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Monday, March 4, 2024

Kyle Waney Champions Eco-Innovation in the UAE with Standard Turf’s Global Vision

Kyle Waney, Vice President at Standard Carpets Ind LLC, conveys his experience in the textiles industry, underscoring innovation and a focus on people. He spotlights the expansion of the company’s facilities and the creation of Standard Turf, showcasing their dedication to sustainable and quality artificial turf. In this insightful interview, we delve into Kyle’s vision to uplift the UAE’s artificial turf sector and his strategic push for vertical integration, inspired by advice from his uncle & mentor, Gulu Waney, who champions quality, service, and strong customer relations as key to success across diverse businesses.

Can you walk us through your professional journey, highlighting key milestones that have shaped your career?

“When I first moved to Dubai a decade ago, Standard Carpets was still based at its original site in Sharjah. One of the first projects I ever took part in was shifting our entire setup from our original location to our current facility in Dubai Industrial City. Here, it had grown organically for 15 years, and the space was no longer adequate. So, increasing our plot area allowed us to reorganize, improve efficiency, and plan for the future.
Still, shifting was not easy; dismantling an entire factory and reassembling 100km away with minimal disruption to our supply taught me so much about our processes, our customers, and what it takes to run efficiently. I have been fortunate to work for a company that has seen continuous growth for nearly the last 30 years and now we are shipping to 64 countries across 6 continents.

Whether we’re increasing production or increasing product lines, we have always been able to keep up with the latest in the industry. Our wise Managing Director, Mr V Bhushan, sums it up perfectly: “In manufacturing, if you’re not growing, you’re shrinking.” So far, so good.”

“The creation of the Standard Turf division is still an ongoing journey, but I’m proud of where we have reached so far in a relative short space of time. Launching Standard Turf alongside my colleagues was a complex yet rewarding challenge that significantly advanced my professional expertise. Assembling a global team that includes some of the biggest names within the industry, analyzing market potential, securing cutting-edge machinery from the US & Europe, developing products, and sourcing the customers required me to wear many different hats, but all honed my skills in providing versatile business solutions. Whether we’re working with retailers, distributors, or other manufacturers, Standard Turf understands the challenges at each and every stage in the supply chain, and that has given us an advantage in the market.“

What was the driving force behind your decision to create this new brand?

“Our decision to extrude our grass yarn in-house was the most prominent pushing factor in establishing a new brand. Standard Carpets has been converting yarn into finished products for several of the world’s leading turf brands since 2007. While sourcing yarn from third parties allowed us to fill gaps in the regional supply chain, but this process didn’t align with Standard Carpets’ core competency of vertical integration. The most integral part of any turf is the yarn, and therefore we felt that until we produced our own high quality yarn, we weren’t in control of our destiny

Deciding to internalize our extrusion process, it became clear that Standard Turf needed to emerge as a distinct entity within the Standard Carpets group, embodying the same core values. Standard Turf now stands out in its field, aiming to drive the industry forward in the region and globally with its adaptability, cutting-edge innovation, and unwavering dedication to quality”

Who or what has been your biggest influence or mentor in your career?

“My uncle, Gulu Waney, who is also our Chairman, has greatly influenced me. Not only because he is the person who allowed me to move to Dubai and work for Standard Carpets, but also because he is undoubtedly one of the country’s most successful businessmen. Most people I know are surprised to hear that the Chairman of Standard Carpets is also the Chairman of many of the UAE’s most popular restaurants, like Zuma, LPM, Coya, Roka, and The Arts Club.

Clients rarely see any connection between owning high-end restaurants and owning a flooring industry, but the success of both is no coincidence. His ability to lead, trust in talented people, take calculated risks, and relentlessly deliver the highest quality products are only a handful of the characteristics that have inspired me over the last decade working for him.“

How would you describe the evolution of your sector within the UAE’s context in the last few years?

“The UAE is somewhat behind in the artificial turf industry when it comes to quality. Unfortunately, the market has been heavily influenced by low-quality products sold at cheap prices. This has consequently harmed the industry as a whole, leading to the perception that artificial turf is a cheap product that does not perform well over time.

Our in-house R&D department’s high standards, commitment to innovation and rigorous testing is reflected in our products, such as the 7-year UV guarantees on our landscaping turf and the professional-grade quality of our sports turf that designed to be suitable even for stadium use. With over three decades in the UAE market, we understand the value customers place on quality and are dedicated to educating them about key product features like UV stability and yarn thickness, helping to elevate the industry as a whole to meet the UAE’s exceptional standards”

How important is the significance of sustainability for your organization, and what initiatives and developments are in place?

“For both manufacturing processes and product innovation, sustainability is at the core of what we do. We’ve reduced our carbon footprint at Standard Carpets by producing 60% of our daytime energy using solar, which is presently the maximum capacity allowed. Additionally, we have onsite STP, ETP, and RO plants that recycle our limited wastewater into the water used for onsite irrigation so we have zero water wastage.

As far as our products are concerned, we believe artificial turf in this region speaks for itself with the amount of water savings it provides. We are also developing a new 100% recyclable artificial turf, which we are looking to launch in 2024. “

How does vertical integration impact the supply chain and benefit our partners in the wholesale market?

“Our vertical integration as a manufacturer is crucial in fulfilling our customer commitments, particularly in terms of lead times. Our self-reliance and on-site storage capabilities means we can guarantee delivery dates without external dependencies. This autonomy allows us to promise local customers turf delivery in under two weeks, a feat made possible only through our integrated operations.

In terms of quality, the warranties we provide are backed by our quality control, our in-house testing, and our use of raw materials. Ultimately, controlling the entire process, from raw materials to finished goods, enables us to meticulously track each stage of production and ensure our products are made responsibly and to the highest quality standards”.

As a parting thought, what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? we asked Kyle Waney

“In 2014, I was having lunch with my uncle, Gulu Waney, in New York City when he asked whether I would like to move to Dubai and work for him at his flooring manufacturing company. I’ve always looked up to my uncle and was excited about the possibility of exploring this side of the world.

Still, I was nervous to accept the offer on the basis that I felt I knew nothing about manufacturing, having worked in real estate and studied Economics at the university. My uncle explained that the flooring manufacturing business is not very different from the restaurant – a business I had no experience in but felt I better understood.

According to him, if you can hire the best people, use the best ingredients, and make great products, you’re off to a good start. Then, once you have a great product, you must offer it consistently, you must provide good service, and you must build a strong relationship with your customers. It was never intended to sound easy, but somehow he made it seem simple enough. Two weeks later, I was in the old Standard Carpets facility in Sharjah, learning about yarn extrusion.

Deciding to move to the UAE was the best career decision I’ve ever made, and my uncle’s insight into what it takes to run a successful manufacturing company has stuck with me to this day”

Follow Kyle Waney on LinkedIn.

Find Standard Turf on LinkedIn and Website www.standardturf.com

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