‘Stock up or you’ll fail on contracts,’ dealers warned

Bathroom retailers and suppliers involved in contract work have revealed the key points to remember when dealing with developers.

Speaking at a special round table event chaired by kbbreview, David Pochin, managing director of Pochin in Leicester, warned dealers that rather than relying on referrals, contract work should mean “building bridges, forging relationships and convincing developers you have the right USP to benefit them”.

Toby Hoyle, managing director of DW Burns in Surrey, stressed the importance of having a specialist account manager rather than trying to merge the retail and contract sides of the business. “They need to be extremely organised and methodical and look after a job from start to finish,” he said. “That’s why people buy from us because they know they can phone their account manager, at any time, for an answer to an urgent question.”

Charlie Patton, managing director of T Patton, which has two showrooms in the South-East, said “scaling-up” was the only way to maintain the business in the contracts sector. “If you enter the sector without putting that infrastructure in place, you won’t be able to hold on to it,” he said. “The organisation of a project, and running the job to schedule, is the most difficult part of the whole process. So, having someone organised who’s responsible for it all, is essential. Then, obviously, we’re set up to be able to hold a lot of stock in for developers, so that we have it here, ready for them, as and when they need it.”

Also attending the round table was Roca UK managing director Alan Dodds, who agreed that stock control was key to running a successful contract operation. “Many retailers will say they want to get involved in contracts work, but they have to understand that they cannot service that market without holding stock,” he said. “Even with small contracts. If a retailer attempts to service a contracts deal without holding sufficient stock, it will end in tears.”

However, Hoyle warned that holding too much stock could also be a problem. “For us, the challenge is sometimes the opposite of having stock in place,” he said. “We struggle with people taking their goods at times. We could have large orders sat in the warehouse for a very long time, as a direct consequence of trying to stay ahead of the supply chain.”

Pictured above, left to right: Toby Hoyle, Charlie Patton, David Pochin and Alan Dodds

  • To read the full round table, see the June issue of kbbreview, pgs 82-86
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