This year’s inaugural SIG Live event saw the launch of the organisation’s new customer-centred strategy, with forging stronger relationships with merchants being one of the key objectives. Tom Rose, National Accounts Manager, outlines the company’s renewed commitment to this vital link in the construction supply chain.
At this year’s inaugural SIG Live, the virtual event which served as our ‘mission statement’ for the future of the business, SIG UK’s Managing Director Philip Johns unveiled a new company strategy which puts the customer firmly at the heart of all we do.
We recognise that our customer base is a broad church which encompasses much of the construction supply chain; from Major Contractors to specialist installers and contractors at one end, to merchants at the other. And it’s that offering to merchants which has recently undergone significant investment and focus.
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for UK’s merchant sector. The spread of Covid-19 forced a temporary cessation on all construction activity nationwide and, by proxy, hit trading levels. Furthermore, the subsequent social distancing measures implemented by the government have changed purchasing habits, forcing merchants to reassess how they get stock to contractors.
Sitting at the centre of the UK construction industry supply chain, SIG is uniquely connected to understand the challenges facing merchants at the moment; and it is this understanding we have been using to further improve our offer and services.
Supporting the sector
At the heart of our business is, of course, the specialist range, depth and quality of our products, which currently number more than 250,000 roofing and specialist construction product SKUs from over 2,000 suppliers. As specialists in pitched, flat and industrial roofing supplies, along with insulation, construction accessories and fixings, we seek to ensure merchants have access to all of the products they need to provide an all around offering to their customers.
What’s more, we also stock a range of products, specifically chosen to help merchants enter new markets.
All of this is backed by a significant investment in stockholding across our national network of distribution centres and a 180-strong fleet of delivery vehicles, ensuring we are well positioned to maintain an unbroken supply chain to merchants across the country.
This has been further strengthened with the recent launch of our brand new distribution hub in Bristol. Spanning more than 165 acres, this state-of-the-art distribution centre has been purpose build to enhance our delivery capabilities to merchants across the South West and South Wales — both identified as key regions for strategic growth by the business.
We understand that, from a merchant’s perspective, purchasing from a wide range of suppliers can be both costly and time consuming. So, when it comes to identifying a dedicated supplier for roofing and specialist construction products, merchants will want a distributor which can supply a service bespoke to their unique needs and circumstances.
As a business, we are striving to go beyond just the products merchants need, but to provide a range of value-added services to make their customers work the best that it can be. This includes an in-house team of experts on-hand to provide guidance on a range of subjects including fitting advice and legal compliance, alongside a streamlined purchasing process which, ultimately, affords merchants the flexibility and cost savings they need to be even more responsive to their customers.
This year may have had its fair share of challenges for the merchant sector, but that’s not to say there aren’t opportunities to be grasped, too. With the government announcing the most significant investment in infrastructure for a generation, and a pledge to build more than 180,000 new homes to shore-up the country’s affordable housing stock, the construction sector could soon be entering a boom period.
‘Green Homes Grant’
What’s more, the government has recently announced its Energy Efficient Home Improvement Scheme. The new initiative will see funding of up to £10,000 made available to homeowners looking to shore-up their home’s sustainability, such as investing in insulation. The new measures, which will also cover installing heat pumps and draft proofing, is great news for the construction sector, with the BMF suggesting it could create up to 100,000 new jobs across the supply chain.
For merchants in particular, this will mean an increase in demand from customers, and the opportunity to grow their business further. That’s why they should ensure they have all the stock they need to meet this demand, and the trusted partnerships in place to make the most of these opportunities.
For more information and to view the full video content from the SIG Live event — including the ‘merchant breakout room’ — go to: https://www.sigconnected.co.uk/sig-live/