For Issue 5 of Keystone Group’s Merchant Margin Maker, we sat down with Keystone to tell them more about IBC and the key role it plays in the independent merchant market.
What is the Independent Buying Consortium?
The Independent Buying Consortium (IBC) is a Buying Group created to support independent builders’ merchants in the construction sector.
IBC was established in 2008 and, over the past 11 years, we have firmly established ourselves as a leading buying group dedicated to creating partnerships of strength and value with our stakeholders. We work with over 90 leading suppliers, and have more than 180 merchant members, with a combined turnover in excess of £650 million.
What makes a Buying Group successful?
To be truly successful, buying groups must support their stakeholders, negotiating strong deals for market-leading products that enable independent merchants to compete with their national plc counterparts, while retaining all the benefits that being an independent merchant brings.
Unlike some other buying groups, IBC has a dedicated team of 12 full-time staff who work tirelessly to provide all the business support and financial benefits that our members have come to expect from us over the past decade.
We put our stakeholders first, providing independent merchants with a hub of powerful marketing and business tools that a lot of our smaller merchants simply don’t have access to in their own businesses. This saves them valuable time and allows them to focus completely on running and developing their business.
What are the benefits to businesses in joining the IBC?
The merchant industry is one that has always run on relationships – whether that’s between a Branch Manager and their local Area Sales Representative, or between an independent merchant and its buying group. We firmly believe in working collaboratively with our merchants and suppliers, creating partnerships of strength and value for all sectors of the market. We are quite simply, stronger together than we are apart.
Independent merchants who join IBC have access to the best possible product deals, with a reliable supply chain that ensures they will always be able to access the stock they need.
With so many product sectors seeing goods going on allocation for varying periods of time in recent years, merchants need to be able to trust that their suppliers will prioritise them even during difficult times – something IBC members can always do.
Alongside the competitive deals that allow them to compete with the national merchants, our members receive financial rebates on all the products they purchase through us, as well as exclusive access to short-term promotional deals and special offers.
What do you look for from a Supplier to IBC?
Our suppliers are leading manufacturers who understand the considerable strengths independent merchants bring to the construction industry. We work closely with our suppliers to bring our merchants credible prices, reliability of stock and market-leading products. In return our suppliers have access to a group of like-minded merchants with considerable purchasing power in excess of £650 million.
What’s next for the IBC?
This is a really exciting time for the IBC Buying Group. In May, we welcomed Dave Robertson to join our Board as Commercial Director, working alongside fellow Commercial Director Paul Read, and Strategy and Finance Director Kishor Harsiani. Between them, they have many years’ experience in the construction & merchant industry and are ideally placed to take IBC to the next level as we cement our reputation as the leading buying group for independent merchants.
Over the past year, we have reviewed how we could become an even better business partner to our stakeholders. We knew there was room for improvement for IBC to become a low-cost, fit-for-purpose organisation that would allow us to return more rebate to members, and to offer them even more business support.
We made the decision to restructure our business around four functional pillars – Membership, Commercial, Finance & Data, and Marketing. Each pillar works collectively to help us build on our foundation of strategic themes that are common to all our stakeholders: Partnership, Strength and Value.
After spending 12 months reviewing and updating our processes and procedures, we are now bringing a more efficient offering to the market. A new and informative IBC Members’ Portal means our merchants can now access their account information much faster, helping them keep better track of their purchases, payments and rebate benefits.
The data management we offer our members helps them to make better business decisions and to take advantage of all the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. Members are also enjoying more rebate through increased purchases of IBC deals, as we roll out more promotions and loyalty schemes.
For more information on the benefits IBC can offer, visit www.ibcbuyinggroup.com or call 020 3195 7957.