National Builders' Merchant of the year
Published: 22 June, 2009
2007 PTS PLUMBING TRADE SUPPLIES Lutterworth
2006 BUILDBASE Oxford
PTS PLUMBING TRADE SUPPLIES
With the domestic division of the BSS Group plc producing an annual turnover of £713m and a ‘like-for-like’ growth of 15% over the previous year, Plumbing Trade Suppliers has exceeded its growth expectations again and continues to increase its market share year-on-year. PTS employs a simple strategy to ensure its continued growth.
First, to expand its branch network with the ultimate aim of ensuring that no installer has to travel for more than 20 minutes to reach a PTS branch. Second, to ensure it provides an excellent level of customer service to grow its existing business and third, to look at key areas of growth within the industry to ensure it remains a market leader.
The network now boasts over 250 branches and over the past 12 months the merchant has opened 32 new branches, with specific focus inside the M25. It has also made provision to support for the Olympic Games in 2012.
In response to its customers’ requests, PTS has opened 50 new spares branches. This provides a new service for customers. There are plans to expand this concept throughout the branch network.
Through a recent acquisition, PTS is also now well placed to expand into Northern Ireland, providing further growth opportunities.
In addition, it has taken a lead on renewable products in response to the growth in this market sector. This includes not only sales of over 1000 solar systems to-date, but the opening its first Green Energy Room, which offers customers impartial advice and information on energy efficient products. A further four ‘rooms’ are to be opened within six to nine months.
By delivering strong profit growth as part of the BSS Group, PTS shareholders have enjoyed a 200% rise in the Group share price since April 2004 and, looking to the future, with continued branch expansion, investment in new technologies and customer-driven initiatives PTS will continue to grow its market share well into next year.
Buildbase continues its successful expansion and performance. Despite challenging trading conditions in the past year, it has continued its steady expansion, adding 26 branches and bringing its national network to 132. These have included the opening of new purpose-built greenfield or brownfield branches at Andover, Botley and Gloucester.
Businesses joining Buildbase include John Fleming & Co, Scotland’s largest independent merchant, with eight branches. A new, specialist civils and lintels operation was launched in May 2006. Eleven Grafton Group branches including Cooper Clarke, AR Hendricks and Willis Builders’ Merchants transferred to form the new Civils & Lintels Division of Buildbase. This represents a new, complementary target sector for the merchant, which fits well within the business.
Due to the way that Buildbase is run – as a ‘national independent’ – the business has strong customer loyalty. Gaining feedback throughout the organisation is vital so that Buildbase can make further improvements.
Two surveys are conducted, the first asks branches to comment on head office departments and the second gauges how head office staff have found their dealings with branches.
Buildbase also runs its own company awards scheme to recognise and reward those staff that go above and beyond the call of duty. Generous monetary awards are made to individual winners and to staff at the branch which is shown to have performed best overall.