Vision of ambition
NEW NORTH AMERICA CEO
Putting safety first, empowering our colleagues through continuous improvement and ensuring we are indispensable to customers are the top three priorities of our new President and CEO at Knauf Insulation North America, Matthew Parrish.
Matthew Parrish was appointed the President and CEO at Knauf Insulation North America (KINA) in 2019 following two years as our Vice President of Residential and Light Commercial Sales. He has been in the construction industry for 30 years — nine of which have been spent in insulation.
Why are you the right person for the job?
I’ve three decades of experience in leadership and providing customer-centric solutions and I’m 100% committed to making Knauf Insulation the greatest company for our employees. The company has enjoyed great success and I want to build on this to ensure we are the best partner for our customers.
What was your priority when you were first appointed?
In my first 90 days I met as many of our customers and employees as possible to understand the opportunities for all of us. In recent years, we have spent a lot of time focusing on our people and operations and we are now in a position to take our
customer focus to a whole new level.
What do you see as key challenges?
Our challenge is to maintain the positive gap between us and our competitors and that means continuously finding new ways to develop and empower our colleagues. It’s not about one person or five, it’s about the 1,600 people that work for Knauf Insulation North America that will make us even more successful.
What will success look like a year after your appointment?
First, not a single employee will have been injured. Second, we will have exceeded all our financial and non-financial key performance indicators. And, finally, our customers will tell us that they cannot imagine doing business with any other company besides Knauf Insulation.
How will you put customers at the heart of everything we do at KINA?
This starts by changing the mindset of being a sales function to something everyone in the organisation actually owns. We are starting with assembling a customer advocacy team of cross-functional employees to look at all the touch points with our customers.
How do you model and improve safe behaviour?
All the technology and state-of-the-art personal protection equipment isn’t a guarantee to keep employees safe. It really comes down to individual decisions and behaviours. A large part of this is education and awareness. For example, at KINA, we have implemented a safety observation system that engages more employees in the process for creating a safer environment. Ultimately we want to see our employees transfer our safety culture to their homes.
You speak about empowering employees. What does this mean? And what does empowerment look like to you?
This really speaks to one of our Values ‘Entrepreneurship’. We want our employees to own the business.
Are there any continuous improvement initiatives you want highlight in KINA?
We are driving continuous improvement throughout our organisation but this isn’t limited to manufacturing. For example, one of our focus areas is customer-centricity and driving higher customer satisfaction scores.
Are there any new initiatives that have been implemented to improve the sustainability of KINA?
As we look for ways to reduce waste, we are recycling fibre residue back into a secondary blowing wool product.
Any other key areas of focus that are significant?
Another critical area of focus for KINA is driving higher levels of employee engagement. This is being accomplished by creating an environment that motivates employees to be more engaged. I truly believe companies with high levels of employee engagement are highly successful. We have started this journey through employee engagement surveys and focus groups.