Builders' Merchants News
Enjoy a recovering market

A major upturn in the construction industry has seen demand for timber grow to its highest level in five years. Stephen King, commercial director of SCA Timber Supply and president of the Timber Trade Federation, reflects on a busy six months for the sector.

Driving forward - in reverse?

In order to progress, we often have to look back. Jonathan Eyre, bcg sales director, addresses the importance of looking after longstanding customers.

New rules, new opportunities

This time last year, the industry faced the implementation of the European Timber Regulation. Here, SmartPly’s George Watson takes a look at how this and other legislative changes have affected the company’s business and the market at large over the past year.

SUDS that can stop the floods

With new legislation set to increase the use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS), John Lloyd, head of design at Hanson Formpave, looks at the benefits SUDS offer and why builders’ merchants should be prepared.

Integrated sales success

Fran Smallman, commercial manager for EH Smith, explains how using an integrated business intelligence and CRM software solution has significantly increased the company’s sales performance and productivity.

Charting trends in the bathroom sector

The bathroom market, which includes a vast array of products from sanitaryware to flooring and furniture, continually adapts to changing customer requirements. This creates an exciting sector which actively encourages innovative product design. Louise Flynn, product director at PTS, discusses the emerging trends.

Best-supported merchant

The adhesives and sealants category offers some great opportunities for sales growth, says Nathalie Rogue, category manager at Bostik. Here, she discusses how manufacturers can best support merchants and boost business.

Short lead times lengthen profits

Alumasc Rainwater and Drainage has more to offer merchants than ever before. Managing director Paul Hetherington explains why.

The great radiator debate

Nick Whitwell, managing director of Quinn Radiators, gives an overview of the current issues in the radiator market, including the ongoing debate about the benefit of radiators vs. underfloor heating and their compatibility with renewable energy sources.

Perfect product recommendations

It’s likely that every customer entering a merchant will have a different priority from the one before, which can make recommending the right product a challenge. Jonathan Cherry, head of product management at British Gypsum, looks at some of the issues affecting product choice and highlights how manufacturers can help.

Integration is the key to success

Jonno Barrett, managing director of Kudos Software, tells Jennie Ward why a successful IT system should integrate an entire merchant’s business to improve the customer service offering.

A step change for the industry

Prior to the implentation of mandatory CE marking for construction products at the start of this month, John Lambert, general manager at Forticrete, asked who would be responsible for compliance.

CE marking: the new regulatory move

CE markings are to become mandatory as of 1 July 2013. The new regulation will require builders’ merchants to have more knowledge and tighter control of their manufacturers’ specification data.

EUTR: A positive future

The introduction of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the impending move from the Construction Products Directive (CPD) to the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) from 1 July are both having an effect on the OSB market and, ultimately, the merchant, writes George Watson of SmartPly.

Role of technology in the merchant marketplace (final)

Cloud computing and making the most of facilitators to move business forward are the topics tackled in this final part of the Builders’ Merchants News/Epicor Round Table.

Role of technology in the merchant marketplace (continued)

In the second report from the Builders’ Merchants News/Epicor debate, the panel weigh up the benefits of IT and whether GLNs are the right way forward for the merchant industry.

A new year, a new career

Recruitment has arguably been one of the hardest hit sectors by recession with employers putting the brakes on and prospective candidates too concerned with job security to risk changing company. Is 2013 a new dawn for recruitment? Lynn Sencicle talks to four leading recruitment agencies in the construction sector.

Role of technology in the merchant marketplace

In this Builders’ Merchants News report, sponsored by Epicor, our panel discuss how the industry can evolve its business efficiencies through the use of IT and how it can subsequently improve productivity throughout the supply chain.

Full steam ahead

What’s in store for the merchant sector? Which areas will be buoyant and which will not? Here, some of the key players reveal where they see opportunities and challenges for our industry as we enter the New Year with a mix of positivity and trepidation. Lisa Arcangeli reports.

Developing bolder business practices - Part 2

This month, our panel discusses the business of holding firm when it comes to prices and deliberates on where independents fit into the complex construction landscape for Part 2 of the Builders’ Merchants News/H+H Round Table Debate.

Communicating IT

No matter where you are, cries of ‘the stupid computer doesn’t work properly’ are increasingly common in this day and age. Lynn Sencicle reports.

Facing up to the industry’s problems

Challenging markets pose unique problems. Kevin Appleton, the new chairman of Travis Perkins, expects the market to remain tough for at least another 18 months. Lisa Arcangeli reports.

Developing bolder business practices - Part 1

Merchants face a constant battle not to give their profit away. They are caught between a competitive marketplace and a precarious economic climate. Builders’ Merchants News and H+H invited some of the industry’s outspoken business leaders to air their views about how merchants should aim to banish the fear factor and adopt a bolder, more proactive approach.

A leader with big ideas

John Newcomb, the BMF’s new managing director, is passionate about the role that trade federations play in their markets. In this exclusive Q&A for Builders’ Merchants News, he explains his vision for the Federation and how that will help all merchants’ businesses.

Back to business

NMBS pulled out the stops to launch the first merchant industry conference in three years. It brought together over 250 merchants and suppliers eager to network on a grand scale. Lisa Arcangeli and Lynn Sencicle report from Marbella in Spain.

Lessons learned

The Institute of Builders’ Merchants is setting out its activities for the rest of the year. Rebecca Mason, the organisation’s past-president, interviews current president Andrew Pine about educating merchants of the future.

Creating opportunities in the 21st Century - Part 3

In the third and final part of the Builders’ Merchants News Round Table Debate, sponsored by Acheson & Glover, leading independent merchants examine changes to the sector’s business models, the real role of the internet and how to build and maintain proactive and effective supplier partnerships.

How to review restricted liability

Robert Boslem, senior credit controller at Beatsons Building Supplies, explains why the DPG within credit application forms is so important to your business.

Time for a change?

What do employers need to know when sourcing candidates? Could jobseekers be better prepared? How can a recruitment agency smooth the process? Lisa Arcangeli talks to the top companies in the field and discovers a diverse and surprisingly buoyant market.

Creating opportunities in the 21st Century - Part 2

In part two of the Builders’ Merchants News Round Table Debate, sponsored by Acheson & Glover, leading independent merchants discuss the industry’s problems and how to move the sector’s business forward with greater confidence and better sales.

A faster service from BCG

BCG Merchant is offering its quickest delivery yet to independent merchants. Jonathan Eyre, sales director at BCG explains how a quicker service means better business.

Creating opportunities in the 21st Century - Part 1

Winning share in a shrinking market is difficult, but there is a way to get ahead of the pack. At the Builders’ Merchants News Round Table Debate, sponsored by Acheson & Glover, some leading independent merchants discussed the industry’s problems and how to move business forward with greater confidence.

Deal or no Deal?

Independents voice their opinions about the Green Deal and look at the different options which are currently available in part one of this Builders’ Merchants News/F&P Wholesale debate.

The rise and rise of the online merchant

A merchant is a merchant whether it trades on the high street or on the internet. With an 80% trade customer base, IronmongeryDirect classes itself as a merchant. Here, managing director Wayne Lysaght-Mason talks to Lynn Sencicle about the company’s expansion and growth.