Rick Hale: happy to praise the IBMF event.

Networking and knowledge at Ibstock indie forum

Published:  14 April, 2011

WARWICKSHIRE: Ibstock, the UK’s largest brickmaker, is to hold its 12th annual Independent Builders’ Merchants Forum (IBMF) on 12-13 May at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel in Warwickshire.

The event will provide a platform for the UK’s leading independent merchants to discuss industry issues, share their concerns about their businesses and work together to strengthen their position in the market. Interacting with colleagues is highly beneficial, said John Richards, the company’s sales and marketing director. “Finding out how different businesses are trading and what different initiatives other businesses are trying helps give merchants a broader picture of the market and how their own business fits into it.”

Rick ‘the Brick’ Hale, a senior development executive at East Anglian independent merchant Kent Blaxill, is full of praise for the IBMF event. He has worked in the merchant sector for 35 years and has attended almost every forum, "with each year getting slicker and very professional", he stated.

“As independents, we look forward to this event. It is one of the best organised forums for our sector. Unlike the multi-national merchants who are on exceptional buying terms, we have to fend for ourselves within our group buying societies. We get together with Ibstock once a year and discuss how it can improve its service for us. Ibstock listens and it responds.

“Every year delegates are asked to bring their questions so that Ibstock can improve its service to us.

“The Forum is an ideal chance to catch up about new products, get the latest literature, listen to what they are planning to do for the forthcoming year and hear about what is happening across the brick industry, while also finding out how other suppliers are faring in the current climate.”

Day one is all about Ibstock, “but we also get a chance to speak our mind individually and group discussion-wise", Mr Hale said. “It is a great place to meet and talk to other like-minded independents and to learn about how their part of the country is faring. “On the second day, we are rewarded with a round of golf, clay pigeon shooting or off-road driving etc,” he commented.

“Ibstock knows how to look after us with superb hospitality. The company really makes us feel part of its team.”

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