LED Lighting Veteran Paraflex Industries Positioned to Double Revenue Under New Leadership
Smart ideas, bright people, and capital bring LED lighting stalwart to the 21st Century
Paraflex Industries, located in Danville, New Jersey, and part of a portfolio of a Canadian Family Office, has manufactured and sold lighting to commercial businesses for more than fifty-four years. Last year it sent out a call looking for a buyer to revive its stagnant business that was ripe with potential. Principal Equities founder and managing partner, Sameer Mittal, was up to the challenge. In February 2017, Sameer Mittal represented Seedchange Execution Services in arranging the sales of Paraflex to a local entrepreneur in New Jersey. Mittal, well known for scaling businesses and solving complex challenges through his financial and operational expertise, joined the company as an Executive in Residence, serving as president and chief financial officer. Since the change in control, Mittal has helped Paraflex shed its stale reputation and emerge as a significant player in the global indoor and outdoor LED lighting industry.
“Paraflex is a strong company built by smart people, but it had been running on autopilot with little focus on innovation or growth,” says Mittal. “We could see its potential to transform from an old world business originating in a once slow-advancing industry to a rising star in a hot, high-growth market. Not only is it now keeping pace with new technologies, it’s operating with greater efficiency and quickly building its bottom line.”
In his short time at Paraflex’s helm, Mittal has: restructured the company, including its management, product line, and sales channel; formalized operations; and strengthened a brand that is worthy of his team’s work.
Smart Ideas Create a New Platform and Channel
Despite rapid advances in lighting technologies, Paraflex had failed to keep pace. While outdoor lighting—including wall-mount, flood and post lighting used in applications such as stadium lighting—continues to be a high demand business, LED technologies have opened new opportunities for indoor use, such as track lighting and also ambient lighting. Through the diverse network that Mittal counts as one of his most effective tools, the company connected with industry experts to better understand complex technologies and implement new products that incorporate the next wave of lighting advances, including Internet of Technology (IoT) applications. There are now several products and product lines across Paraflex’s outdoor and indoor lighting portfolio that are in development.
To efficiently get its products into the right hands while controlling costs, Paraflex reconfigured its sales channel to focus on relationship-driven sales to specialized lighting agents, rather than through its original OEM channel. The firm’s valuable industry relationships and professional approach help to strengthen Paraflex’s reputation for quality products and service. The company is going from a handful of OEM customers to a roll out of over seventy-five plus agents over the next few months.
Recalibrating and Formalizing Internal Operations Creates a Professional, Efficient Business
Mittal says one of the biggest challenges in leading change for Paraflex has been transforming the work culture and mindset of original employees who had operated as a small, informal business. He’s focused on making internal staffing enhancements and fostering a “can do” professional attitude among employees through training and additional hiring. The company has already doubled its staff, and Mittal expects to continue hiring as the company grows both in its product line as well as its out reach.
Additionally, Mittal has institutionalized processes and put into place operational practices and controls—such as CRM systems and contact management software—to help Paraflex operate more efficiently, keep accurate reports, and uphold compliancy. Institutionalized practices—such as the creation of employee handbooks—enable the company to smoothly operate as a well focussed, professional entity in due course of time.
Prepared for Success
Through its unique combination of financial and operational experience and expertise and its access to industry experts, Principal Equities is helping Paraflex emerge as a powerful player in LED lighting. Nearly one year under new leadership, the company is well positioned to double its revenues in 2018. Mittal says continued success depends on stabilizing the new channel, refining company culture, and continuing to build a strong presence in an industry that is projected to reach more than $54 billion in the coming years.