The five companies were selected for their commitment to supporting and developing their teams through their use of BMF training.

The Builders Merchants Federation has announced the five companies that have been nominated for the title BMF Training Company of the Year 2023. They are Haldane Fisher, Harlow Timber Group, Howarth Timber and Builders Merchants, the IBMG Group and Robert Price.

Nominated by BMF Regional Managers, who work closely with members in their area to satisfy training and other service requirements, the five shortlisted companies were selected for their commitment to supporting and developing their teams through their use of BMF training.

Haldane Fisher earns a place on the shortlist for a second time as it continues to encourage and enable colleagues to fulfil their potential through training and development programmes that benefit both the individual and, ultimately, Haldane Fisher customers. In addition to in-person and virtual courses focused on sales, margin development and customer service, the company commissioned a bespoke four-part hybrid programme covering Operational Excellence & Four Pillars for Non-Branch Managers.

Harlow Timber Group has consistently taken a pro-active approach to learning and development, both to enhance its teams’ skills and to enable colleagues to achieve their potential with courses designed to strengthen their knowledge as well as the customer experience. Over the past year, Harlow has developed team leadership with a bespoke “Supervisor Toolkit” programme delivered by BMF Trainer Jason Routley. The BMF’s “How a House is Built” workshops have been delivered to teams across the group, and Harlow is also supporting colleagues with programmes devoted to mental health awareness. 

Howarth Timber and Builders Merchants supports the training and development of its teams with thorough appraisals to assess individual needs. The company has consistently run its own BMF Diploma in Merchant Management group and has committed to continue this development approach for junior managers. New employees gain a sound foundation and understanding of the building process through the BMF’s “How a House is Built” course. It has also embraced informal development opportunities through attendance at BMF Forums, with 11 delegates attending the Branch Management Forum alone.

The IBMG Group has also been shortlisted for the second successive year due to the consistent approach of its HR and Training Team, which has rolled out Business & Development Training Plans across the group that focus on colleagues at every level from new starters to directors. People development and engagement is a core part of its strategy and it has worked with four BMF trainers to develop bespoke training packages that are implemented throughout the business. This includes a full BMF training schedule for entry level staff which develops into stage one advancement, currently running at four locations across the UK.

Robert Price employs apprenticeships, classroom based and online learning, such as BMF Campus, within its learning and development programme. The company’s ethos “to strive to meet all customer requirements” led it to work with BMF Trainer, Sue Reed to create a bespoke Excellence in Branch Management programme focused on self-development, team engagement and network collaboration. All 20 delegates taking the programme achieved an Institute of Sales Management qualification and are using their new skills to enhance the customer experience.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “Training is an essential resource for merchants seeking to continue the ongoing development of core competencies and management skills. The five companies nominated by BMF Regional Managers are committed to developing staff at all levels. I am delighted that they are making full use of the broad range of formal and specialist training offered by the BMF. Whoever wins the title, each of the nominated merchants are clearly winning in terms of building excellence within their own business.”

The overall winner will be announced at the BMF Members’ Day Awards Dinner, which takes on 21 September 2023, after the BMF Members’ Day Annual Conference at the Hilton Metropole, Birmingham.