The Board of merchant co-operative and invoice clearing United Merchants plc believes that one conference, open to all industry parties is the preferred option.
There has been much discussion since the Builders Merchants Federation and National Merchant Buying Society both announced their intention to hold Conferences in 2012, both in Europe and within days of each other.
The Unimer Board fully supports the need for a Conference in 2012, but would respectfully suggest that the only way to organise and successfully deliver such an event is by re-establishing the cooperative approach whereby all interested parties get together to assist each other in organising an all industry event.
Unimer managing director Howard Grant says that one of the key objections of this week’s Unimer board meeting was to consider the recent announcements from the BMF and the NMBS.
“The outcome of this discussion was that Unimer wanted to establish a clear position on the subject of networking conferences of this type both for the sake of its members and also suppliers.”
Grant says that in the three years since the last conference the sector has managed its way through massive economic uncertainty and very challenging markets.
“The government has changed and the coalition appears to have a mind to drive forward on a number of economic fronts, some of these such as self-build housing and the Green Deal, will have a direct impact on the merchants and the suppliers to the sector,” he says. “There is obviously a need to network and discuss the major issues and business trends that we face (both current and future), in the market in which we all operate.
Grant also points out that “The Conference” successfully met the conference needs of the industry for the three years prior to the interruption due to the recession and through the organising body of that event, demonstrated that at least four different entities – NMBS, BMF, BMJ, Unimer, could work together to create and deliver a single quality event for the industry.
“By all means utilise the existing hotel booking commitments already made, but bring all interested parties together, avoid division and unnecessary duplicated costs and conflicts of interest and ensure that there is a single, successful all industry conference,” he says.
“This we feel will be to the absolute benefit of suppliers, merchants and our industry generally.”