NMBS Conference 2014: Welcome to all!

Published:  20 June, 2014

The 2014 NMBS All-Industry Conference got off to a great start this morning, as host James Pearce and NMBS managing director Chris Hayward welcomed delegates to the first morning of a two-day Conference Programme.

All the speakers over the next two days will focus on the theme of 'Building the Brand...Building the Future', and Mr Pearce began by introducing himself to the assembled guests. He has been a sports broadcaster for over 20 years, and recently took centre stage during London 2012, where he hosted much of the BBC's Olympics coverage.

Mr Pearce has followed the development of London 2012 from its first announcement that the city had been named the Olympics host back in 2003, and said he'd quickly realised that the Olympics was not just a sporting event, but the work involved in getting London and the UK ready for the Olympics meant it was to undertake one of the largest construction projects in Northern Europe.

"I'm not an expert in construction, but I've spent more time in a hard hat than in a tracksuit over the past 10 years," he joked. "I'm proud of London 2012 - so many played their part in making that event a success, and your industry is right at the heart of that," he continued. "I salute and admire you, you all did a marvellous job."

Mr Pearce went on to urge delegates, while listening to the speakers, to think about what they could take away from the Conference, to focus their minds and get as much out of the next two days of content as possible, while listening to advice from the speakers, who comprise representatives from some of the biggest brands in the world.

Also welcoming delegates to Tenerife was managing director Chris Hayward, who highlighted the importance of building a brand, and made it clear that NMBS is also keen to be seen as "a trusted brand that stands for independence".

Mr Hayward gave delegates an update on the recent Unimer/NMBS amalgamation, which he said had taken place because, while both were good businesses individually, they wanted to be great, and the amalgamation was a driving force in achieving that goal.

The transfer of Unimer members across to the NMBS, which began on 1 February 2014, has now seen 261 new members and 161 new suppliers join NMBS, and has taken the NMBS' annual turnover from £684m last year, to a projected £1.2bn this year.

Mr Hayward also highlighted that the total sales value of NMBS members now stands at £6.4bn per year, which he said was higher than Travis Perkins and Saint Gobain combined, something he believes is a real opportunity for independent merchants and the industry as a whole.

"We're looking to make standalone independent merchants easier to reach," he said.

As they now enter Stage Two of the amalgamation, Mr Hayward said NMBS will continue to focus on supporting and serving its members over the next year, while continuing the successful wind down of United Merchants. NMBS is also currently conducting a strategic review of its entire business, under the guidance of chairman Tim Allen, and Mr Hayward urged NMBS members to get involved and have their say on the future of the organisation.

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