With the latest in the bathroom industry discussed at the recent Bathroom Manufacturer’s Association (BMA) Conference, PHPI rounds up what installers need to know.
The 2019 Bathroom & Kitchen Business Conference was hailed a resounding success by delegates, who gathered at the Carden Park Hotel, Cheshire. The conference featured a programme of speakers on a range of topics, all aimed at providing valuable information about how to achieve business success during the challenging and uncertain times that prevail.
With a running theme of ‘Brave New World’, topics included law and compliance, the potential implications of Brexit and a look at the existing and developing trends within the sector.
Keep in line
Incoming BMA CEO Tom Reynolds laid out bold plans to tackle non-compliance in the bathroom industry at a Compliance Seminar, held the day before the Conference.
Tom promised that the BMA was determined to ramp up the noise on the compliance issue, educating consumers and stakeholders as well as lobbying government in order to break through the myths and lack of understanding about the level of non-compliance.
“We will make our voices heard so that we can create a level playing field and eradicate those that continue to flout the law and put end users at risk,” said Tom.
The seminar included a preview of a new online tool developed in partnership with Keele University, designed to demystify what it means to be compliant. The tool is aimed primarily at professionals within the bathroom industry, including installers, guiding them through a process that will help to identify what is required to confirm compliance.
“The initiatives we have announced will play an important role in helping us drive forward the compliance agenda,” added Tom. “We will also be raising awareness with a series of workshops and seminars, aimed at installers and other stakeholders, so that they better understand their responsibilities and can support our campaign.
Kate Trotter, Head of Trends at Inside Trends, discussed how technology can feel daunting to the kitchens and bathrooms industry, yet can actually play into the hands of installers looking to grow their businesses.
Through social media channels and e-newsletters, it is now easier than ever for manufacturers to directly communicate with professional installers. Many are building relationships by relaunching or developing loyalty schemes – Aqualisa and Bristan are two recent examples of this – and also by giving installers access to website builders, where links between the brand and professional can continue to grow.
While this has obvious benefits to the manufacturer, Kate indicated that installers should be looking to develop relationships with favoured brands, which can result in incentives, kickbacks and a much closer understanding of the products they are fitting on a daily basis.
Kate also demonstrated how the professional installer should expect business to continue to grow in the coming years. According to Inside Trends research, just 14% of consumers will buy and fit bathroom products themselves, while this is expected to drop ever further. With many more rented properties, tenants and landlords are unlikely to have the interest or time to fit products, turning to trained installers, instead.
A ‘Brave New World’ it may be, but it would appear that bathroom manufacturers and consumers will continue to place a great deal of emphasis on installers as we enter 2020.