BMF, Unimer and NMBS in joint venture

Electronic trading in the building materials distribution sector is now easier thanks to a joint initiative by the Builders Merchants Federation, National Merchant Buying Society and United Merchants.

The three leading merchant organisations have negotiated an agency arrangement to provide internationally recognised GS1 Global Location Numbers (GLNs) to UK builders’ merchants and building material manufacturers and suppliers at a greatly reduced cost.

GLNs are an essential element of electronic trading, acting like a post code to identify specific business locations and improve the efficiency of communications between trading partners for EDI ordering, delivery and invoicing.

Under the GS1 GLN global standard, every number allocated is unique worldwide and there are over 100 international issuing bodies.

GLNs will be available to subscribing companies at the following annual rates, exclusive of VAT:

£100 for 1 GLN

£125 for between 2 to 5 GLNs

£150 for between 6 to 10 GLNs

£200 for 11 GLNs onwards

Each subscribing company will be allocated their own unique company registration number, the 13 digit identification coding used by the GLN system will then allow up to 99 separate location codes linked to that company registration. This will be sufficient for most multi-site independent merchants and those wishing to separate heavyside and lightside ordering, delivery and invoicing.

BMF secretary, Peter Matthews said: “We investigated the options before deciding to work with GS1 Malta. We now have a joint agency agreement with them, whereby we take on part of administration, and this enables us to provide individual GLNs at a price below that available to individual companies.”

Chris Hayward, managing director of NMBS said: “We have been working with BMF and UNIMER for several years on a number of initiatives promoting EDI within our sector and chipping away at the barriers to entry – essentially, ease of use and cost. For many smaller companies the fact that we now offer a low cost, entry level GLN will mean, for the first time, they can seriously consider adopting electronic trading.”

Howard Grant, managing director of UNIMER said: “Comparing GS1 bodies worldwide allowed us to develop a flexible costing structure that is far more appropriate to many of the companies in our sector. There is no doubt that EDI can help to speed transactions, improve accuracy and reduce overheads, and this lower cost model should encourage more businesses to get on board.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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