Annemarie Shotton, National Sales Manager – Merchants & DIY at Rockwool UK, explains how merchants can make strategic ranging decisions and streamline product lines when it comes to insulation, and why stone wool presents one of the safest and sound choices.
Excess stock in branch can have a negative impact on merchant cash flow, which is why steady turnover is key. However, balancing this with ensuring sufficient supply can be complex to navigate. Too little stock and merchants risk not satisfying customer requirements, too much can lead to potential financial exposure.
And as the UK construction industry begins to regain traction, contractors rely on merchants to maintain the product supply essential for seamless project progression. With many supply lines under pressure, this can often be challenging. However, identifying areas to simplify the purchasing process and increase capacity without negatively impacting the stock inventory can provide a practical solution.
Pin-pointing products that can be used in a variety of common applications is one step towards streamlining stock, with stone wool presenting an ideal target for insulation.
The natural power of stone
Insulation is, in the majority of cases, specified for thermal performance. That said, insulation is becoming increasingly common in helping projects to meet additional requirements, be that fire protection or acoustic specification.
Understanding the requirements of the customer and application can help merchants to support their customers’ purchasing decisions in branch, whilst also finding additional ways to add overall value.
Stone wool insulation, for example, has the ability to meet fire, acoustic and thermal performance criteria, in one solution.
Manufactured from volcanic rock, stone wool is A1 non-combustible — withstanding temperatures in excess of 1000°C. The A1 Euroclass rating also means that it will not contribute to a fire, adding confidence and compliance into the build programme.
Additionally, with temperature regulating abilities, stone wool can help reduce heat transfer in homes or buildings. As well as creating a more comfortable internal space for occupants, stone wool insulation has the potential to reduce overall energy consumption and therefore energy bills.
With the importance of quality acoustics on the rise, from a sound reduction perspective stone wool insulation also prevents the passage of external noise by absorbing sound waves in its multi-directional strands.
Building flexibility into inventories
The all-in-one acoustic, fire and thermal performance of stone wool make it a powerful insulation solution to offer customers. It also means fewer products need to be stocked to address a wide range of building or home applications.
Suitable for installation across floors, walls, ceilings, lofts and roofs, stone wool insulation presents merchants with an opportunity to build flexibility into inventories by stocking as few as six products to simultaneously meet many performance needs.
Satisfying client requirements, without compromising on stocking space, is one way stone wool can help merchants to increase flexibility and value offering for customers. Educating buyers on the benefits of stone wool, whilst understanding the insulation’s far-reaching qualities can help merchants to reap the rewards of a more streamlined product inventory, and as a result, commercial advantage.
Working with manufacturers
To maximise the potential and make more strategic purchasing decisions, merchants should identify manufacturers who will work in collaboration with them — to educate teams and customers on the additional benefits and value add opportunities of stone wool insulation. To understand the advantages of stocking stone wool, in-depth product training should be available to merchant teams, giving them the opportunity to guide customers’ purchasing decisions beyond thermal efficiency.
As well as this, being able to rely on the manufacturer for ongoing customer support is integral. Offering initiatives such as joint marketing support, from digital to in-store collateral, can help merchants to promote the varying benefits of the insulating material and educate customers on the advantages of using one solution for multiple applications.
Product availability is also a consideration that should be evaluated when identifying manufacturers to work with. Ensuring the manufacturer can meet product demand and deliver stock to branches in a timely manner, even with small orders, can help merchants meet client requirements effectively.
Customers rely on merchants to help them meet project requirements whilst building time and value into project completion. By streamlining product inventories and communicating the benefits of a single solution for insulation application, merchants can support them to seamlessly meet project needs whilst simultaneously achieving additional performance benefits.
Stone wool insulation has the potential to support merchants beyond customer satisfaction, by effectively balancing stock inventory to achieve commercial gain.
For more information on Rockwool’s range of products and support services for merchants, head to: https://www.rockwool.com/uk/