Since Resapol was formed in 1999, both national and independent builders’ merchants have been key customers to the business, so much so that the dedicated Merchant Support Team was set up in 2019.
The firm has access to over 6,000 products from some of the world’s biggest manufacturers, providing merchants with “the best possible products across a variety of different sectors” with a range that spans waterproofing, concrete repair, sealants, adhesives, grouts, flooring and highway products.
Its dedicated expert support team can offer practical advice on products and applications whilst through its network of eight depots nationwide, Resapol provides a two day pledge to ensure that products are delivered quickly and efficiently.
PBM speaks with Richard Lomas, Resapol’s Merchant Support Director.
Q. How did you get into the industry and to your current position?
A. I started many years ago, working for Hall & Co. My first job was on the yard, and I really didn’t know anything about the merchant world. I then worked my way around different merchants, working for Builder Depot and then a small independent.
In 2005 I got the opportunity to move to London and started working for Resapol, progressing within the business and holding roles including Assistant Manager, Depot Manager and Regional Manager.
As Resapol’s business went from strength to strength, dealing with a lot of merchants, it became very clear that we needed a dedicated centre to manage their needs.
In 2019, Resapol’s Merchant Support Team was born, with me taking on the role of Merchant Support Director. To support the new division further, we also joined various buying groups and have worked hard to build a great team as well as the business.
Q. What has the particular impact of Covid-19 been on the business, and what (permanent?) changes have been implemented?
A. Covid-19 has had such an impact for everyone, not just in business. Resapol handled the management of the pandemic in a planned and structured way and coming out of it, Resapol is stronger than ever.
Covid has shown us how we can work smarter — the main change has been our stock management, having implemented a new state of the art stock system, ensuring merchants receive materials in a timely fashion.
Q. And what are the broader challenges facing the merchant sector?
A. The biggest challenge by far is raw materials and the supply of said materials. Merchant sales are being been hampered by this and not the weird and wonderful products but day to day materials, such as sand and cement.
I also feel the industry has changed due to demands of the customer. For example, more and more contractors are starting to take on contracts that require specialist materials, such as structural waterproofing and complex concrete repair projects. This is where Resapol can help support the merchants; our extensive knowledge of these specialist materials means we can advise and supply the best products to meet these needs.
Q. What has been the highlight of your career to date?
A. The biggest highlight has to be when I was given the opportunity to take on the role as Merchant Support Director by our Co-founder Sean Ofsarnie, who had the confidence and faith in me to shape and build the merchant side of the business.
Q. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
A. In the coming years, the Merchant Support Centre will grow from strength to strength — we are already looking at bigger premises for the business, employing new people to take on this exciting journey with us.
Our main goal is to give merchants outstanding service, making sure that our customers, as well as the merchants’ own customers, are given the correct advice on the correct materials to use with whatever the project needs.
For more information on Resapol, go to: https://www.resapol.com/about/ and connect with Richard on LinkedIn via: https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-lomas-67b4305b/