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10 MINUTES WITH: STEVE DAVIES National Sales Manager for Resellers, Häfele UK


What is your current role and how long have you been doing it?


My current role is National Sales Manager for Resellers for Häfele UK. It’s a new position which I officially started at the beginning of this year following changes in our business to put a greater focus on supporting builders merchants.


What does your role entail? As part of my role, I work with our builders merchant customers to develop their fittings offer for trade customers. In particular, I’ve been working with businesses to improve their kitchen showroom presence as more merchants begin to recognise the opportunity that having a showroom brings to their bottom line. Day to day, I’m in contact with our merchant partners, managing our relationships and ensuring they have the product portfolio they need, and work to help Häfele to increase its market penetration in merchants across the UK.


How did you get started in this industry? joined Häfele fresh out of college in 1982. I’m now Häfele’s longest serving employee, something I’ve very proud of. It’s my first and only job, which I think says a lot about the business.


What roles were you doing before and how did they prepare you for this one? I started as an apprentice in the transport and buying department before later moving to buying and then a product management role. There I became more involved with big accounts and suppliers to the kitchen trade. In this role, I found my love of working with major accounts such as Kingfisher, and spotted an opportunity for us to work better with these companies. Many of these merchants were creating kitchen showrooms that rivalled the high street and it was clear that by working closely together, there was the chance for a mutually beneficial relationship. After this, I helped found the National Trade and Retail department in 2018 and then this year moved to head of our Reseller team where I’m now responsible for a team of five.


What would you like to achieve in the role? I’d like to support the growth of Häfele and the expansion of our relationship with builders merchant. I feel that merchants have only recently woken up to the opportunity kitchens present but one kitchen sale equates to bucket loads of sand and cement in terms of margin. I


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want to help more merchant businesses realise this potential.


What has been the highlight of your career? Being at Häfele for 38 plus years and having involvement in a number of roles is definitely a highlight. And then having the chance to start and develop our merchant offer and manage a team is something I’m also very proud of.


What do you see as the main issues for the construction industry at the moment? Evolving and changing to the new world is definitely a big issue in merchanting and the wider construction industry at present. Whether it’s Brexit or COVID-19, we have to accept we’re operating in a different environment now, and then adapt. Supply is an issue we know many merchants – and in turn their customers – are having to cope with at present. Like so many other businesses, it’s something we too have had to overcome. As we stock around 25,000 products, we’ve had to be close to the market, making sure we have the right products and in the right quantities. Fortunately, we have a huge distribution operation that has allowed us to maintain continuity of supply as much as possible. We’ve also adapted by developing new services such as a Lighting Design Service, Sliding Door Gear Specification Service and a Bespoke Timber Drawer service that help busy tradespeople.


What piece of advice would you give yourself at the start of your career? I think I’d tell myself don’t sweat the small stuff. And to learn a language.


What keeps you busy at the weekends? Nowadays – running and mostly watching rugby and cricket. In normal circumstances I love to go to a gig and you can’t beat a few beers at the local.


If you’re at the bar – what are you drinking? It would have to be real ale.


What’s your favourite book? Favourite film? “My favourite book…that’s a tricky one. Anything factual. I love learning about the Roman Empire and British Monarchy. My favourite film would be Quadrophenia.”


If you could be a superhero, what super- power would you choose?


The power to ensure that everyone has a little less conversation and a lot more action. BMJ


ON THE MOVE


• Keyline Civils Specialist, has strengthened its senior leadership team, with the appointment of David Rudd as national sales director, Chris Woollard as commercial director, Jon Pitman as finance director and Vicki Evans in a new dedicated role as head of human resources. Rudd was recently regional sales manager at Travis Perkins and has worked at Keyline in branch leadership positions. Woollard joins the team from CCF, where he was also commercial director. Pitman was head of commercial finance at Wickes.


• Landscaping


supplier Digby Stone has announced that Vicky Piercy has been appointed national sales manager to head up its external sales function.


Piercy was previously at Pavestone.


• Arbor Forest Products has expanded its Trex business unit with the appointment of Marie Ennals as marketing manager.


• Fernox, has announced the appointment of Charel Marais as the new European Commercial Director.


• Bruce McKay has been appointed as managing director of BSW Timber Solutions Limited, formerly SCA Wood UK, following five years in his post as Supply Chain


and Procurement Director. Lynsey Pace has been promoted from HR Manager to HR Director and joins Alan Mills, Finance Director for the BSW Timber Solutions division, Mike Lomas, BSW Group Operations Director, and Mike Faulkner, BSW Group Sales Director, as the newly formed Board of Directors.


www.buildersmerchantsjournal.net April 2021


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