First class service for our members

27 November 2018
by BMF CEO John Newcomb

John NewcombThe BMF’s anniversary year is nearing its end with our final event, a celebratory Members’ Dinner, taking place at the Belfry later this month.  Although we are celebrating 110 years as a Trade Body our focus is very much on the future as we continue to support our members through changing and sometimes challenging times.  

This forward-looking focus has led to another year of firsts for the BMF.   

We held our first Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons in April and followed this with the appointment of our first government relations consultants for Scotland and Northern Ireland.  We now have skilled teams in place to promote our members’ interest at Westminster, with all three devolved assemblies and with local authorities nationally.   

The BMF’s thriving Young Merchant Group held its first Conference, which took place at the NEC during UK Construction Week.  The Conference was a great success, attracting 150 delegates drawn from current, past and potential Young Merchant Group members. Highlights included keynote speaker George Clarke, the architect, television presenter and campaigner, who not only spoke passionately on the need to attract more young people into the whole construction industry including the building materials sector, but also voiced some ingenious ideas to help overcome the country’s housing shortage.  

Membership of the BMF Young Merchant Group is open to merchants and suppliers aged between 21 and 40 holding a key management position within their organisation.  As well as offering opportunities to network and share experience, their meetings regularly feature one or more speakers to encourage and inspire members.   

BMF Young Merchant’s newly-elected Chair, Glenn Paddison of MKM Building Supplies, and Vice Chair, Jo Callow of Knauf Insulation, are keen to continue developing the group’s work and influence, for example, by encouraging members to play a leading role in promoting careers in our industry to school and college leavers through the BMF Ambassador programme.   

They also see an opportunity to strengthen the Group’s ties with European merchants to share best practice, possibly with a European Conference next year.  This ties in well with another first for the BMF and for me personally. As the UK approaches Brexit, it is even more important for the BMF to strengthen its links with our European colleagues and trade bodies and last month I was honoured to be confirmed as President of Ufemat, the European Association of National Builders Merchants Associations and Manufacturers, becoming the first BMF CEO to hold that role.  

Another notable first, and a fantastic tribute to the professionalism of the whole BMF team, saw the BMF win the top honour of Overall Best Association in the prestigious Association Excellence Awards 2018, where we also won the prize for the best Association Website.  

The Association Excellence Awards, which are judged by a panel of over 20 CEOs and senior managers, recognise and reward the achievements of UK trade bodies, professional membership organisations and associations.  Awarding the BMF the prize for Overall Best Association – under 1000 members, the judges said that the Federation demonstrated strength in policy, membership events, communications, training and had genuine sector leadership.  

We are extremely proud to see the BMF’s work on behalf of our members independently recognised in this way. Our mission is to help merchant and supplier members to build excellence into every aspect of their business.  Be assured that no matter what our post-Brexit future brings, we will continue to develop the policies and programmes that helped us achieve recognition in the Association Excellence Awards to help our members build excellence into every aspect of their own business.  

This article appeared in the November 2018 edition of Builders Merchants News (BMN)