John Newcomb, managing director of the Builders Merchants Federation, told delegates at the 2015 BMF All Industry Conference how the organisation is faring against its key themes launched at Members Day last September.
“Industry analysis: BMF has developed a strong relationship with GFK and we now have the merchant panel with monthly data from 20 merchants including Jewson, Ridgeons, Travis Perkins and EH Smith. This is the first time the industry has had access to these types of figures.”
Newcomb said that the plan is for the BMF to became the definitive source of information and the plan is to produce both monthly and quarterly reports.”
Another key target was to increase membership and Newcomb reported that the organisation now has 48% more members than it had a year ago – on both the merchant and supplier side, with the biggest of the new merchant members being Wolseley, who rejoined in April.
“We have set up a new plumbing and heating forum and a timber forum and have already run two events in each sector, with two more planned. We also ran a very successful supplier forum and are continuing to look at specific job function forums – HR, branch managers, finance directors, for example.”
Other new schemes and services include the relaunched Customer Charter, a new affinity scheme with hotels, a new insurance scheme, a new energy service with eon and a dedicated website on youth recruitment to the industry. ” I am most proud of our youth recruitment programme,” Newcomb said. “The dedicated website will go live next month.” There is also a video featuring interviews with a number of young people from across the merchant and supplier industry.