Six merchants shortlisted for BMF Training Award

Six merchants shortlisted for BMF Training Award

The Builders Merchants Federation has announced the six merchant member firms to have been nominated for the title BMF Training Company of the Year 2024.

Nominated by BMF Regional Managers, who work closely with members in their area to satisfy training and other service requirements, the six shortlisted companies are Haldane Fisher, Harlow Timber Group, Howarth Timber and Builders Merchants, IBMG, LBS Builders Merchants and MGM Timber.

The firms were selected for their commitment to supporting and developing their teams through their use of BMF training, as follows:

Haldane Fisher consistently support colleagues with learning and development opportunities that assist the individual’s career development while promoting the company’s customer service ethos. Throughout the past 12 months, Haldane Fisher has employed a wide range of classroom-based and online learning programmes including Margin Development, Maximising Margin, Sales Training and Effective Time Management. It is also heavily engaged with the BMF in developing apprenticeships for the building materials sector in Northern Ireland.

Harlow Timber Group proactively utilises learning programmes designed to enhance its teams’ skills and knowledge as well as making a positive impact on the overall customer experience. Leadership teams benefit from bespoke programmes, the company having worked directly with the BMF to create the Harlow Timber Group 8 Module Management Development programme specifically designed for current and future key colleague development and next generation succession planning.

Technical knowledge is addressed through BMF’s How a House is Built course, and the company provides opportunities for development through apprenticeships. Colleagues are further supported with mental health awareness programmes.

Howarth Timber & Building Supplies continues to develop its team across all levels, ensuring all customer-facing staff are equipped with the tools they need to engage with customers competently and professionally. In addition to its commitment to the BMF Diploma in Merchant Management, with a further eight candidates embarking on the programme in 2024/25, Howarth ensures that new employees develop a good understanding of the building process through the BMF’s How a House is Built course.

The IBMG Group, as a growing independent merchant group of companies, has identified people development and engagement as a key part of its strategy. It is currently working with the BMF on a new Management Development Programme for senior managers and potential managers, and also uses bespoke courses developed with BMF trainers that can be implemented throughout the business – at group and individual company level – as required.

It is also committed to recruiting and developing apprentices and has pledged to recruit 200 by 2030.

LBS Builders Merchants takes a pro-active approach to learning and development. supporting staff at each stage of their career. It uses the BMF Campus online platform to offer LBS staff a wider variety of online learning with over 170 active learners having approved individual learning plans on this system.

LBS also utilises the BMF Diploma/Certificate in Merchant Management programmes and the ISME accredited BMF Essential Sales Management course as well as short classroom-based programmes including the BMF Yard Supervisors Toolkit.

MGM Timber has found that investing in its staff’s career development helps promote workforce stability. Its learning and development support shows the team that there is a pathway to new job roles within the company, without having to move on to pastures new to progress their careers.

BMF courses undertaken in the past year include Essential Sales, Maximising Margin, How a House is Built, Yard Supervisors Toolkit and a Commercial Fast Track course that in one case alone, increased the sales at a single branch by over £1million.

Commenting on the nominations, BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “Training is an essential resource for merchants seeking to continue the development of colleagues at every level. The six companies nominated by BMF Regional Managers understand this.

“They have made learning and development a priority and are reaping the benefits within their business. They are all worthy candidates for this Award, and I wish them well.”

The overall winner will be announced at the BMF Members’ Day Awards Dinner, which takes place on 19 September 2024, after the BMF Members’ Day Annual Conference at the Leonardo Hotel and Conference Venue at Hinckley Island in Leicestershire.

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