Sharing the knowledge with BMF Forums

5 February 2019  

Richard EllithorneBMF’s Membership Services Director, Richard Ellithorne explains how BMF Forums are adding value to Members’ businesses  

The BMF’s mission is to help members to excel at providing materials and services for building a better future. In line with this the BMF is working hard to create personalised packages of value-added services to meet individual members’ needs more effectively.  

The development of BMF Forums over the past four years is just one example of how we are developing services to engage members in a variety of sectors and job functions.  Since the first BMF Forum was launched in 2015 the creation of range of such targeted events has played a key role in engaging with members.   

We currently run fifteen Forums – including the latest which focuses specifically on Brexit. These service a wide variety of interest groups and play a major part in broadening the BMF’s relevance and appeal to different sectors of the industry by highlighting the Federation’s value to a wide range of professionals operating within its membership base.  

BMF Forums excel at sharing best practice, knowledge and information for our members. Because they are geared to specific audiences, they provide a unique platform to discuss the latest and most relevant issues for each group. Furthermore, input from members at the various Forums gives them a powerful voice outside the industry. Providing members with an outlet to voice their views and concerns enables the BMF to hear from them directly, which in turn assists our campaigning work to inform government and influence legislative policy on behalf of members. 

There are currently six sector specific Forums: Plumbing & Heating, Timber, Roofing & Insulation, Decorative Products, Civils & Drainage and Bricks & Blocks. Two of which, Plumbing & Heating and Timber, are accompanied by their own newsletter produced both in digital and hard copy for each event. 

To encourage a wider network of employees within member organisation to engage directly both with BMF and their peers, we also run eight function-specific Forums aimed at departmental managers: Branch Manager, Finance, HR, Health & Safety, Transport, Marketing, Technology and Supplier & Service.  

Each forum aims to meet twice a year and is designed to provide valuable information that attendees can take back to their businesses. They are free for members to attend except the Branch Managers Forum which is a chargeable two-day event. While they are facilitated by the BMF, they are very much run by and for our members. Each forum is chaired by a BMF member with expertise in that area and he or she will be instrumental in setting the day’s agenda. We may also undertake an advance mini survey of a hot topic being presented at the Forum, with the survey results revealed at the event. This helps to ensure that the issues being discussed will have the widest relevance to those attending.  

For example, at a recent Branch Manager Forum a key topic of discussion was Fraud Prevention and Vigilance. This helped merchant members to share the various security threats they had faced and discuss how to prevent them in the future.  Another value-add comes from the targeted delegate packs created for attendees of specific forums. For example, merchants attending the Finance Forum receive our annual Key Performance Indicators report, while those attending the HR Forum take away our annual Remuneration Survey report.  

The BMF’s aim is to increase the value we add to our members’ businesses through greater segmentation of our membership base – ensuring that the services we provide for each member are those that are the most relevant to their business.  Our sector and functional Forums covering industry hot topics and legislative updates play a key role in this.   

Last year a total of 1,072 delegates attended 23 BMF Forum events. If you would like to join them, you can find out more about any BMF Forum at, or for other benefits of BMF Membership contact Richard Ellithorne, BMF Membership Services Director at [email protected] or call 02476 854980 .

This article appeared in the January 2019 edition of Builders Merchants Journal (BMJ)