Wolseley UK has announced a major programme to transform the way it serves its customers following a wide-ranging review of its plumbing and heating operations.
The plan will result in “significant headcount reductions and branch closures within the business”. Figures of 80 branches across the UK and up to 800 redundancies have been put been given as early estimates.
Wolseley said it is too early to provide details of which branches will close, either by region or brand identity but will work through this in the coming weeks and inform staff during the consultation process.
The change in direction for Wolseley is based on “a deep understanding of what its customers value and what makes them successful,” “maintaining and growing its specialist expertise” and “delivering a step change in its operational efficiency and consistency.”
The transformation plan and £100 million investment is designed to make Wolseley UK the first choice specialist for trade customers offering a leaner, more efficient operating model, which will significantly improve service levels, product availability and choice.
Its civils, utilities and infrastructure businesses in the UK are unaffected by the review.
Wolseley will also provide a further £40 million of incremental investment over the next three years in newly refurbished branches.
A local network of 450 branches will offer local expertise across a broad range of product categories, while a network of 80 larger branches, will provide in-depth expertise in all areas.
Overall, the reorganisation will take two to three years to complete and is expected to deliver annualised cost savings of £25 to £30 million.
Patrick Headon, managing director, said: “I’m confident the transformation programme will drive better customer service and employee engagement and improve our financial returns.
“The trends in our profitability have been disappointing and we need to take action to improve our customer proposition and the efficiency of our business. We have an outstanding team and we are very conscious of the impact this transformation will have on some. We are committed to carrying out this programme as sensitively as possible, using voluntary means to achieve the proposed headcount.”