on 09 September, 2013

Most of us want to make choices that reduce our impact on the environment, or at least avoid making ones that are overtly detrimental. When it comes to choosing building materials, it can seem like every choice is a bad one.

on 02 September, 2013

Did you know that 95% of business documents are computer generated? It’s a staggering statistic when you think about it, and also an exciting one, because it demonstrates the dramatic effect that electronic documents have had on the business landscape.

on 19 August, 2013

This autumn we are taking i-fix on the road and giving it a tour of Beesley and Fildes’ Merseyside merchants.

on 19 August, 2013

With the economy the way it is today, it’s not good to hear about rising bills – but the recent plans aren’t a surprise.

on 12 August, 2013

Sales is one of those unusual occupations where formal qualifications are not a requirement in most companies, but remuneration can be high.

on 05 August, 2013

How many labels do you think we read every week? They’re on the back of the food we eat, on the appliances we buy and on the medicine we take. We get a lot of our information from these labels because they contain advice and guidance from the experts, which is very important.

on 29 July, 2013

Sadly, promotional activity among merchants is not as good as it could be and as a sector we can be slow to move with the times. Customers still place orders to manufacturers by fax, and HTML emails are rarely understood.

on 22 July, 2013

The mandatory introduction of CE marking for all building service products is an important step forward for the heating industry. Affecting manufacturers, retailers and consumers, it is set to change the commercial landscape for the better.

on 15 July, 2013

Employees are at the heart of every business, whatever industry you work in. Not only do you want to attract the best employees but you want to ensure that once they’re part of the team, they stay happy and motivated.

on 08 July, 2013

Builders’ merchant customers – craftsmen and women – have access to over 40 nationally recognised and funded wood-related qualifications, whilst the timber supply and processing side, post-forest gate, have none. Until recently, merchants have missed out on professional recognition and national qualifications.

on 08 July, 2013

In an age where ‘time is money’ has never been more pertinent, investing in training on the latest products and legislation is often left at the bottom of the merchants’ to-do list.

on 01 July, 2013

The aesthetics and external appearance of any structure are as important as the strength and durability of the main structure of a building. Once the basic structure and the ceiling and walls are ready, an architect will switch focus to the finishing of the external and internal walls. This is referred to as cladding. There are various kinds of cladding materials that can be used to add character and a unique look to any structure.

on 24 June, 2013

Since the start of the recession in 2008, the construction industry was undoubtedly one of the hardest-hit sectors. According to GDP growth figures, the UK economy is starting to show positive growth, but the road to full recovery is long and bumpy and an obvious skills gap has been identified.

on 17 June, 2013

Customer reviews are playing an increasingly important role in the success of a business. These days everyone has an opinion – whether it’s on the plumber who fixed their leaky boiler, or the sandwich shop they get their lunch from – and they want to share with people in a similar situation to help them make a well-informed purchase decision.

on 10 June, 2013

There has been a significant change in the supply and demand for building materials recently. The economic crisis has made us all tighten our belts, but for merchants, keeping their heads above water has meant stock control is under particular scrutiny.

on 03 June, 2013

Increased rainfall has caused devastating flooding across the UK in recent years, with climate change and growing urbanisation attributed as two key causes. According to DEFRA, more than five million properties in the UK are at risk of flooding, which equates to one in six homes in the UK.

The latest Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) have been developed to cope with the demands that heavy rainfall can place on an area, but what are the key innovations that local authorities and builders need to be aware of when selecting the best system to meet these requirements?

on 28 May, 2013

Having spent many years in the construction industry, witnessing numerous peaks and troughs, there's one thing that has remained consistent: the unpredictability of the weather here in the UK.

on 20 May, 2013

Marketing management became the process of management for this privately owned builders’ merchant when taking the business forward.

on 07 May, 2013

When you look at a spreadsheet of customer turnover and profits you might find that those customers who give you the lowest margins are often the ones who give you the highest sales revenue. But should this be the way?

on 29 April, 2013

I think it would be fair to say that the uptake of biomass technology has been a slow burn.

It’s not that there aren’t strong financial and environmental reasons for installing a biomass boiler – there are plenty of those in the “pros” column – but it has taken consumers and businesses some time to embrace biomass as a fuel source.

on 22 April, 2013

Ask yourself: are you investing in sales and marketing and how do you know if you’re getting a return on your investment? If you don’t get a direct return on investment in this climate is it better to save your money?

on 15 April, 2013

Sustainability is now a key part of our industry. It’s a commercially driven issue that recognises two key factors: sustainable building is increasingly cost-effective in the long run, and consumers and clients are placing more and more value on low-carbon, efficient construction. And that’s to say nothing of the actual environmental benefits.

on 10 April, 2013

Ever asked yourself what the difference is between sales and marketing? In this, the first of my articles, we will start with the basics of what marketing is and how sales fit in.

on 03 April, 2013

The chief aim of my (working!) life is this: to provide outstanding solutions for my customers. It’s such a simple little thing, it sounds so innocuous, but mighty oaks from little acorns grow and in the building services industry, it’s something that we all need to be thinking about.

on 20 March, 2013

Three cheers for the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR)! It’s not just a piece of legislation or another box-ticking affair: it’s something to celebrate – something you can use to help differentiate your business from the competition.

on 28 February, 2013

It is easier than ever today for customers to source products. Information is a mouse click away and unless you want to build an atom bomb in your garden shed, most things can be bought online.

Should we in the distribution business despair at the near universal availability of information and products/services? The answer, of course, is a resounding no.

on 31 January, 2013

The start of a new year often brings with it new resolutions; aims, goals or targets that people set themselves to achieve in the coming months. As we enter into 2013 I am very clear that one of our key focuses at Plumb Center this year is to drive forward the importance of water efficiency in the UK.

on 02 January, 2013

There’s been much made of recent ONS figures which suggest the UK’s economy has stagnated.

Granted, we aren’t enjoying the developmental boom of the 90’s, but I think there are some very encouraging signs that we’re entering into a new and more prosperous period.

on 02 January, 2013

Every builder’s merchant will have a no doubt have a familiar customer-base, whether that be Joe the plumber from down the road, or Sam the electrician and his apprentice who pop in for the occasional bulb or two, there is a certain degree of reliance on loyal customers.

on 29 November, 2012

What was true for the dinosaurs long ago remains inescapably true for those in business today - the key to success is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

The important thing, of course, is to be agile enough to adapt quickly, in human timescales rather than geological ones.

on 02 November, 2012

Despite the flak that the energy companies have taken in recent weeks for raising prices to consumers, some fundamental facts remain true: the supply of fossil fuels is limited; world demand for them is rising; so the trend in the price of gas and electricity (still mainly generated from fossil fuels in the UK) continues upwards.

on 03 October, 2012

A decent salesman can sell almost anything to anyone - once. To keep customers coming back, however, you need great service.

There’s a good quote (I just wish I could remember who said it) which went along the lines of: “Great sales without great service is like putting money in a pocket with a hole in it.”

on 24 August, 2012

It’s been really interesting to witness the evolution of the tendering process in our industry.

Years ago, the process was much more “Delboy Trotter” than it is today – companies won contracts on their reputation, their contacts and the price they could deliver at, with the cheapest normally being the winner.

on 10 August, 2012

The Government must push ahead with the Renewable Heat Incentive and desist from stop-start policies if it is to achieve its ambitious goals for decarbonisation, while delivering investment returns, employment opportunities and the growth of the renewables industry.

on 01 August, 2012

I am going to open this blog by quoting from a note sent round to catering teams from the London Olympics Organising Committee (Locog).

“Due to sponsorship obligations with McDonald's, Locog have instructed the catering team they are no longer allowed to serve chips on their own anywhere within the Olympic park.

"The only loophole to this is if it is served with fish.”

on 29 June, 2012

The news from the BSI that only one in five homeowners are set to participate in the Green Deal raises two key questions: why there is such a lack of interest in the Government’s ‘flagship’ green policy, and whose job it is to rectify this problem?

on 28 June, 2012

Social Media is almost an old story. Many of us use it personally, and most have read or heard discussion as to the potential business power of the medium. It would be enough to make a grown woman groan, if it was not for the fact that it is all true, and utterly vital to optimising modern business.

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