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BuildLink General Manager, Mike Bishop, was well pleased with the turnout at this year’s event, the result of months of hard graft by the BuildLink team: “It was definitely a step up from last year” he says.
“A lot more members brought Senior staff along, which is something we really pushed – we feel it’s vital that Senior Managers understand the BuildLink business model and the relationships we have with suppliers.”
The first day’s tradeshow saw 50+ big and small businesses – across products and services – showing off the best they had to offer. This also provided plenty of opportunity for members to meet and catch up, another aspect of the event that Mike Bishop feels is a major draw card for attendees.
“The format really offers a rare opportunity to network with each other in an open environment so they can compare and talk openly about their successes as well as the things that haven’t worked so well over the year. With the market so buoyant, timing was perfect for the group to gather and discuss future plans,” he says.
ON WITH BUSINESS
Day two saw the event enter conference mode with talks given by senior BuildLink leaders and presentations from major suppliers Valspar and Hitachi as well as guest speakers.
A highlight for many attendees was NZ Hardware Journal regular columnist Peter Cox’s “Strategies for more Profit” presentation. Elaborating on many of the ideas found in his regular column in this magazine, Cox encouraged store owners to take a good hard look at their stock, staff and services before touching their prices.
Peter Cox was followed by Bruce Couper, Co-Director of security and risk management consultancy firm Risq Ltd. His talk on loss prevention went over some of the basic reasons that losses occur, explained the methods available to identify suspected losses and culminated in an action plan for store owners to create a culture of loss prevention in their business.
TAKE HOMES AND STRATEGIES
So now that it’s all wrapped up, what did people take away from the event?
“I’ve had excellent feedback from both members and suppliers on this year’s conference,” reports Mike Bishop. “They particularly valued the guest speakers that we had and definitely took away some good strategies to implement in their business to increase profit.”
The BuildLink group has also emerged stronger after the event.
“We definitely picked up a few new suppliers to the group once they saw our scale and how we operate, so that was very positive,” Bishop says.
“And, for our existing members, because we’ve had a few changes within our industry, the event helps reinforce what we do for our members in terms of the flexibility that we offer.”
Here’s looking to 2015 for the BuildLink Group!
AND THE WINNER IS…
The 2014 BuildLink Conference ended in style on Friday night with an award ceremony sponsored by Valspar and Ampelite celebrating the best BuildLink members and suppliers of the last year.
NZ Hardware Journal’s own Martin Griffiths was there taking photos on the night which also featured stand-up from that other well-known Westie, comedian Ewen Gilmore as the special guest of the night.
Here are all the nominees and winners in their relevant categories: