The cream of the province’s builder’s providers were honoured at the fifth Octabuild Builders Merchant Awards for Northern Ireland, which took place in April. Not for the first time, Murdock’s Newry branch (Newry Building Supplies) were amongst the winners, this time taking home the prestigious Business Focus Award. Building Ireland contacted Manager Colm Campbell to find out more
Every year, the Octabuild Builders Merchant Awards are organised by market-leading building material manufacturers Gyproc, Dulux Paints, Glennon Brothers, Kingspan Insulation, Sanbra Fyffe, Tegral and Wavin. This year’s awards were presented to outstanding businesses in six distinct categories, with Murdock’s Newry branch recognised for its brilliance in Business Focus.
On presentation night, awards judge James Burke was fulsome in his praise of the high standard of excellence found among all the builder’s merchants honoured, describing all the winners as exceptionally well-run businesses, while Octabuild chairman Declan Smyth pointed out how the Octabuild companies had come together to promote the supply of quality products and to highlight the benefit of dealing with merchants who operate well-managed business and who believe in providing a quality service.
Newry Building Supplies has been in business for 36 years and is part of Murdock Builders Merchants Group, a leading independent supplier of timber and building materials in Northern Ireland and Dublin. The group boasts 13 branches plus four specialist divisions (Murdock Trusses & Space Joists, Cranwood Industries, Cranwood Carcassing and Murdock Civils).
Its business is built on strong relationships and it prides itself on exceptional customer service and providing a quality service at the right price to its ever-growing customer base across both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Newry Building Supplies caters for all types of projects, from extensions, renovations and self builds to large commercial jobs.
“It’s always great to be recognised at these awards,” Manager Colm Campbell commented shortly after receiving the Business Focus Award on behalf of his colleagues. “Any award is a cherry on top of all the work you put in, so it’s very much appreciated.”
The award acknowledges the lengths to which the team at Newry goes on a consistent basis to ensure that customers receive the best products and the highest levels of customer service. This wasn’t the first time NBS was recognised at the Octabuild Awards – in 2016, they won the Innovation Award – a worthy commendation for their innovative use of the delivery fleet to promote their business.
Of course, while all awards are meritorious in their own right, there’s something particularly impressive about receiving the Business Focus accolade as it is a clear endorsement of the business’ strategic approach and careful path plotting going forward…
“It was great to follow up this year with the Business Focus Award,” Colm continues. “Like all branches in the Murdock Builders Merchants group, Newry Building Supplies has a clear strategy in place. There’s a business focus in all the branches and through the group as a whole but the award underlines what we are trying to do here in Newry, that we are doing things the right way. We pride ourselves on our focus, our customer service and the large volume of repeat business we receive. The fact that we won an award in this area is great and it cements our status as a customer-focussed business.
“Having said that, we’re not sitting around patting ourselves on the back. You get the award up on the wall and you make a fresh start every Monday morning and do your best to deliver on behalf of your customers.”
Indeed, this award is a massive fillip to the group as a whole, especially considering that Newry Building Supplies was the original Murdock Builders Merchants outlet… After starting life as Newry Building Supplies, Murdock Builders Merchants has grown organically over the decades and is now recognised as a leading supplier of building materials and timber in the Irish marketplace.
The other twelve branches are located at Ballymount, Balbriggan and Kilbarrack in Dublin; Castlereagh, Duncrue and Kennedy Way in Belfast; Banbridge; Derry; Dungannon; Newtownards; Enniskillen; and Lisburn. Meanwhile, also within the group, Cranwood Industries (Warrenpoint) specialises in machined timber and cladding while Murdock Trusses & Space Joists and Cranwood Carsassing are conveniently located on the same site as Newry Building Supplies.
“Newry Building Supplies is where it all began and that’s why we have kept our name,” Colm continues. “We’re on a four-and-a-half-acre site here which includes Newry Building Supplies as well as Cranwood Carcassing, the truss division and the group head office. It’s a bonus to have those divisions literally next door as we can obviously get those materials in quickest.”
Direct employment is generated for a team of 25 full time, as well as Saturday and holiday staff. Providing a complete range of building materials from foundation to finish, Newry Building Supplies has a broad range of customers from large builders and main contractors to small one-man builders.
“We’re trying to widen our range of products all the time and to get them as quickly, affordably and conveniently as possible for our customers,” says Colm. “We’ve built up strong relationships with contractors who do the big commercial and residential jobs. We have worked with them closely and have grown hand in hand with them.
“But we also keep a close eye on the local builders and the self-build guys, who are also a big part of it. We value every customer, large or small and we held a special Self Build Day in the store on Saturday, May 5th to demonstrate what we can offer to customers in that market and it was a big success. The DIY’ers are very important, too, and they always keep us extra busy on a Saturday.”
The catchment area covered stretches out at far as halfway to Banbridge in one direction; Strangford and Armagh; then south into Drogheda. “We also work closely with the other branches in the group so that customers can have their account managed from here but have their goods delivered from one of the other branches if it is closer to site. That way they get the same quality, only quicker.
“We operate three lorries and a small pick-up to look after deliveries and we have been extremely busy this year since the milder weather kicked in,” notes Colm. “The group has grown very strongly in the last five years – to employ more than 400 – but they continue to look to the future and at possible opportunities to service other areas through more divisions. Newry Building Supplies is a safe and secure company to work in or to deal with as a customer, with the backing of the group and an outstanding 36-year track record.”
Looking to the future, complacency won’t be creeping into Colm Campbell’s mindset, despite the recent achievements of Newry Building Supplies both in business and on the awards circuit: “We have a mixed team here of experienced staff and younger people, so we’re trying to strengthen that team all the time and to get the inexperienced personnel to develop. We’re always looking at the overall picture and trying to have all our teams working together – be that the sales team or the boys in the yard – to make sure customers get the complete service.
“As a branch, you are trying to improve all the time and this Octabuild Award reflects that,” the personable sales manager concludes. “Customer service is No.1 and I’m sure every employee in the group from No.1 to No.400 would echo that sentiment. We’re constantly talking to our customers and our suppliers to see how we can do things better. Once you get a picture of what they want, you strive at all times to meet their needs.”
That’s called award-winning Business Focus!
Newry Building Supplies,
Greenbank Industrial Estate,
Tel: 028 3026 7626
Fax: 028 3026 7666
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, September 2018, Vol 4 No 8