Your 2023 Builders' Merchants Awards Shortlist

The shortlist for 23 of the 24 awards that will be presented at the Park Plaza on the 24th of November has now been revealed, with the Lifetime Achievement Award winner being announced on the day.

Congratulations to everyone that has been selected as part of the shortlist and we look forward to raising a glass to your success next month.

Bathroom and Kitchen Showroom of the Year

Sponsored by

C&W Berry Bathrooms

Submission Summary

From ideas and inspiration from current designer trends to state-of-the-art VR technology that brings the customer's vision to life, Berry Bathrooms makes dreams a reality. Whether the customer is looking for a show-stopping, designer masterpiece or a family-friendly suite that offers simplistic practicality, our brand-new showroom features a range of products from different brands and price points to ignite the imagination and help people create their perfect space. With the help of an award-winning local design agency and a top marketing team, we created a showroom that engages all of the senses and takes advantage of psychological factors that influence consumer behaviour - from employing colour theory to maximise engagement, to compiling specific music playlists that direct certain behaviours. Showcasing a selection of the most popular brands across 25 unique exhibits, customers can interact with working displays; design, build and view their perfect bathroom with virtual reality technology; and benefit from the expertise of our experienced staff. Despite only being open for a few months, we've already exceeded £150k in sales, and received positive feedback from multiple customers. Our aim going forward is to further increase sales with targeted digital marketing which utilises our interactive 360° virtual tour footage, allowing customers to browse from the comfort of their own home.

Lords Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

Located at Lords Builders Merchants Beaconsfield, our Bathroom Showroom creates a unique space where homeowners and tradespeople alike can explore a range of adventurous and exciting designs to inspire their bathroom renovations. The purpose-built modern showroom aims to inspire and help customers visualise their ideal bathroom space and showcase a wide selection of aspirational bathroom options from top quality suppliers.

Plumbits Stafford

Submission Summary

We have created a bathroom showroom experience with a difference, through a secret door in a living wall you will arrive in a luxurious high-end bathroom showcase. Through a bespoke Aqata 10mm hinged door you will continue your experience into the rest of the showcases, each featuring carefully chosen beautiful products that simply are divine together. The quirky reception area with a comfortable sofa will enable the client to see their bathroom transformation as a virtual world’s design, in private allowing a VIP experience. Through carefully chosen supplier partnerships Armera, Aqata, Dansani, HOP, Laguna, Tece, Thomas Crapper, Vanity Hall and Ca Pietra we have created the most amazing displays that really complement and enhance each other. Bespoke Soft Rose furniture from Dansani coupled with Ca Pietra Woodland Glade and HOP Matt Black stone bath and Gun metal-brushed brassware teamed up with Fluted glass from Aqata, we really hope we have something to suite everyone's taste. Our current Plumbits showroom has 19 carefully chosen displays, with the additional Amy-Jane Bathrooms and Interiors we have added a whole new dimension to our offerings and have a further 16 showcases. The first part of Amy Jane wows you with a showroom area that is open and has 9 of the Amy Jane showcases which includes a pathway of Ca Pietra tiles to guide you through the displays and features Vanity Hall furniture with beautiful mood lighting then the client is invited into the secret showroom of our Amy Jane experience…

Best Customer Service of the Year

C&W Berry

Submission Summary

"Old fashioned customer service with a modern-day approach" is a succinct way to describe our values here. Here are some of the main reasons why we believe our customer service is unmatched. 1. We hire the best staff to deliver the best service Many of our staff are experts in their field. Whether it’s qualified electricians, Guild of Architectural Ironmongery-qualified staff, or former tradesmen. 2. Our relationship with business customers is second-to-none We’ve forged strong relationships with a range of large-scale construction companies such as Redrow, Bellway, Wainhomes, Forest Homes, Roland Homes and more. 3. We’ve invested heavily in e-commerce and a brand-new website We’ve switched to a new headless CMS to better service our customers. This has seen 761,698 unique visitors and over £3.4million of e-commerce sales. 4. We’ve added thousands of products to our stock lines in the last year 5. We invested in extra vehicles to improve deliveries In conclusion, we always: • Offer old fashioned service with a modern-day approach • Listen to customer feedback and act on it • Have substantial stock • Continually improve service levels to exceed expectations • Offer competitive prices • Have trained, knowledgeable staff that know their products • Allow our customers to buy what they want • Go the extra mile Good customer service is at the heart of everything we do, and why many of our customers choose to drive past merchants closer to their home to shop with us instead.

Cowal Building & Plumbing Supplies Ltd

Submission Summary

At Cowal Building & Plumbing Supplies, the past year has been guided by the mantra "Make It Happen," a philosophy that drives customer service and ensures an exceptional experience for all customers, regardless of size or needs. This approach led to new initiatives aimed at simplifying and personalising the experience for both small-scale tradesmen and large housebuilders. Key Initiatives included: • Tailored Service Agreements: Personalised agreements for larger customers, ensuring individualised attention. • Feedback Loop System: A rigorous system to adapt services according to customer feedback. • Digital Presence: A strong online presence, offering 24/7 access and convenient site deliveries. • Empowering the whole team: every member of staff is a brand ambassador, reflecting the company's ethos. • Community Engagement: Emphasising each branch's role within its community, even in challenging logistical environments. The success of these initiatives has deepened customer relationships, with equal treatment having profound impacts. Examples include fostering trust through assured availability, where the company ensures shelves are always stocked, and strengthening bonds within communities, with branches actively engaging with their local areas. Customers have praised Cowal for its efficient, friendly service and competitive prices, with staff often being lauded for their helpful attitude. Cowal's commitment to transcending conventional merchant roles focuses on community, a commitment, and the promise to make the customer experience happen every time. The overall mission encapsulates consistency, dedication, and top-notch service, that make Cowal such an integral part of the communities they serve.

Branch Manager of the Year

Sponsored by

Gordon Smith. City Plumbing

Submission Summary

Gordon Smith’s inspirational leadership has taken a struggling branch in Barnsley, which was in danger of being closed down, and turned it into one of City Plumbing’s most heralded – on target for record revenue this year. From the moment that Gordon arrived at the branch in his home town eight years ago he set a target for it to be the best merchant in Barnsley. In the last year his team has made such remarkable progress that he may need a new goal! With six months gone it is on course to deliver record profits from a revenue up as much as 177% up on his first year. The transformation in team morale and customer satisfaction is just as impressive, with Gordon creating an engaged and united team all willing to go the extra mile to deliver outstanding customer service. Customers, too, regularly benefit from Gordon’s leadership style. A great example came last December when he put together individual Christmas boxes for his key customers, to celebrate. Remembering that one customer was gluten intolerant he spent hours searching for a local shop that sold gluten-free Christmas goodies. That sums up Gordon, who is appreciated by colleagues and customers alike, and who is now in charge of a high-performing branch that is being seen as an example to others. As one customer put it: “Gordon has given nothing but top service and advice to help my businesses thrive. He provides 5-star service and is a top-notch bloke.”

Reina Reeves. Lords Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

Lords Builders Merchants' nomination for this award is Reina Reeves, the branch manager at Lords Beaconsfield depot. Reina joined the business in November 2017 and since then, she contributed massively to the branch’s growth through its complete redevelopment, building strong client relations, and improving the overall customer experience. Reina excels at identifying potential in her team and putting in place strategies to develop and support individuals. Her initiatives have brought significant increase in the performance of Lords' largest depot.

Richard Chambers. Haldane Fisher

Submission Summary

Richard Chambers, Branch Manager at Haldane Fisher’s Bangor branch, joined the business in 2021 following 18 years’ experience working across the construction and builders’ merchant industry. Upon joining Haldane Fisher Richard recognised the massive potential in the site – the Bangor branch is Haldane Fisher’s second largest branch in the network – and the opportunity for external and internal growth. Richard’s business development efforts have proven hugely successful, with collective business sales increasing by 10.7% on 2021/22 figures.

Builders’ Merchant of the Year 1-5 Branches

Sponsored by

Beatson's Building Supplies

Submission Summary

What a difference a year makes. Rather than investing in one or two big ticket investments like opening a new store, Beatsons has listened hard to its broad customer base and workforce and invested an equivalent amount in an unprecedented number of improvements across the board. Our tailored approach has significantly enhanced customer satisfaction – despite today’s challenging times. Prioritising employee welfare, we introduced cost-of-living payments and shorter Saturdays for better work-life balance. Strengthening our community bonds, our charitable contributions have included generous donations to the Rotary Club for earthquake relief and fundraisers like our charity Golf Day. Always innovating, whether it’s faster card processes, new product lines/technology, additional services like HSS Tool Hire and better digital security, or the adoption of environmentally conscious practices and a revitalised brand image which culminated in a successful STV national TV campaign – our results prove it’s been a worthwhile investment. These strategic improvements have not only bolstered our brand image but have also translated into tangible business gains. Our annual survey indicates a rising tide of customer preference for Beatsons over competitors, and our NPS score stands firm at 68.92. Financially, we’ve seen new and returning online customers contribute substantially to our revenue, reinforcing the efficacy of our approach. Beatsons’ strategy proves that whilst opening flashy new stores might boost short-term revenue, giving customers a better and more complete experience in existing stores pays dividends in the long-term, producing an outcome that’s better for them, our colleagues and the business alike.

C&W Berry

Submission Summary

At C&W Berry, we’re proud of our reputation of being a completely one-stop-shop. Whether we’re serving DIY enthusiasts, professional tradesmen or national house builders, we supply products at competitive prices and offer the highest levels of customer service in the process. From our 40-acre site, we help serve over 45,000 customers a year including house builders, tradespersons and DIY enthusiasts. Our comprehensive range includes over 40,000 products and our e-commerce website attracts over half a million unique visitors a year. We’re also a key employer in the area with a workforce of over 240 staff and operate our own delivery fleet that services the North West and parts of West Yorkshire.

GPH Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

"You cant sell it if you don't have it" is a common merchant saying, but does that mean that you can only be a great merchant with stock bursting out of the branch? GPH Builders Merchants have challenged the concept that you cannot be a great merchant without vast amounts of overstocks by introducing a new smart stock management system, called EazyStock. The journey has seen an operational and cultural shift in the business which has resulted in an increase in sales and customer satisfaction as customer get the stock when they want it, despite extended lead times across industry. But this isn't just a story of software implementation, this journey has seen a perhaps unlikely individual rise to become key influential player in the business.

Builders’ Merchant of the Year 6-20 Branches

Sponsored by

Cowal Building & Plumbing Supplies

Submission Summary

merchant sector, embodies a commitment to innovation, community, and growth. • Strategic Expansion: 2023 marked a 28.6% increase in sales growth, partly driven by the acquisition of John Camerons in Glasgow. The seamless integration of Camerons into the Cowal group without losing its unique brand identity was a strategic success. • Digital Evolution: Cowal's online shop has extended customer access to 24/7, resulting in a 20.9% growth in online sales over the last year. • Environmental Commitment: With an aim to achieve 100% carbon neutrality, Cowal has implemented solar generation (saving nearly 200t of CO2 emissions), a new waste management system (targeting a 25% reduction in landfill waste), and an investment in energy-efficient vehicles. • Staff Development: Recognising the value of continuous learning, Cowal is the largest user of BMF training in Scotland. 13.75% of the workforce are apprentices, with the company focusing on growing its own talent. • Building Better Brands: Cowal’s focus on top building industry brands, increasing offerings like Visqueen DPM/DPC’s across the business, resulting in a 245% increase in sales year-on-year. • Communication & Marketing: The pandemic saw an increased emphasis on communication, and since, enhanced email campaigns and a robust social media presence have been central to business growth • Customer Service, the Cowal Way: More than just a motto, superlative customer service is the foundation of Cowal. Included in associated documents are testimonials from Chris Hayward (NMBS), Mark Davies (LBS) and Terry Owen (Huws Grey)

JP Corry Belfast Brick Bunker

Submission Summary

This submission highlights JP Corry's remarkable journey of strategic transformation and outstanding results over the past year. Facing a significant challenge when a manufacturer withdrew brick stocking at Belfast Docks in October 2022, coupled with Brexit-related uncertainties, the company responded with innovation and adaptability. Their strategic transformation involved collaborating with suppliers to create a Belfast-based brick yard. The implementation timeline included engaging with suppliers, welcoming brick stock into their Springfield Road facility, achieving alignment across branches, and comprehensive employee training. To communicate their evolution, the company produced a comprehensive brick brochure and engaged with social media, using the tag 'Belfast Brick Bunker' to enhance brand awareness. They diversified their product range, expanding from 25 to over 50 brick types, and introduced concrete facing bricks and stone-look walling. The results of their efforts were impressive: Sales growth of 107% in 2023, reaching £840k. The Springfield Road branch experienced a sales increase of 310%. A 73% growth in volume across the group, reaching one million bricks ex-yard. The Springfield Road branch's volume surged by 305%. Customer and supplier feedback was positive, with customers praising the diverse range and suppliers appreciating the company's proactive approach. Success was measured through data collection, including sales figures, footfall increase, and social media engagement metrics. The 'Belfast Brick Bunker' became a noteworthy topic in both online and local construction circles. In conclusion, JP Corry's strategic transformation showcased their adaptability and innovation.

Lords Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

Over the past year, Lords Builders Merchants have focused on improving customer experience at every touchpoint of the customer journey. Key strands of this strategy are investing in existing branches, broadening product offer, introducing new customer services, developing a best-in-class fleet, building partnerships with complementary businesses and investing in our digital experience. The result of this has been a 9% growth in turnover and +11% growth in our customer since October 2022.

Builders’ Merchant of the Year 21-50 Branches

Sponsored by

Bradfords Building Supplies

Submission Summary

At Bradfords, over the period, we continued to focus on customer experience, driving the agenda through a record level of training programmes at all levels of the business, utilisation of digital technology to support customers better, directly and through giving our teams better tools to look after our customers with, whilst continuing to progress our sustainability agenda through development of an auditable ESG system with robust governance in place. We've achieved ISO9001 across the whole business, delivered a record level of training, coordinated with seasonal campaigns, and at all levels of the business. Market share for Bradfords at submission is at record levels and we continue to outperform the overall market. We maintain an industry leading Trustpilot score at 4.6%, whilst seeing staff turnover reduce by some 25%.

Howarth Timber Building Supplies

Submission Summary

Over the past year, we have adopted a variety of initiatives to further develop our reputation and legacy, such as: An internal sales ledger, the introduction of fair and sustainable pricing, the hiring of our new sustainability manager Matt Watson, and the successes of the All Colleague Bonus.

LBS Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

The focus of the last 12 months has been growing market share, protecting margin and profitable sales all via our biggest asset: people. Commercially, the business continues to deliver strong growth. Key indicators have never been better. A positive, empowered, and motivated workforce brings huge benefits. Attract and retain the best people that are proud to be part of the LBS Family is one of the Company’s objectives. How can we set ourselves apart? In the last 12 months, we have introduced a number of key initiatives. These approaches are generating record levels of retention, diversity and employee satisfaction – people want to join us. It is also leading to better performance and output. We recognise that the market is challenging. But when things get tough, we invest in our core principles. We open branches in target areas, we are unwavering on our customer service and we invest in our teams and vehicles. We are proud to stand by these principles. 2023 has seen the relaunch of LBS Rewards. Registrations for the scheme have broken previous records, with over 300 signed up for both LBS Rewards trips abroad. Sales growth to date is 36% vs. previous year from those customers registered. The last 12 months has seen the launch of LBS Renewables and 2023 celebrates 10 years of Total Plumbing. Turnover will exceed £20 million. We are really proud to now be the number 1 independent Plumbing & Heating Merchant in South Wales.

Builders’ Merchant of the Year 51+ Branches

Sponsored by

City Plumbing

Submission Summary

What a year for City Plumbing! Over the last 12 months City Plumbing has continued to invest in its people, customer experience and digital innovations. It has been helping installers, heating engineers, housebuilders and Social Housing Associations transition to renewable energy technology through initiatives designed to make the process easier for them. The merchant’s Energy Efficiency team has been providing advice on renewable energy home heating for over 10 years, so was well placed to step up. It has taken a strategic approach to add the kind of layers which make a real difference to customers considering transitioning their business. Tactics include: - The opening of a first ever Energy Efficiency Centre in April 2023. - The launch of a partnership with GTEC Training which enables City Plumbing to offer installers heat pump and solar PV training, bookable online or in branch. - In-house training to increase the number of Energy Efficiency experts across the country. - The launch of its first national loyalty rewards programme, My City Plumbing Rewards, including extra points on renewable energy products. - New customer-focused apps for the housebuilding and social housing market, including FaultFinder and StockStar. These initiatives were all delivered in the last year, highlights the pace of change at City Plumbing, underlining its place as the number one merchant for renewable energy heating technologies. They are crucial to customers at a time of huge opportunity as the UK moves towards homes being heated through heat pumps rather than gas boilers in future.

Selco Builders Warehouse

Submission Summary

A clear focus on enhancing the customer experience has helped Selco Builders Warehouse continue its impressive growth and expansion since October 2022. The opening of two new branches, the launch of new services, an ongoing commitment to developing the knowledge and skills of colleagues and further developments towards operating sustainably have all helped ensure Selco has cemented its place as the number one choice for tradespeople operating in the repair, maintenance and improvement arena.

Travis Perkins

Submission Summary

Central to Travis Perkins’ ambitions is its Doing What Matters for the Trade brand proposition. It meanscustomers can track their order of building materials, hire products and Benchmarx kitchen ranges all the way to their door. Aligned with this, Travis Perkins Hire continues to lead the charge on colleague and customer safety and refreshed its industry leading plant hire safety handover videos. The update supported the introduction of new machinery in September and the videos are available on Travis Perkins Hire drivers’ handsets. Each video outlines the risks and hazards of using the hire vehicles and what measures operators should take to prevent them. They also detail what to do in the event of a tip over. By introducing this method, Travis Perkins Hire has reduced plant tips by 35% from October 2019 to October 2022 (1.71 tips per 1,000 to 1.12 tips per 1,000). Digitisation continues at pace and earlier this year Travis Perkins launched its Online Trade Counter that allows account holders to shop quickly for regular products at their regular trade prices without navigating through product information and payment screens.

Civils Merchant of the Year

James Burrell Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

James Burrell Builders Merchants has truly outshone as the Independent Builders Merchants of the Year 2023 with its huge continued investments in both infrastructure and customer service it provides. These huge investments we've made over the last year within both our branch facilities and our entire operation are in place in order to achieve the high expectations we set ourselves as a company and to be at the forefront of the industry. Creating a brand-new trading channel across Teesside has been our biggest succession to date, with the largest invest into the largest branch facility within our branch network, truly with our customers at heart and focusing what is needed. Closely followed by our huge 6 figure investment into one of our oldest in the branch network, York. Although at 2 different ends of the scale, they both focus on improving the entire customer journey and making James Burrell Builders Merchants the best it can be.

JP Corry

Submission Summary

JP Corry Civils takes immense pride in our achievements over the past year. Our substantial growth in Drainage and Geosynthetics sales, coupled with our decade-long track record of consistent growth, is a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence. Moreover, our innovative product launches and sustainability initiatives showcase our dedication to not only meeting but exceeding customer expectations. We believe these accomplishments position us as a deserving candidate for the Civils Merchant of the Year award.

LBS Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

LBS Builders Merchants prides itself as a multi-merchant, offering customers all they need in their build project, from the bottom up. In 2022, a specific focus was put into LBS’ sub-brand: LBS Civils & Drainage. We saw the opportunity to increase our revenue streams with a specialist service area focusing on infrastructure, construction, and design of civil engineering projects. This could not simply be seen as a “add-on” to what LBS Builders Merchants did – we needed to be serious, build credibility and demonstrate our expertise in this area. We recruited the best Civils Manager in South Wales, previously working for a competitor, he was excited to join an independent business where he had ownership and could drive strategy. We built a team of specialists around our Manager and In the last 12 months, our Civils business has been one of the outperformers in the wider business, achieving substantial growth year on year. We are proud to say LBS Civils & Drainage is also currently outperforming it’s ambitious 2023 target and we see further growth. The future is bright!

Community Initiative of the Year

Jewson

Submission Summary

Jewson Partnership Solutions has now completed our seventh community project with YouthBuild, a non-profit organisation that teaches construction skills to marginalised and disadvantaged young adults and helps them to find employment within their chosen trade. Our latest saw several of our team attend the Javan Coker Foundation in Abbey Wood, London, in June to help YouthBuild students with the refurbishment of the foundation’s community centre, which supports children and young people with special educational and additional needs. The project was part of the 13-week YouthBuild YB100 course, which is a fast-paced intensive Green Futures Construction Bootcamp designed for unemployed and marginalised young people between the age of 18-29. The course teaches them relevant skillsets and mindsets via youth development and industry-led construction training, enabling them to access opportunities and sustain livelihoods. As well as supporting YouthBuild on community projects, JPS – which is part of STARK Building Materials UK – provides tools, equipment, and training to YouthBuild students and helps graduates of the programme to find employment in the construction sector.

JP Corry

Submission Summary

JP Corry's commitment towards community engagement serves as a shining example of corporate responsibility and leadership in the builders' merchant industry. Through empowering young minds, supporting mental health, giving back to the community, engaging in volunteering, and promoting educational opportunities, JP Corry has driven positive change and left a lasting impact on the lives of many. We proudly nominate JP Corry for the "Building a Better Community and Empowering Lives" award and hope that their outstanding efforts inspire other businesses to follow suit. Thank you for considering our nomination.

Lords Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

As a business, Lords Builders Merchants pride themselves on being a leader in their local markets and recognise the associated responsibility to contribute to and support local communities. Lords connects with local communities by sponsoring local sports teams, supporting community centres, or donating to local charities. As a business, they make considerable contributions to the communities local to Lords branches, but also make Lords Builders Merchants an engaging and rewarding place to work by supporting colleagues' charitable activities.

Diversity and Inclusion in Merchanting

Sponsored by

LBS Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

In an era where diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords but cornerstones of progressive organizations, LBS Builders Merchants stands as an exemplification of unwavering commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. This award entry is a testament to the strides we have taken to create an environment where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents. As one of the leading merchants in South Wales, LBS is dedicated to ‘Attracting and retaining the best people that are proud to be part of the LBS Family.’ With a workforce spanning diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, we recognize the immense potential of harnessing these differences to drive creativity and business success. Incorporating these principles into a business' operations and culture can lead to a range of positive outcomes. In summary, equality, diversity, and inclusion are not only morally and ethically essential but also crucial for a business's long-term success. Diverse teams create better results. A diverse and inclusive workplace fosters creativity, innovation, and engagement while also ensuring legal compliance and creating a positive employer brand in our local labour market. LBS is proud that this is top our our agenda and are committed to our journey to excellence in this regards.

Travis Perkins

Submission Summary

Travis Perkins is continually fostering a working environment where everyone feels like they belong, and this is central to its family values. We want everyone at Travis Perkins to feel safe, welcome and confident to be their best selves. Our vision and ambition is to be an industry-leading inclusive and diverse employer. As an integral part of the wider construction industry we share the nationwide challenge that construction has long been seen as a non-diverse sector with an ageing population. Women make up only 14% of the national workforce, those from an ethnic minority background are less than 6%, and the average age in the sector is over 45. We are making progress, but we need to accelerate that to address the significant lag in the sector in order to secure the future of our industry. Diversity and inclusion is born through Travis Perkins culture, colleague networks and initiatives that they’ve put in place. We are using compelling marketing campaigns to shine a spotlight on big topics that educate, drive awareness and inspire change both internally and externally of Travis Perkins, to bring our customers along on the journey too. Recently we have established a calendar with belonging moments developed and agreed by colleagues to celebrate and support wellbeing, celebrate inclusion, build capability and promote allyship. Those six moments include International Women’s Day, Learning at Work Week, International Youth Day, Pride Month, Black History Month and International Disability Day.

Wolseley

Submission Summary

We formed the Fairness and Respect Board and associated Working Groups across our Wolseley Group, covering various aspects of diversity. This shows our strong commitment to promoting equality and inclusion in our organization. During Pride month, we ran a campaign to openly support our LGBTQIA+ colleagues and customers. We celebrated and raised funds for the AKT charity, which helps homeless LGBTQIA+ youth. This campaign made a real impact, not just symbolic gestures. Our workplace has become more positive and inclusive as a result. Employees feel comfortable expressing themselves, which has boosted morale and engagement. We've also had important conversations about LGBTQIA+ issues, promoting understanding and growth. The success of our fundraising efforts for the AKT charity demonstrates the meaningful change we've achieved. We believe our commitment to creating an inclusive workplace deserves recognition.

Hard Landscaping Display of the Year

Cartmore Building Supply

Submission Summary

The display has become an integral part of Cartmore's offer to both trade and retail customers and has succeeded in raising the standing of an independent merchant in what is a very competitive sector of a very competitive part of the construction industry. The success of the display has also provided a boost to staff and also assisted in staff recruitment. To lead in the hard landscaping sector today such a display is a necessity.

New Milton Sand and Ballast

Submission Summary

New Milton Sand and Ballast (NMSB) first ventured into the merchant world in 2009, swiftly making some rapid changes to their main branch by installing a hard landscaping area. The display was an instant hit with trade customers and consumers, and landscaping product sales quickly became a focus for NMSB. In the years that followed since launching their initial landscaping area, NMSB carried out a survey in 2021, which found that trade customers stated that having displays that looked like actual garden areas helped their customers choose the correct products as well as feeling comfortable to look around. Already set to undertake an extensive refurbishment programme of their main branch, NMSB made the decision to not just update the existing landscaping area, but instead invest into creating a larger display that would showcase a wider selection of products in mini mock garden zones. Since launching the new landscaping area in June 2023, NMSB’s main branch has seen immense sale success and continued interest from customers, alongside increased customer satisfaction reviews. The landscaping display launch marks part of New Milton Sand and Ballast’s continued investment into the local area. The independent business, which also runs a Builders’ Merchant in Wallisdown, has over 87 years’ experience in supplying quality aggregates, concrete, building materials and waste services across Dorset and Hampshire. The unique company operates three quarries, five depots, one recycling centre and four concrete plants, as well as the builder’s merchants, supporting thousands of customers across the South of England.

Parkers Builders Supplies

Submission Summary

Global Stone's collaboration with Parkers Builders Merchant in Tonbridge has yielded an innovative display born from meticulous research. Responding to customers' desires for an immersive experience, the display allows end-users to explore garden sets, providing a firsthand glimpse of how paving would look in their own gardens. It's more than a retail space; it's a canvas for customers to envision and touch the transformation of their outdoor spaces. This collaboration exemplifies the commitment to delivering not just products, but experiences that go beyond expectations, merging dedication, research, and innovation to create an enchanting garden of possibilities at Parkers Builders Merchant.

Health and Safety Initiative of the Year

Sponsored by

Bradfords Building Supplies

Submission Summary

Bradfords have in 2023 installed two cutting edge safety systems into our Newton Abbot and Launceston branches. The first uses AI camera software to identify and alert occurrence of specific hazards defined as high priority, whilst the second uses hardware to improve vehicle/vehicle and vehicle to personnel segregation through restriction of access and alerting. Both systems are helping us to better understand the key hazards in those branches, but have also already provided information to help further engage our branch teams, to understand where we need to revisit the measures in place to prevent incidents, and we believe has avoided potentially one life-threatening occurrence so far.

Highbourne Group

Submission Summary

The Highbourne Group Make It Safe team have forged ahead to increase the awareness and prevalence of Health and Safety. Our new monthly engagement session, Essential Safety Themes launched in February 2023. Through this project, we have driven engagement, produced better quality and realistic risk assessments designed by colleagues and enhanced understanding of risk and control by colleagues doing the tasks. Each month, every site is provided with the theme to deliver and instigate a recorded discussion. Every 2 months, the theme matches the risk assessment needing review which encourages colleagues involved in identifying and controlling the risks at their site. Learnings were taken on board and with amendments continually made, the process evolved based on feedback from colleagues and managers. This process is now embedded as part of our safety management system across all sites in our Group leading to outcomes which directly impact safe working practices: 193% increase in colleague risk identification and engagement 377 EST discussion sessions take place every month 62% increase in safety standards and compliance

James Burrell Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

Our outstanding efforts over the last year will have a true legacy on the impact James Burell has made within the local communities and the huge emphasis they place on making sure all teams are safe. The huge investment into providing defibs for each of our 11 branches is the most significant investment to be made over the companies history. It not only provides all staff with the safety and security or knowing their is a defib on site, but also to all of those within the local communities who are able to use the defib when needed. As you know, the only proven method to treat a sudden cardiac arrest is by using a defib. Although we hope never to see these defibs used across any of our branches, this investment into a potentially life saving piece of equipment is truly invaluable.

Heating and Plumbing Merchant of the Year

Sponsored by

City Plumbing

Submission Summary

What a year for City Plumbing! Over the last 12 months City Plumbing has continued to invest in its people, customer experience and digital innovations. It has been helping installers, heating engineers, housebuilders and Social Housing Associations transition to renewable energy technology through initiatives designed to make the process easier for them. The merchant’s Energy Efficiency team has been providing advice on renewable energy home heating for over 10 years, so was well placed to step up. It has taken a strategic approach to add the kind of layers which make a real difference to customers considering transitioning their business. Tactics include: - The opening of a first ever Energy Efficiency Centre in April 2023. - The launch of a partnership with GTEC Training which enables City Plumbing to offer installers heat pump and solar PV training, bookable online or in branch. - In-house training to increase the number of Energy Efficiency experts across the country. - The launch of its first national loyalty rewards programme, My City Plumbing Rewards, including extra points on renewable energy products. - New customer-focused apps for the housebuilding and social housing market, including FaultFinder and StockStar. These initiatives were all delivered in the last year, highlights the pace of change at City Plumbing, underlining its place as the number one merchant for renewable energy heating technologies. They are crucial to customers at a time of huge opportunity as the UK moves towards homes being heated through heat pumps rather than gas boilers in future.

Cowal Building & Plumbing Supplies

Submission Summary

merchant sector, embodies a commitment to innovation, community, and growth. • Strategic Expansion: 2023 marked a 28.6% increase in sales growth, partly driven by the acquisition of John Camerons in Glasgow. The seamless integration of Camerons into the Cowal group without losing its unique brand identity was a strategic success. • Digital Evolution: Cowal's online shop has extended customer access to 24/7, resulting in a 20.9% growth in online sales over the last year. • Environmental Commitment: With an aim to achieve 100% carbon neutrality, Cowal has implemented solar generation (saving nearly 200t of CO2 emissions), a new waste management system (targeting a 25% reduction in landfill waste), and an investment in energy-efficient vehicles. • Staff Development: Recognising the value of continuous learning, Cowal is the largest user of BMF training in Scotland. 13.75% of the workforce are apprentices, with the company focusing on growing its own talent. • Building Better Brands: Cowal’s focus on top building industry brands, increasing offerings like Visqueen DPM/DPC’s across the business, resulting in a 245% increase in sales year-on-year. • Communication & Marketing: The pandemic saw an increased emphasis on communication, and since, enhanced email campaigns and a robust social media presence have been central to business growth • Customer Service, the Cowal Way: More than just a motto, superlative customer service is the foundation of Cowal. Included in associated documents are testimonials from Chris Hayward (NMBS), Mark Davies (LBS) and Terry Owen (Huws Grey)

Haldane Group

Submission Summary

Plumbmaster is a dedicated plumbing and heating merchant with branches delivering supplies from its 11 stores across Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. Launched in 2016, Plumbmaster boasts innovation, competitive pricing, and local owners, helping it retain the high levels of personal service associated with a family-run business. As part of the Haldane Group, Plumbmaster is dedicated to delivering excellent levels of customer service and providing sound advice backed by extensive knowledge of the industry. In order to remain resilient in an ever-changing landscape, Plumbmaster has introduced a number of initiatives that help boost business. Overall, sales have experienced a growth of 18.56% between 2022 and 2023, an increase of £2.1m.

Lightside Showroom of the Year

Sponsored by

C&W Berry

Submission Summary

Our 2023 Lightside Showroom has become one of constant transition, as we launch new partner brands and test the impact of innovative cutting edge digital technologies on loyal and new customers. We are both maximising the customer’s offline experience, as well as promoting interactivity in-store, with expert advice readily available, to encourage the most informed buying decision. The entrance area now features an increasingly popular Paco Underhill style decompression zone that allows customers to calmly adjust to the new visual and audio experience. They are encouraged to focus and be more open to browsing and purchase, and this has been clearly reflected in the increased footfall between 900-1,200 customers per day this year. We are aware that some of the improvements we have made cannot always be quantified, however, the incredibly encouraging feedback we are receiving daily has been reflected in our original aim to increase our loyal customers with overall net sales from £61.14m in 2020-2021 to £70.06m in 2022-2023. We feel our 2023 store refresh has improved our unique dependable connection with our dedicated and ever-increasing customer base and created an extraordinary opportunity to revisit and absorb knowledge from the effectiveness of previous displays whilst innovatively satiating the bricks and mortar offline experience. This unique interactive area has evolved into an open-source playground for retail innovation, as every year, we employ a blank paper ethos of cross functionality that is capable of integrating the different needs of the brands whilst tailoring products to the individual consumers requirements.

Gardner and Scardifield

Submission Summary

Gardner & Scardifield, founded 101 years ago, now employs over 165 people across Sussex at 20 sites. We started renovating our flagship Lancing Ironmongery and Hardware store in 2022 with the tools section. The area now showcases cutting edge hand and power tools, top-quality brands, and a comprehensive range of accessories. The store layout has been carefully designed to engage customers and highlight the links between products and their uses. Suppliers collaborated to install high-quality brand displays, while the design and joinery work was done in-house. The store has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers, with people appreciating the improved visibility, lighting and design. Gardner & Scardifield aims to continue integrating these improvements into our other stores and providing the best showcase for our products, expertise and personable customer experience.

Haldane Group

Submission Summary

Haldane Fisher is a leading builders’ merchant with branches in Northern Ireland, England, and Isle of Man. Since October 2022, we have showed significant growth/development through new initiatives, investment, and enhancements to the customer experience. We are now in the second year of our three-year strategic growth plan, ‘Building Together, for a More Sustainable Future,’ focusing on operational excellence, organic and external growth, people, digitalisation, sustainability, and financial returns while still placing the customer at the heart of everything we do. The results of our ‘Building Together, for a More Sustainable Future’ strategic growth plan are already coming to fruition.

Marketing Initiative of the Year

Sponsored by

Bradfords Building Supplies

Submission Summary

How does a business faced with the pressure of nailing an industry-wide sales moment every year continue to stay ahead? Can growing share and protecting margin be done at a time of economic uncertainty, rising prices and a competitor set racing to the bottom? Our “The Sky’s the Limit” Spring campaign answered these questions emphatically; proving that clear strategic thinking, a big creative idea and a truly integrated campaign remain a winning formula for the Bradfords business, our loyal Trades and our ever-growing DIY audience.

George Bence & Sons Ltd

Submission Summary

As attached below

LBS Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

In October 2022, we launched what resulted to be a very successful brand awareness campaign entitled ‘Wobble Your Bobble’, followed by its sister campaign in Summer 2023 ‘Pop On Your Top’. The aim of the campaigns was to raise brand awareness across South Wales and distribute as much merchandise as possible to our customers far and wide. We spent £14k on 4,000 hats and £30k on 10,000 t-shirts and chose a local supplier only a few miles away from our Head Office. For the very first time, we collaborated with influencers such as ‘The Tradie Life’ and ‘The Tradie Wife’, ‘The Welsh Whisperer’ and ‘Aaron Ramsey’ who posted online to extend the reach. We benefitted from 317,000 hits in less than 24 hours of ‘The Tradie Life’ posting his photo which resulted in fantastic exposure for LBS Builders Merchants as well as LBS Kitchens & Bathrooms and Talbot Timber! We have never had a more successful Marketing campaign. This inevitably led to us doing this again, leading with “Pop on your Top” for a summer t-shirt campaign. 10,000 t-shirts were distributed across our branch network, and sold out within 3 weeks! Since these campaigns, our Social Media engagements and customer interactions have never been stronger. We’re ready to launch “Wobble your Bobble” once more in winter 2023 and hope for even more success this time!

Merchant Achiever of the Year

Sponsored by

Joe Smith. GE Robinson

Submission Summary

Joe has demonstrated a genuine commitment to ongoing business development throughout his tenure at Haldane Group, exhibiting high levels of integrity and eagerness to learn whilst never shying away from opportunity, something which has elevated the company's reputation both internally and externally. His ability to analyse industry trends and performance and implement these findings into his day-to-day business practice and strategies have allowed Joe to stand out, and his proactive approach has played a crucial role in the company's success. In addition to this, Joe’s exceptional leadership skills, combined with a respectful and collaborative approach, have earned him the respect of all his colleagues and peers and contributed to a positive work culture. The tangible impacts of Joe’s efforts, such as improved efficiencies, increased productivity, and cost savings, have positioned him as a true asset to the business.

Nathan Arthur.IBMG

Submission Summary

At age 28, Nathan Arthur is the Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at the Independent Builders Merchants Group (IBMG). Having trained as a Chartered Accountant, he joined IBMG in 2021 as a Mergers and Acquisitions Accountant. Through his hard work, dedication and strategic vision, Nathan has risen through the company to now oversee all mergers, acquisitions and new branch locations/openings. Nathan's exceptional leadership qualities and innovative approach make him an outstanding candidate for the Merchant Achiever Award. Despite his age, Nathan has swiftly risen to a senior role, demonstrating unwavering commitment, and outstanding decision-making capabilities. He has shown great adaptability and has effectively managed and collaborated with colleagues who are older and have extensive industry knowledge, earning their respect and admiration.

Zoe Harvey. Bradfords

Submission Summary

Zoe joined Bradfords team at Wareham with very little knowledge or experience of our industry and quickly established herself by getting stuck into the role of Sales Assistant, being willing to give everything a go. She had a positive approach to all tasks and was keen to learn all aspects of the role. As an apprentice, Zoe’s exposure to the wider business offered huge benefits, giving her the opportunity to work with teams in Bradfords Branch Support Centre and to learn what life is like both in branch and in a branch support role. Following her apprenticeship, Zoe was promoted to Sales Advisor and moved to our Dorchester branch, quickly establishing herself as a key member of the branch sales team.

Online and Digital Strategy of the Year

Sponsored by

C&W Berry

Submission Summary

Over the last 12 months, C&W Berry have completely overhauled our website, digital integration systems, and digital marketing initiatives. We invested heavily in a brand-new CMS, as well as new technology and systems that have transformed the customer experience. We also wanted to expand brand awareness of C&W Berry beyond the North West of England. To do so, we hired experienced staff and utilised technology that has expanded our reach and increased sales. Here are some of the improvements we’ve made, as well as the noticeable impact this has had on revenue and the business. - New website with API integration for enhanced user experience - Superior on-site search for improved usability - Employed an eCommerce error detection and resolution software - Hired staff to both improve and create new content - Increased domain authority – up 3 places within the last 12 months - Implemented dropshipping for the first time - Data segmentation and personalisation in email and social media marketing The changes we’ve made over the last 12 months have resulted in some incredibly notable improvements, which include a 25% increase in revenue, £50k revenue from a new revenue stream, £2.75m made since the launch of our new website, as well as £233k revenue saved with our new e-commerce detection software. We have also doubled the number of products on our website, and increased engagement with personalisation and segmentation with email and social campaigns.

Howarth Timber & Building Supplies

Submission Summary

At Howarth, we are continually searching for ways to improve our customer offering, and one of the ways we sought to do this was by greatly enhancing our digital content. We are always working to enhance our online products, notably our treated timber products. Therefore, our aim was to improve our consumers' overall customer experience by making them much more visually engaging and informative. Since the launch of our new website, we have excelled in producing a diverse selection of content for our customers to consume, as well as vastly improved our products by making them more appealing to the customer and, as a result, easier to purchase. Because of our new website, we have increased our sales by 83.8% YoY, which is a fantastic achievement.

LBS Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

2022 saw a revolutionary step forward for LBS Builders Merchants as we successfully adopted our new ERP system. LBS consistently strives to deliver outstanding service to our customers. It was time for an eCommerce environment that would match this. Development of 3 new branded sites begun through 2 B2B and Retail websites, LBS & Total Plumbing, catering for a very different consumer, plus a rebrand of LBSBM Online and launch of UK Build Supplies. As a merchant that supplies a vast and diverse customer base, we set out to reach individual customers, regardless of their trade or size, and cater for them all as individual consumers. As a result we have jam-packed the sites with user-focused features. The shift from the traditional merchant trading environment to a digitally driven and mobile-centric shopping experience is underway. LBS differentiates itself from its competitors by prioritising exceptional customer experiences and our focus is on continuous innovation and improvement to not only meet but surpass the ever-changing needs and behaviours. Our commitment to utilising cutting-edge technology enhances the customer journey and guarantees a streamlined shopping experience with LBS. Our goal is to continue to exceed customer expectations, regardless of their preferred shopping method, for the next 90 years and beyond. We have innovation and function as an independent that will only be challenged by Nationals.

Supplier of the Year

Sponsored by

Brett Martin

Submission Summary

Brett Martin was founded in 1958 and remains a family run business dedicated to continued growth, with our original values still core to everything we do. We’ve been 100% committed to the merchant sector since our inception, and we are dedicated to exceeding our customers’ expectations. The past year has seen us extending our deals with H&B and Fortis, which is testament to the quality of our products and the service we provide. We're thrilled to have signed a deal with NBG, and look forward to working with their members in the coming months. Our Business Development Managers are committed to working with our merchant partners, and have conducted 35 training sessions, attended 43 Trade Days, and merchandised a staggering 228 merchant branches in the last year. Being forward thinking, our manufacturing and production teams are always looking for ways to improve our service, lower our carbon footprint, and deliver excellent value to our customers. Nothing is more important to us than helping merchants to sell more and to generate more value from their stock. We are agile and approachable, and we work closely with our merchant partners to support their sales of our products.

Keystone Lintels

Submission Summary

Keystone Lintels' nomination for the BMN Awards Supplier of the Year 2023 is a testament to its tireless dedication to customer service, innovative initiatives, collaborative partnerships, and exceptional achievements. The company's unwavering commitment to excellence in a challenging market solidifies its position as a deserving contender for this prestigious award. • Over 17,500 quotes on average per year across UK and Ireland through innovative marketing initiatives • Over 12,000 sales visits to merchant partners • Over 33,000 individual deliveries in 2022 and an average lead time of three to five days anywhere in the country • Over 60 Keystone engineers provide technical and sales support • Chris Hemmington-Green and Derrick McFarland in the BMF/BMN top 100 most influential people

K Rend

Submission Summary

As the UK’s market-leading renders manufacturer, K Rend understands the key to success is not only investment across its own people, and products but investment in its customer network. The company strives to expand its sales, partners, networks, and expertise so that customers feel equipped to achieve growth in their render sales K Rend. K Rend places customers at the heart of its operations and harnesses insights and partner feedback to develop innovative strategies/services that provide unrivalled value, support, and a competitive edge in-market. These strategies include: • Launch of K Academy – a dedicated training academy for its customers • Launch of K Rend Champions Programme • Enhanced merchant support – across technical, marketing, R&D and sales K Rend is passionate about driving the success of the industry as a whole and ensuring a sustainable future for the sector. K Rend supports industry events such as the Builders Merchant Awards and participates in knowledge-sharing within industry through guest speaking slots at BMF events e.g. the Branch Managers forum, the Marketing Forum and supporting other events such as Regional Meetings and Young Merchants Conference. Investment in training helps address the skills shortages in the industry and our sales director, David Grace is a BMF ambassador helping to promote the wide range of employment opportunities across the industry. K Rend’s marketing strategy, and efforts in supporting its merchant network, has driven significant growth for all stakeholders involved, and contributed to a 12% increase in turnover last year across our merchant partners.

Supplier Account Manager of the Year

Sponsored by

Lee Jones. Fakro GB

Submission Summary

Lee Jones, the Commercial Manager of FAKRO GB, has been a pivotal figure in the building materials industry, known for his exceptional contributions and unwavering commitment to excellence. Lee's remarkable ability to maintain and enhance business relationships with national customers like Selco and Jewson has solidified FAKRO GB's standing as a trusted industry supplier. Since January 2022, Lee has served as the primary point of contact for major builders' merchant groups, where his negotiation prowess has consistently secured optimal deals while nurturing harmonious relationships with all parties involved. He has motivated FAKRO's external sales teams to pursue new business opportunities and strengthen existing partnerships, demonstrating his customer-centric approach. Lee's commitment to continuous improvement was exemplified by his initiative to provide comprehensive customer service and sales training to the sales office, refreshing their skills and promoting personal development. Beyond FAKRO GB, his active involvement in the Builders' Merchants Federation (BMF) Young Merchants initiative showcases his dedication to the future of the industry. In summary, Lee Jones is a driving force behind FAKRO GB's success, embodying excellence in relationship management, business growth, and industry advancement. His passion, leadership, and visionary outlook make him a true industry luminary, worthy of recognition and appreciation.

Rebecca Fortescue Halliwell. Forgefix

Submission Summary

About Rebecca Rebecca Fortescue-Halliwell is the head of marketing and digital strategy at ForgeFix, having worked in the B2B construction products market for over 16 years. Through her work, Rebecca has built up a strong skillset, which includes excellent relationship, management, leadership and analytical skills. Rebecca has a wealth of experience in managing multiple projects and is an excellent communicator, which is reflected in her strong relationships with merchants and buying groups.

Steven Logan. K Rend

Submission Summary

Steven Logan is a staunch advocate of K Rend's unwavering dedication to providing top-notch service and support to its merchant network. He actively seeks opportunities to surpass expectations and bring joy to both K Rend's customers and their clientele. Steven embarked on his journey with K Rend in September 2010, initially serving as an Internal Sales Executive. Over the course of 13 years, he has steadily climbed the ranks, attaining the esteemed position of UK Merchant Division Manager. In this pivotal role, he takes charge of overseeing a high-achieving K Rend sales team and the widespread distribution network of the company across the UK. Steven's exceptional contributions haven't gone unnoticed by numerous K Rend customers who regard him as an indispensable asset, not only to the K Rend team but also to their own thriving businesses.

Sustainable/Environmental Initiative of the Year

Sponsored by

Bradfords Building Supplies

Submission Summary

Bradfords continues to develop it's approach to becoming a more sustainable business. With governance and a framework now in place to ensure that sustainability is considered in business strategy, we are making progress. Our decarbonisation initiatives see us 4% of our target for 2023, with much still to go for and solid plans to understand, affect and influence our scope 3 over the course of 2023 and 2024, with plans for full scope 3 reporting for 2024. Meanwhile, having reliable and detailed data for our waste means that we can now easily focus on where to prioritise. At half year 2023, we are 6% improved on waste volume YOY from 2022, and 8% improved on waste diverted from landfill.

CCF Ltd

Submission Summary

For CCF, one of the UK’s leading insulation, drywall and ceiling product distributors, sustainability is rooted deep within its company culture. Its aim is to work together with suppliers and customers to build a greener world for the future - with CCF proud to lead the way. In the last 12 months CCF has invested significant time and resource into a number of environmental initiatives designed to reduce its overall carbon footprint and cut waste. In this way, CCF is actively working towards its challenging, but achievable, 1.5 degree aligned carbon target by 2035 (set by Travis Perkins Plc) which has been formally approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI). CCF’s innovative new delivery carbon reporting tool, for example, is currently being trialled with a select group of customers as a new way to provide accurate real world delivery carbon data, which will ultimately help customers to make tangible carbon savings themselves. The company delivered a carbon neutral conference for venue and travel at the start of the year - setting a powerful precedent for others to follow.

Cowal Building & Plumbing Supplies

Submission Summary

In the face of mounting environmental challenges, Cowals has taken decisive steps to implement a strong environmental strategy. This includes significant investments in solar energy, energy-efficient transportation, and waste management. Solar Energy Initiatives: Cowal has installed solar generation projects in four branches, aiming to roll out this technology across all branches. These installations provide over 90% of the business’s energy requirements, and the company predicts self-sufficiency in electricity in four of its depots once the programme is fully implemented. Energy-Efficient Fleet: The inclusion of three new energy-efficient vehicles significantly reduces carbon emissions during transportation. Waste Management: The company has revamped waste management, segregating recyclables from non-recyclables, leading to energy savings of up to 25% in recycling. Collaborative Work: Success has been achieved through meticulous planning, research, and staff training. Ongoing monitoring ensures alignment with environmental objectives. Positive Environmental Impact: • Carbon Footprint Reduction: 156.92t of CO2 emissions saved • Sustainable Energy Generation: A total of 157.247MWh energy generated, reducing reliance on non-renewables. • Waste Management: Promoting a circular economy within operations. • Green Culture: A shift towards greater environmental consciousness. • Zero Emissions Goal: Progress towards zero-emission status in every branch. • Moral & Financial Sustainability: A belief in sustainability as a moral imperative, resulting in tangible business benefits. In conclusion, Cowal has made significant strides in embracing sustainable practices, reflecting a commitment to both moral and environmental stewardship. From solar power to waste management, the company's efforts underscore a holistic approach to a greener future, demonstrating that the merchanting.

Timber Merchant of the Year

C&W Berry

Submission Summary

Since the origins of C&W Berry, timber has been a fundamental part of our business. Founded in 1954 by Brothers Colin & Walter Berry as a joinery manufacturer in Leyland, the company purchased its current premises on Golden Hill Lane in 1961 and began specialising in the import and machining of bulk timber. Since then, our range has grown to include a wide range of timber products including flooring, staircases, skirting boards, joist sets and fence panels. We maintain high levels of stock all year round and pride ourselves on our professionalism and craftsmanship.

Howarth Timber & Building Supplies

Submission Summary

Since the very beginning, the people at Howarth Timber & Building Supplies have strived to create a builder’s merchant that people can rely on. And we continually work towards success in all areas of the business, whether it be expanding our national footprint, providing a wide range of employee benefits to our staff, or supplying our customers with the most diverse range of timber products on the market. And, as a successful timber merchant, we have adopted a variety of initiatives over the last year to further develop our brand and legacy, such as the procurement of Verdon Timber, improved photography and merchandising of our timber product online, and TimberPro training courses.

Talbot Timber

Submission Summary

Talbot Timber is a well-established and reputable south-west Wales based company. Having been trading for forty years and located on a 3.6 acre site, Talbot Timber has developed a strong following and customer base across Wales supplying timber, sheet materials, and machined & engineered products to contactors and merchants. Sales in the business have grown strongly year on year, outperforming the regional market. This growth is continuing into 2023/2024. We are winning market share every year and we see no signs of slowdown. 2023 is set to a record year for LBS, currently tracking at double of last year. Profit is following at the same level – particularly impressive given the energy usage and cost base at site. We have continued to invest in the site and in our workforce, which now stands at thirty-four staff as of 2023. This has made Talbot Timber our most resourced site in the company, reflecting its importance to our offer. 2023 has seen some impressive efficiency wins, increased output and significant energy savings. Our customer service has also never been better, demonstrated by customer testimonials. The results since October 2022 by the team is testament to the commitment and expertise of our fantastic staff in delivering the Talbot Timber strategy. We are now Number one in South Wales.

Trainee/Apprentice of the Year

Cameron Russell. Cowal Building & Plumbing Supplies

Submission Summary

Our apprentice Cameron Russell has exemplified Cowal’s determination to grow its own talent, grabbing every opportunity and already making a significant impact on the business. Training Undertaken: Starting as a yard assistant, Cameron achieved the BMF Yard Foreman Tool Kit Qualification, forklift qualifications, and his driving licence in record time. His comprehensive training encompassed product knowledge, selling skills, personal development, and IT. Achievements & Hurdles: Without prior experience, Cameron's trajectory at Cowal was remarkable. He evolved from basic yard work to trade counter roles, mastering order processing and customer interactions. Completing Cowal's 6-month training in 12 weeks, his learning agility facilitated his personal and professional growth. Cameron has single-handedly streamlined the Cowal invoicing procedures, making a significant impact on the business. Support from Cowal: His mentor, Kevin Ellis, has fostered Cameron's growth. On-the-job training and regular feedback have been crucial. Impact on the Business: • Customer Relations: Cameron's product knowledge and affable approach have enhanced customer relations. • Team Dynamics: Bridging new apprentices and staff, he's fostered collaboration. • Operational Precision: Cameron's analytical skills streamlined Cowal’s invoicing, boosting efficiency and savings. • Mentorship and Team Dynamics: His guidance and compassion have rejuvenated colleagues and shifted perceptions of apprentices within the branch.

Hannah Stronach. Travis Perkins

Submission Summary

Hannah joined Travis Perkins in October 2021 as a Branch Assistant. Before joining, she worked in a supervisory role at WH Smith where she performed various duties, including managing a team, stock control, customer relations and the general running of the store. After being made redundant she wanted to take her career in a whole new direction and applied for the Travis Perkins Apprenticeship Scheme. Hannah has a great talent for plumbing, and even rivals our Plumbing and Heating expert, much to his delight. She set up the merchandising, pricing and located everything under her own steam. She is now using that experience to help the Travis Perkins Inverness

Harri Owens. LBS Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

Harri Owens is a great example of the new calibre of talent coming through LBS. While relatively new and inexperienced, Harri was accepted on the company’s brand-new Essential Sales Management Programme. Harri excelled at the challenging course, achieving the best results of all. He was the top performer. Since completion, he has been successful in a promotion into an External Sales role and is now the top performing External Sales Representative at LBS, outperforming those with 30 years+ experience on him. In a challenging market, he is hitting 110% of his sales and profit targets. The profit of his customer ledger is up a massive 190% on this time last year. He is outperforming the market hugely. His attitude and commitment to learning new skills has been excellent and Harri has validated that anything can be achieved with the right approach and energy. It is plain to see that Harri had a natural talent and the potential to be a key player in sales. With his development and the professional training, he has been able to take this to the next level. Harri is an exceptional learner, has shown a hunger for knowledge and remarkable self-development. He will embrace any opportunity to shape his career path with LBS and is a Sales Executive of the future. This is what makes Harri Owens a worthy nomination for this award.

Training Initiative of the Year

City Plumbing

Submission Summary

City Plumbing has developed a two-pronged training initiative to help installers and engineers transition their businesses to renewable energy home heating. Firstly, a partnership with GTEC Training has allowed the plumbing and heating merchant to offer heat pump and solar training to installers, bookable online or in branch. Secondly, an internal training programme for City Plumbing employees enables them to become part of a fast-growing Energy Efficiency team of experts, providing guidance on renewables projects and agnostic advice on products. Underlying both these strands is City Plumbing’s mission, as a merchant with 370 branches across the country, to make homes, businesses and lives better – and to support the nation’s Net Zero 2050 goals. The launch of the company’s first ever Energy Efficiency Centre, in Farnborough in April 2023, symbolises the forward-facing initiative. The Centre houses an accredited GTEC training room, offering heat pump and solar PV training. Moreover, it includes engaging ‘zones’ that offer members of the public an opportunity to visualise how new technologies could function in their own homes. It means installers have access to training, products and advice all under one roof – as well as a place to send their own customers to gain inspiration. The launch led to a 27% increase in sales of Energy Efficiency products within the local area and sees up to 12 installers trained at a time. Crucial when you consider there are only 1666 MCS certified installers in the country – and we need an estimated 30,000 to achieve.

LBS Builders Merchants

Submission Summary

Today's learners have far greater expectations of what they want to gain from their learning experiences and expect more flexibility in how they achieve this. At LBS, we have always recognised that for any training to be successful, course diversity is essential to inspire our workforce to engage with their learning. In 2022 we focused on how to become more effective in our planning and in our roll out of Learning plans to our colleagues. All learning plans and content were “moulded to fit” the learners, rather than just specifically fitting the role. We now offer courses online, offline, 1-2-1, and group formats. Individual digital learning plans allow us to tailor the need of our learners and allow us to include all formats of learning. After an initial training meeting with individuals to establish the long-term goals, learners are then presented with their 90-day learning plan. Their progress is monitored by our dedicated LBS Learning and Development Coaches during their branch visits. We currently have 212 active plans. These aligned plans have results in better engagement and higher completion rates in training, creating an upskilled workforce. The tactic has already proven to be a huge success for us at LBS and it has resulted in us constantly achieving record numbers of learners across the organisation. We are also seeing a record number of internal promotions, and staff retention has never been better. We train more, upskill more and promote more for the future.

LEAP Apprenticeships powered by Travis Perkins plc

Submission Summary

LEAP Apprenticeships and Early Careers is powered by Travis Perkins plc who have been helping to build Britain for over 200 years, with a range of businesses in the Group. The success of our business relies on strong customer relationships, and it was identified that the construction sector had an ageing population of colleagues, limited training, and a need to attract diverse and younger talent. The demographic mix of Travis Perkins was virtually identical to the wider construction sector and nearly all of our recruitment was of experienced colleagues from within the sector making very little impact on our diversity. The solution was to create a training programme to allow anyone, no matter of their background or experience, to enter the construction sector with tailored training, including modern building techniques and digital and data. In-turn the new workforce would be in place to support the drive towards modernising the construction sector and a net carbon future. If we could make this approach work within Travis Perkins then this approach could be broadened to the wider construction sector. Our Mission is to build a modern and diverse workforce within the Construction Sector by planning and teaching an industry-leading curriculum that closely reflects what employers, employees, and customers need.