Last month I explored the quick wins that builders’ merchants achieve when they use the latest supply chain management technology. This week I look at the additional gains that can be made in the medium term, through good strategic use of demand forecasting and inventory management.
With so many different product categories on offer, it can be difficult for merchants to know what to focus on. Here are my top reasons why the home improvement sector should be a key priority for branches looking to maximise sales throughout 2015.
According to a new market research report the home security solutions market, on the whole, is expected to reach $34.46bn by 2017, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.1%*.
With UK consumers looking to invest more in their homes and make changes to interior spaces to adapt to their lifestyles, it’s more important than ever for merchants to do all they can to support builders in meeting consumer demand.
Britain is being forced to fill gaps in its labour markets with overseas workers, according to recent research from recruitment firm Manpower UK. Construction firms are hiring Portuguese bricklayers to fill a shortfall in supply in the UK market, energy firms are increasingly relying on Spanish workers, and even one of the UK’s leading sandwich manufacturers is turning to Hungary to find staff.
Much is said of the need to demonstrate brand support for new products to create ‘pull-through’ at the trade counter and few would argue the necessity to do so.
Do you remember the ZX81? It was released in 1981, cost £69.95, and didn’t do a lot. But it was exciting, and for many of us it heralded the dawning of a new age. In the last three and a half decades we’ve seen technology transform so many aspects of daily life that we often forget what things were like before we all had computers in our pockets.
Of all the products that men and women in the trade need to approach a tiling job, grout is the one that can often get overlooked amidst the focus upon the tile type, style and adhesive. However, grout is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle.
While the location of a house is always high on the list of priorities for homebuyers, the latest research from British Gypsum has found that consumers are thinking more about what homes can offer, with ample living space stated as a key consideration. British Gypsum’s Sarah White outlines how merchants can use this information to support developers.
When the recession hit the construction sector and cut-backs became commonplace, investment fell to an all-time low and many struggled to stay afloat in a state of stagnant growth.
If I can help customers, provide the knowledge or assistance they need, or make a positive difference to their prospects by organising reliable deliveries, then I gain the personal satisfaction of a job well done. I’ve also fulfilled my purpose both as an employee and as an asset to the business.
With technology playing an ever more important role in homeowners’ everyday lives, people are increasingly looking for more convenient ways to control appliances in their home.
Josh Robson, head of public affairs at Knauf Insulation, emphasises the need for political agreement on a long-term energy efficiency policy.
Many tradespeople look for security products as part of a larger building or renovating project. This provides merchants with strong add-on sales opportunities that can be amplified by clever merchandising.
As new technologies continue to advance industry products, remaining on top of the game when it comes to product knowledge is becoming increasingly difficult for builders’ merchants.
According to recent research by the Institute of Customer Service, stock shortages on Britain’s high street are driving frustrated customers to look elsewhere and shop online. There is also evidence to suggest that stock shortages can prevent customers from ordering with you again.
In the world of sales there is an inherent assumption that the easiest option is to provide the lowest cost option to your customer. This view often takes hold because of two related elements:
In the face of significant challenges in the global economy, the builders’ merchant industry has performed well over the past five years. While many of the sector’s leading players have successfully restructured their finances and operations, they must now look above the parapet with confidence.
With the demand for more flexible living spaces on the rise, it’s more important than ever for merchants to be aware of the latest innovative building products and how they can help meet homeowners needs.
It looks like we may have just avoided another Icelandic volcanic eruption. Do you remember the massive disruption to air traffic a few years ago and the resulting chaos for air passengers? We often view disruption as a bad thing, but is it always?
For many homeowners, security is often an afterthought and they only tend to invest in it reactively – for example, following a break-in. However, initiatives such as National Home Security Month (NHSM) are helping to change this.
Contemporary, light and clean open spaces are becoming increasingly popular, making it essential for merchants to have the knowledge to advise tradespeople on how to deliver a perfect finish prior to decorating.
It can be a challenge to make sure your voice is heard, particularly when you’re a small business. It’s essential to make sure your customers know that their voice counts in order to stand out from the crowd.
As the UK looks to move into the next stage of post-recession recovery, it is unfortunately becoming apparent that a skills gap across a number of industries, including construction, could hold negative implications on future business growth and development.
Having supplied builders’ merchants across the country for more than 40 years, we’ve noticed a phenomenal change in the products sold, as well as an evolving pattern of industry trends.
Timber windows and doors continue to enjoy a major resurgence in the UK building market, driven by consumer demand.
Many multipoint locks are reaching the end of their life cycle. Over the coming months and years, these older locks are expected to fail, creating opportunities for tradespeople in the security sector and helping to generate replacement sales for merchants.
As colour variations of grout continue to grow, and darker grouts become more popular, the discussion around grout discolouration is a growing issue for many merchants and their customers.
With the upturn in the UK’s construction sector showing no sign of abating, it is little wonder that so many builders are rushing to fill their order books and reap the rewards of the recovering economy.
Any good tradesperson will understand the importance of keeping their tools safe and secure. After all, these items are their livelihoods because without them they will be unable to work.
Considering the tempestuous journey the UK’s green agenda and zero carbon policies have had over the last few years, it perhaps should come as no surprise that there are yet more complications and a scaling back of ambition.
Keeping abreast of industry innovations can be a daunting task for merchants, not least in peak periods when finding the time to brush up on the latest trends can be a tricky task indeed. But there’s no need to feel out of depth; plenty of suppliers now use social media, apps and other software to share knowledge - meaning merchants can use these easy to access tools to keep up-to-date with the latest industry innovations.
Things are looking up. In the same week we learned that UK boiler sales are on the rise, with an increase of just over 18% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013 – according to figures from the Heating & Hotwater Council – we were also greeted with the new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF).
Despite the fact that crime figures are down in the UK, there is a growing interest in home security among householders looking to protect their valuables and treasured possessions, leading to rising sales of products such as alarms.
It’s no secret that knowing when to opt for a powdered adhesive over a ready-mixed is confusing – and, if the customer is questioning the product, the pressure is placed on the merchant to rise to the challenge and share their product knowledge. With this simple guide, I’m hoping merchants across the UK can feel a little more confident when it comes to advising on this age-old predicament.
Whether you are a new business just starting out or an established firm thinking of changing insurance companies, we have some advice for you.
With recent alerts about air pollution in the UK, and with the latest Purchasing Managers Index for the construction sector highlighting an optimistic outlook for the year ahead, it’s a great time to consider the potential implications of construction dust – both on the local environment and employees.
Knauf Insulation's Steven Heath asks, by cutting ECO, what risks has the government exposed us to?
Smithers Apex examines how the gypsum industry is being made to become more sustainable throughout the supply chain to remain profitable.
So, why am I writing about flooding?
I’m writing about flooding because it highlights how the government makes decisions based on the political expediency of the day, rather than on an assessment of real quantifiable benefits for all.
The majority of workplace accidents can be attributed to human error. Aiming to achieve zero breaches of safety, Roger Hastie of Deborah Services shares lessons on how best to work at height.
Burglar methods of attack increase in sophistication and severity year-on-year, so in order to counter these advances security products need to meet and surpass these threats.
Severe flooding has been present in many areas of the UK for months, with England experiencing the wettest January since records began. Large parts of southern England felt the force of heavy rain and a handful of areas remain on high alert.
Debi Boulton, brand manager of Dunlop, discusses how under tile floor heating isn’t just a job for the professionals anymore and explains how advising professional builders can give builders’ merchants the upper hand and gain repeat business.
With so many different product categories, it can be difficult for merchants to know what to focus on. Here are our top reasons why the home security sector should be a key priority for branches looking to maximise sales opportunities throughout the year:
With shocking scenes of flooding throughout the UK, boilers and central heating systems may not be front of mind for homeowners, yet when the floods subside there are some important things to consider.
As communities across the UK continue to be devastated by floods, Marshalls asks why local authorities are not enforcing existing Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) legislation, and questions what is really causing the delays to the release of the National SuDS standards.
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