With over 80 members of all shapes and sizes, and known as the premiere buying group for independents, the National Buying Group (NBG) represents a combined route to market for the full spectrum of building products and specialist ranges. We speak to three of NBG’s larger members to find out how membership can benefit a merchant business, regardless of scale.
Parkers Building Supplies
Grant and Stone
Founding members Parkers and Grant & Stone, and early adopters Kellaway, show that larger independents see significant benefits from NBG membership, both as an improved route to market, and as a forum for sharing innovation, support and ultimately success.
DH: I think the benefits of NBG membership are the same no matter what size the business is: improved buying power, splitting the buying workload, and streamlining the whole buying process. When you are negotiating as part of a £850 million organisation you have access to manufacturers and suppliers that would normally be closed to us. Take Velux as an example. They previously favoured nationals, now we have an in to their product range at a competitive price.
AP: One of the key benefits for us is the ability to share best practice with other merchants in a supportive environment. The NBG Forums are a case in point. They are an excellent opportunity for all of us to better ourselves and share good ideas.
JP: The sharing of best practice is definitely a plus for Parkers. Just because our business is larger it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from other specialist members, and we regularly do. The majority of members are very open and there is a real sense that we are all pulling together for the greater good.
All three of these merchants believe that compliance is an important strength of NBG
DH: We make every effort to be as compliant as we can be at all times. There are very few products that we don’t comply on – usually regional products that don’t have an NBG deal.
JP: I think that compliance is a very strong suit for NBG. A recent survey of our suppliers certainly backs up that assertion. They, unsurprisingly, see compliance as the key factor in their dealings with NBG and strong compliance to deals is one of our core values. We see strong compliance with agreed supplier deals as vital among our Partners who are expected to support the negotiated deals, no matter what size the merchant. The Category Management Teams are always focused on ensuring compliance.
One particular advantage for NBG merchants who are opening new branches, like us, is the opportunity afforded by NBG suppliers for new outlets.
AP: NGB deals are especially important when we open a new branch. For instance, we acquired a new business in January and needed to change the branch’s stock profile to better reflect our NBG status. We found that NBG suppliers were more than happy to help us manage that change over. In addition, many NBG suppliers offer special new branch offers and promotions which make it possible to get a branch off to a real flying start.
A recent NBG survey showed that access to the group’s buying deals is vital to the partners’ success, with all merchants agreeing that being a member of NBG allowed them, as an independent, to compete effectively in the national market – both financially with improved prices, but also by having more clout with suppliers.
JP: Competitive deals are an important benefit of membership. And that doesn’t just extend to prices. We receive improved services from and relationships with, our suppliers, such as continuity of supply, training, range management advice on stocking profile etc. We enjoy being a large fish in a large pond!
NBG aims to give both its partners and suppliers a hassle-free, accurate and mutually beneficial experience of doing business and the NBG Hub is central to that goal.
DH: A combination of the efficiency of the NBG hub and the streamlining of our buying processes are definitely a benefit to any business. When you have experts in every sector negotiating deals on your behalf with a combined turnover of £850 million, I know I can trust them to get the job done.
Click here for coverage in BMN