Independent builders merchant Ridgeons held a Meet-the-Merchant supplier day in Norwich on Tuesday (March 29);
The second such event, yesterday’s meeting focussed on ‘How to drive growth and improve business together’
The group’s branch managers met with representatives from key suppliers in the morning, with Ridgeons’ sales representatives meeting suppliers in the afternoon.
The company’s supplier awards were also presented at lunchtime, with lightside supplier of the year going to Roper Rhodes and hardware and decorating supplier going to Toolbank. The Keystone Group took both the heavyside and overall supplier supplier of the year, and Toolbank’s Steve Barker won sales representative of the year.
As well as Ridgeons’ staff benefiting from the day’s meetings, the suppliers also get a chance to build stronger relationships with the managers at branch level, said group managing director Angela Rushforth.
“It gives them a chance to do that in one place, rather than visit each of our 22 branches in turn. For me, it’s about building partnerships and what is key are the action plans that come out of it. It’s not all about sitting and talking about what we might do; it’s about driving some actions between us and the supplier base. That’s been very positive and the suppliers that were here last time were very keen and were the first to sign up for this one.”
Garry Smith is the branch manager for the Ipswich and Martlesham Heath branches. He said that the event and gives him an opportunity to formulate growth plans for the coming year in conjunction with the suppliers.
“I see the reps throughout the year but it’s beneficial to get them together and talk to them in this sort of venue, within this format. It just enables to create new opportunities between you, discuss how we can grow the business alongside our suppliers.”
The time limit on the meetings is also an advantage, said John Mortlock, northern regional manager for the group.
“Because it’s 12 minutes for each meeting, it really focuses the mind as to what you need to be talking about, providing the managers and suppliers are well prepared, and I know that they are. It’s also a chance to meet more senior people, which the managers don’t often get an opportunity to do. It’s really about cementing those existing relationships and setting objectives, hopefully improving our results together.”