040 HPM 1012

HPM October 2012

SPECIALREPORT WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com Why your local merchant matters Merchants have a valuable role to play in the plumbing and heating industry. Ian Kenny, marketing director at plumbers' merchant Graham, looks at why installers should ensure they are making full use of their local merchant and how the business is changing to meet the needs of the installer... Athe best DIY store in the high street isll plumbing and heating engineers worththeir salt will know the importance ofhaving a local merchant to rely on. Even never going to be able to compare to the expertise, experience and product offering of a well-established merchant. When you do find a merchant that you're happy with, it can be easy to forget what goes into making them work efficiently and effectively. Availability and immediacy of product will always be high on the agenda. Let's face it, if you know your merchant always has exactly what you need - it'll keep you coming back, but do you ever stop to consider what work goes into making that happen? When it comes to plumbing products, tailored regional profiles are essential for merchants who want to ensure customers in their local area get the parts that they need. Knowing what the most popular boiler is for that particular area, how old the stock is and what kind of spares are required to fix the most common faults, can play a vital Visitors to a Graham branch (inset) expect expertise, experience and knowledge of the product offering role in making sure the product is there when needed. However, it's not all about replacement parts. A it's often later in the evening that installers have a good merchant needs to make sure its customers chance to think about the latest innovations or CUSTOMER FORUMS are always up-to-date with the latest product industry news. That's why a year ago, Graham Implementing a tailored approach to local areas innovations. When you do pop into your launched its informative online portal Channel is a priority at Graham, and we have worked merchant and there's lots of Point of Sale or Graham to ensure that installers have easy access closely with suppliers and branches via customer in-branch promotions, don't ignore them. It's to updates on regulations, products and services forums, interviews and questionnaires - to make often because a merchant is trying to give the from key industry suppliers as well as absolutely sure that stock levels of the most customer a chance to try new products that could information on their local branches. requested heating spares in each region were improve on established methods. Furthermore, making the customer's life easier increased. In addition, renewables is an area that has always has to be high on the agenda. A good Installers might be surprised to learn what a grown extensively over the last few years and as example of this is Graham's easy returns policy detailed insight into a local area can result in. such, the market is flooded with a wide range of on heating spares for boilers - a first of its kind For example, during the recent holiday season, innovations. One of the very latest is the range of from a plumbers' merchant. With the addition of the Graham branch in Gateshead launched a Thermodynamic Atmospheric Energy Panels, a security seal, customers can purchase all the new service for caravan engineers and owners; which can generate 100% of hot water and items they think will be required for a job - then supplying and delivering Morco caravan spares – heating requirements all year round. bring back any unused items for a full credit and saving them time and money during the busy Thermodynamic panels do not rely on the sun with no charge applied. season. The decision was made to implement the but instead absorb heat energy from the Services such as E-Invoicing can also make a offering after Graham completed research around atmosphere, meaning they continue working even real difference when it comes to saving valuable the Northumberland area and found a real need at night. This type of product can offer installers a time, allowing subscribers to download and view for a spare parts service. viable alternative to solar thermal. their invoices quickly and securely, meaning no Making sure you have easy access to the right Merchants are ideally placed to offer unbiased more waiting for documents through the post. products is key but time will always be an advice on a range of different technologies, and as Installers need to be able to rely on a merchant equally important issue. Any unnecessary such, installers interested in making in-roads into that knows their local area well and that can offer downtime can be a problem for installers, as renewables should make sure they draw on the immediate and easy access to a wide range of when you are not working, you are not earning expertise only a merchant can offer. traditional and renewable products, as well as the and this is not good news for a tradesman - A merchant also needs to recognise that advice and guidance to ensure a successful and tough economic times or not. That's why it's guidance can be offered through a variety of compliant project. At the same time, all good to know you can rely on not just one means - not necessarily just across the counter in customers are going to want a merchant that is branch - but a family of branches all working branch. Sometimes there is simply not the fair and easy to deal with, otherwise realistically - together to get you the parts that you need. opportunity to spend much time in branch and they will simply take their business elsewhere. 40 OCTOBER 2012 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY enquiry number 128


HPM October 2012
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