More than 4,000 ‘meet the merchant’ meetings took place at the recent Fortis Building & Timber Conference, with the leading merchant group also unveiling its supplier award winners for 2015.
With 40 merchant members and combined sales of more than £1.4bn, Fortis continues to grow and gain in prominence within the sector. Its recent Building & Timber Conference clearly illustrated the scale of the organisation, and also served as an opportunity to showcase its ethos moving forward.
During the morning presentation sessions on the first day of the two-day event, delegates heard that the term ‘buying group’ was no longer fully sufficient to describe the organisation’s activities. It may only be a subtle shift of emphasis, but the term ‘merchant group’ is now being used to more accurately demonstrate its capacity to service not solely the buying aspect but instead the full course of taking on a supplier’s product through the entire purchasing, logistical and sales processes.
To do this most effectively, the group is increasingly looking towards longer term supply partner deals, whilst also considering a broader range of support services from its partners to maximise ‘deal potential’ and sales opportunities. In return, it promises to provide the requisite commitment to ensure that deals are progressed through the individual business to ensure ‘mutual sales’ with the members challenged to add ‘real value to suppliers’.
The merchant group is in the process of adapting and enhancing its management structure, ensuring that Negotiators and Category Directors play key roles in developing the deals, with clear communication of paramount importance. Work is also being undertaken to review all IT and procedural matters to maximise efficiencies at every step.
At the evening’s Gala Dinner hosted by Dara Ó Brian, the merchant group’s Supplier Awards were presented as follows:
Civils & Groundworks: Aco (nominated: Aggregate Industries, Clark-Drain, Wrekin Products)
Blocks, Landscaping & Cement: Bradstone (nominated: Global Stone, Stonemarket, Tobermore)
Timber: Norbord (nominated: Arbor Forest Products, M&S (Softwood), International Plywood)
Insulation & Plasterboard: Knauf Insulation (nominated: Ecotherm, Isover, Siniat)
Kitchens: International Decorative Surfaces (IDS) (nominated: Caple, Sylmar, Symphony)
Tools, Clothing, Fixings & Ironmongery: Ox (nominated: Henry Shaw / John George, Toolbank, TIMco)
Roofing & Steelwork: Birtley (nominated: Ancon, Icopal, Keystone)
Decorating & Chemicals: Sika Everbuild (nominated: Bostik, Sherwin Williams, Akzo Nobel)
Joinery & Flooring: XL Joinery (nominated: Keylite, Premdor, Unilin)
Bricks: Wienerberger (nominated: Forterra, Ibstock, Michelmersh)
From these winners, the overall Fortis Supplier of the Year was selected, with the accolade going to Norbord.
An additional prize was presented to the Supplier Account Manager of the Year. From an impressive shortlist, the winner and runners-up were:
1st: Simon Taylor, Bostik
2nd: Nick Sharpe, Stonemarket
3rd: Krystal Williams, Aggregate Industries
For more information visit www.fortismerchants.co.uk