John Newcomb, the new managing director of the Builders Merchants Federation, set out his vision for the future of the organisation at the annual BMF Members Day yesterday (October 9).
“In first 70 days I’ve visited seven BMF members varying from nationals to smaller independents and those in between, as well as two suppliers,” he said.
Newcomb wants the BMF to be the authoritative voice of the merchant industry. “I’m not talking about construction or building materials but the merchant sector,” he said. “I want the BMF to be first port of call for anyone requiring information about the builders merchant industry.”
He also intends to make the association a “fully inclusive Federation that represents the interests of independent merchants, national groups and suppliers to the building industry. We are a trade association, we don’t want to be anything else.”
One of the priorities will be to lead the migration of the BMF to its new offices in Coventry in the early part of next year as well as providing leadership and direction for existing staff, spending more time with the members
“We will continue to represent to industry and lobby the Government on all merchanting related issues,” he said, adding that, while gaining new members is important, a key priority will be keeping the existing members. “Membership growth will come but it comes with solid retention of existing members.”
Other areas for focus, Newcomb said, will be to develop a new structure for the business, recruit new staff to replace those lost in the move to the new offices and to ensure the “development of a ‘can-do’ culture for the BMF.”