Branch managers are lynchpins

25 January 2014

The Builders Merchants Federation has a range of initiatives to support branch managers. Managing director John Newcomb explains

Branch managers are the lynchpin of our industry, and the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) supports them in various ways.

For those seeking formal qualifications, the BMF Diploma in Merchanting develops trainee managers' skills and can be followed by our new Foundation Degree in Merchanting from the University of the West of England.

The Diploma offers advanced leadership development training tailored to builders and timber merchants, with a syllabus covering Managing People, Managing Yourself, Managing Operations and Managing Resources. The Foundation Degree applies that learning to real issues in a business and develops an understanding of sustainable products - increasingly important in the timber sector.

Outside formal education, branch managers want to measure their performance against industry best practice. The first BMF Branch Managers Forum, on April 30 and May 1, features a range of speakers to stimulate new thinking and galvanise action. Industry experts will share their knowledge on subjects from leadership and management to merchandising, marketing and digital media, from employment and training to health and safety and security, as well as offering masterclasses on timber and landscaping and showroom design designed to improve branch performance and add directly to the bottom line.

It will also introduce branch managers to the BMF Wellness Programme developed with Dr Dorian Dugmore to ensure that merchant staff are fit and adequately protected from the stresses and strains of corporate life. We are encouraging every member company to run Wellness Clinics, with individuals given feedback on personal health checks plus recommendations for preventative measures or lifestyle changes needed.

We are so passionate about this initiative that a new Dr Dorian Dugmore Wellness Award will be presented at Members Day in September to the individual or the company that best demonstrates how they have applied the programme's principles to their own health or the wellbeing of their staff.

John Newcomb