Merchants grow wiser with Arbor Forest Training

Staff from Building and Plumbing Supplies, Chandlers Building Supplies and EH Smith have all recently completed the training programme provided by Arbor Forest Products, and the merchants are now reaping the benefits of their staff’s increased knowledge and confidence with timber.

EH Smith has sent a total of 50 members of staff on the training programme in recent years, and has reported that these members of the team are now the company’s leading sales performers on timber. Timber sales at the company have grown by around £4 million since the company began sending staff on Arbor Forest’s programme, and last year the company appointed a National Timber Sales Manager to further support the category.

Darren Moles, sales director for EH Smith, said: “Arbor Forest have definitely played a huge part in growing sales and we are very grateful. Now that they are armed with this extra knowledge, our staff are now much more confident and we will be continuing to send branch staff on the training programme in the future.”

Building and Plumbing Supplies has similarly experienced increased staff confidence in the team members who completed the training which translated into an uplift in sales – which the company’s operations director, Graham Stanley, attributes to staff engaging more with customers who were buying timber. He commented, “As a mixed merchant trading from multiple branches, Arbor Forest Products’ training gave the staff who don’t work in our timber departments the opportunity to gain some invaluable product knowledge, as well as improving the knowledge of some of the sales staff that do work in our timber departments.”

Chandlers has reported that its timber category is up £500,000 in sales for the first six months of the year compared with last year and has reported lots of positive feedback from customers about the merchants’ staff enthusiasm and product knowledge.

Trevor Mudd, BM & timber trading director at Chandlers Building Supplies, said, “The training gave us a greater understanding of how timber products are processed from start to finish: from growing saplings in the nursery right, to shipping packs of timber to the UK and the processes that transform them into the high-quality products we sell.  Videos are all very well but you don’t appreciate the full scale of the operation unless you see it for yourself.”

The training programme is provided in two stages: “trainees” start by completing Arbor Forest Products’ detailed timber training workbooks over an agreed period, with each individual monitored by Arbor Forest Products staff during this time. This is followed by a visit to the Arbor Forest Products facility at New Holland to gain a ‘live insight’ into the timber milling, treatment plants, MDF factory and dock areas.

Arbor Forest Products’ training manager Peter Kelly commented “Our training programme is designed to give our merchant customers a greater understanding of the products they are selling to customers every day. For us, it’s about building long-standing partnerships with like-minded businesses, and it’s fantastic to hear that there is compelling evidence that our training can impact directly on sales.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming more merchants’ staff to our facility this year and helping them give their timber categories a boost.”

Arbor Forest Products

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About Elizabeth Jordan

I'm the Assistant Editor on BMJ. If you have any product or people information, or some news you'd like to share, please feel free to email me.

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