What sparked your passion for lighting?
I have a passion for design and the effects of light on the product and its surroundings. I am also fascinated by the engineering involved in creating products and would always look for any opportunity to be involved with product development.
TL: What were your feelings taking over the family business of Elstead in 1990?
I bought the business out in 1990 and changed the name from Elstead Forge to Elstead Lighting. I was still very much guided and supported by my father and older brother in the early years and I knew it was what I should be doing as there was a lot of untapped market potential.
TL: Elstead has become a leading British home lighting manufacturer. What do you feel has contributed most to its success?
Elstead has built a reputation in the market for being good engineers. We apply an engineering mentality to the design of our products and continuously strive to improve quality and performance. Elstead targets niche markets with our distinctive design-led products rather than the mass market with ‘me too’ product style.
TL: What are you currently working on, any exciting projects in the pipeline?
For the last 18 months Elstead has concentrated very much on improving quality, value and our product lead times so that we can improve our service levels to overcome the constant challenges we have had with the supply chain.
Behind the scenes, we have built a foundation for a lot of projects including product, new market and brand development. All of these will be heading for market launch starting autumn 2011 and continuing through to spring 2012.
TL: LEDS appear to be taking over the market; what are your thoughts on this?
Without a doubt, LEDs have been the most influential new form of light source that I’m likely to see in my lifetime. That said, it is a mistake to consider that LEDs will be the solution for all things in the future. The light distribution properties of an LED chip mean considerable restrictions in the breadth of use where they replace currently used lamps.
TL: So there’s still room for other light sources, such as cold cathode, incandescent and halogen then?
All of these forms of light source have properties that in certain circumstances will always be better used than LED. Eventually developments of how LED can be better used may change this situation but presently there is space for all these light source types.
TL: Do you believe that the market should highlight the need for ‘greener’ lighting and put methods into practise?
I think the industry already does a vast amount to both improve energy efficiency, lighting and recycling. I consider the lighting industry far more responsible than many others in terms of energy consumption reduction, waste collection and recycling. Many of these initiatives have been led from very early beginnings by our two excellent industry trade bodies, the Lighting Association and Lighting Industry Federation.
To read the full interview turn to page 14 in the June issue, or in our digital edition http://bit.ly/juRBJn
Elstead Lighting: 01420 82377 |www.elstead-lighting.co.uk