The BMF is highlighting the importance of training to maximise merchants’ potential for a post-Covid bounce back.
Just as coronavirus pandemic has led builders’ merchants to re-configure their operations to provide a ‘Covid-secure’ environment for colleagues and customers, the BMF has been reconfiguring its training offer to help merchant staff develop the skills that will help them succeed within the ‘new normal’ that’s developing as we move gradually out of lockdown measures.
Needless to say, training courses have moved online and will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future, unless the learning can be held in-house with appropriate safety measures in place. While some courses have been adapted for the new virtual format, others have been specifically developed to fulfil changing needs.
Stock Management, one of the first of these new courses, is delivered via a series of short webinars and ran for the first time last month. The subject matter is highly topical as the UK comes out of lockdown with aged stock likely to be an issue for many merchants. By the end of the course delegates will have discovered how to reduce slow and non-moving stock and maintain appropriate levels going forward, thus ensuring a positive impact of sales and customer service.
Run over the course of a week as five x 1.5 hour modules and delivered using Zoom Meeting, the course is designed for anyone with an interest in stock management from procurement, category and branch managers to stock controllers and yard supervisors. By the end of the course, delegates will understand how stock affects profitability and service levels and demonstrate appropriate stock management techniques.
The initial course was extremely well received with some telling feedback on lessons learned. One of the real eye-openers was the cost of holding stock, and the impact slow moving lines have on the profitability of the business.
As one delegate said: “I was shocked when we calculated the cost of holding stock and, going forward, I will be getting much more creative in finding ways to reduce this.” Another noted: “I have been relying too much on the system to (calculate the impact) for me, but it clearly needs more human intervention.”
The BMF has also created a number of one day Virtual Classroom courses to help merchants align their skills to different ways of selling and managing accounts in the new normal.
For example, Max Your Post Covid-19 Bounce Back will develop an understanding of the current sales environment, the challenges facing key customers and how merchants can help them address those challenges. This practical course will help delegates identify and agree the actions they should take next.
And what better than a virtual course to explore the new reality of Selling Virtually? This course will help merchants plan and facilitate virtual sales conversations, build rapport and keep the customer engaged in addition to exploring how to gain a full understanding of their needs and — importantly — how to close a virtual meeting and gain commitment.
To find out more about these and other Virtual Classroom courses covering Sales and Key Account Planning and Making Reactive Sales Calls, check out the Training section of the BMF website at www.bmf.org.uk or email email@example.com