Merchant profile: MP Moran & Sons targets growth

Published:  09 May, 2017

Since 1976, MP Moran & Sons has been focused on driving business forward. BMN’s Nichola Farrugia visited the merchant to find out how it is committed to continuous development.

It goes without saying that you don’t survive in business for more than 40 years without evolving and moving with the times. Understanding this fact is family-owned builders’ merchant MP Moran & Sons.

Opening the doors to its branch on Kilburn High Road, north west London in 1976, the company has invested significantly over the years to keep on top of its branches aesthetic qualities.

Operating from five branches across north west London and Herfordshire, each store has implemented new ways to improve its customer service offering, sales, health and safety, environmental polices, and staff care.

“In recent months we have completely redesigned our shop floors in all of our branches to provide a more accessible shopping experience for our customers,” said Bart Murphy, head of HR and operations.

“Walking into a merchant can be daunting for someone without any prior experience of the products, which is why we have put a huge amount of work into our window displays ¬ resulting in a significant increase in new customers ¬ our shelving units are now clearly labelled, and we have introduced name tags so that our customers are on first name terms with our members of staff.”

Creating a more inviting atmosphere, theses changes make the branches nicer places to work in, which, according to Mr Murphy, enhances the company’s already high levels of staff retention, and creates a relaxing place to buy building products.

Go with the Flow

Last year was a big year for MP Moran & Sons as not only did it celebrate its 40th anniversary, but it also opened Flow Luxury Bathrooms at its Kilburn branch. Transforming a derelict shop floor into a thing of beauty, the brief was to create ‘a bathroom showroom like no other’.

“While bathroom showrooms have always existed within the business, more and more of our customers were coming to us looking for high-end bathroom solutions,” said Mr Murphy.

“We decided to invest in the showroom because it not only enabled us to refresh a highly visible part of our operation, but we also recognised that it could open up new opportunities for us.”

From the outset, the merchant had a clear vision to create a bathroom showroom that stood out from the crowd. So, to complement the displays, which includes a 9-carat gold mosaic shower area with 16 fully working shower heads, the showroom also offers visitors the chance to put on a 4D virtual reality headset.

“The 110-degree viewing angle places customers directly in the room, rather than being on the outside looking in through a screen,” explained Mr Murphy. “The software enables customers to virtually ‘walk’ around the displays and interact with moving elements of the room, including opening cupboards, looking inside drawers and stepping into showers.”

With a separate brand and identity to that of the merchant store, the company’s forward thinking approach to setting up Flow Luxury Bathrooms is already paying dividends as it has significantly increased its client base by reaching out to a number of interior designers and architects, which has led to an increase in projects on a more commercial-scale.

Focused on providing the safest, yet most efficient service possible for its customers, MP Moran & Sons sees its transport fleet as an essential part of the business. To this end, the company is FORS Gold accredited, which means that its fleet of vehicles are one of the most energy efficient and safest on the roads of London.

“Being awarded FORS Gold was a fantastic achievement for us as it shows that we’re doing everything we can and more to ensure that our drivers are best placed to deliver products efficiently and safely to our customers,” said Mr Murphy. “All of our driving staff are subject to training, which they are assessed on, on a regular basis to ensure the professionalism of our staff matches the quality of our vehicles.”

To further improve the safety equipment on its existing vehicles, the company invested £70,000 last year on safety cameras, along with sensors to ensure 100% pedestrian safety at all times. In addition, it also purchased three new vehicles with the highest safety specification.

“Investing in new vehicles is a big expenditure for us, but health and safety within our stores and also on the road, have always been at the crux of our philosophy. All of our new vehicles have been carefully specified and checked to ensure they meet and exceed the requirements set by FORS.”

Branch extention

With a strong local economy, MP Moran & Sons has gone from strength to strength in modernising all aspects of its business ¬ a trend that looks set to continue, as the company is currently looking for suitable premises to open a sixth branch later this year. In addition, it’s also in the process of extending its warehouse at its Watford site.

“The Watford site will act as a central distribution centre and will help us to relieve some of the pressures on our centrally located stores, as we will be able to store and expand on our current product ranges,” said Mr Murphy.

Identifying online sales as a vital new channel for its business, MP Moran & Sons is set to launch an e-commerce platform later this year.

“Websites are the shop window to any company, so we want to ensure that our site reflects the quality products and services we offer,” said Mr Murphy. “We are really looking forward to developing this side of the business, and have already got around 6,000 products available to go online.”

The merchant has also invested heavily in social media over the past year, which according to Mr Murphy, has enabled the company to open a new door of communication between itself and its customers by advertising its products, events and offers to a wider audience.

Having put a lot of new initiatives in place over the past few years, MP Moran & Sons is now reaping the rewards from them, as Mr Murphy concluded: “We are committed to reinvestment and strive to be the brand of choice for our customers. We’re confident that we will continue to grow and maintain our position as the one-stop-shop for all of our customers’ needs.”

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