Three of the National Buying Group's (NBG) merchant members have endorsed the group, revealing how membership can benefit an independent merchant business, regardless of scale.
Founding members Parker Building Supplies and Grant & Stone, as well as Kellaway Building Supplies, all see significant benefits from their membership of NBG, which acts as an improved route to market and a forum for sharing innovation and support.
Darren House of Grant & Stone said: "I think the benefits of NBG membership are the same no matter what size the business is: improved buying power, splitting the buying workload, and streamlining the whole buying process.
"When you are negotiating as part of a £850m organisation you have access to manufacturers and suppliers that would normally be closed to us."
Alex Priddle from Kellaway, and Jamie Pierce of Parker Building Supplies, both believe sharing best practice with other merchants is a key benefit for NBG members.
"One of the key benefits for us is the ability to share best practice with other merchants in a supportive environment," explained Mr Priddle. "The NBG Forums are a case in point. They are an excellent opportunity for all of us to better ourselves and share good ideas."
Mr Pierce added: "Just because our business is larger it doesn't mean we can't learn from other specialist members, and we regularly do. The majority of members are very open and there is a real sense that we are all pulling together for the greater good."
All three merchants believe that compliance is an important strength of NBG. Mr Pierce said: "I think that compliance is a very strong suit for NBG and a recent survey of our suppliers certainly backs up that assertion. They, unsurprisingly, see compliance as the key factor in their dealings with NBG and strong compliance to deals is one of our core values.
"We see strong compliance with agreed supplier deals as vital among our Partners who are expected to support the negotiated deals, no matter what size the merchant. The Category Management Teams are always focused on ensuring compliance."
NBG deals are also particularly important when merchant members are opening new branches, believes Mr Priddle.
"We acquired a new business in January and needed to change the branch's stock profile to better reflect our NBG status. We found that NBG suppliers were more than happy to help us manage that change over. In addition, many NBG suppliers offer special new branch offers and promotions which make it possible to get a branch off to a real flying start," he said.
"Competitive deals are an important benefit of membership and that doesn't just extend to prices," added Mr Pierce. "We receive improved services from and relationships with our suppliers, such as continuity of supply, training and range management advice on stocking profiles. We enjoy being a large fish in a large pond!"
NBG aims to give both its partners and suppliers a hassle-free, accurate and mutually beneficial experience of doing business and the NBG Hub is central to that goal.
"A combination of the efficiency of the NBG hub and the streamlining of our buying processes are definitely a benefit to any business," concluded Mr House. "When you have experts in every sector negotiating deals on your behalf with a combined turnover of £850m, I know I can trust them to get the job done."