Triumphant Gala Dinner for NMBS

Posted on 15 Apr 2019

Triumphant Gala Dinner for NMBS

NMBS members and suppliers united on the eve of the 2019 NMBS Exhibition for the annual NMBS Gala Dinner and a night of networking, fantastic entertainment and fine dining.

The event on Tuesday 9th April saw more than 600 people join NMBS in the Premier Lounge of the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, representing businesses from across the entire industry.

After a drinks reception and the chance for some informal networking, guests were invited to dinner and welcomed by host Pete Graves, a well-known TV presenter. Graves, who joined Sky Sports News in 2009, presents live football and rugby union events, as well as delivering sports headlines on Sky News.


Pete then introduced NMBS Managing Director Chris Hayward, who updated the assembled guests on the buying society’s performance in the last 12 months.


NMBS – the UK’s largest buying society for independent builders’, plumbing and heating, timber and hardware merchants – enjoyed a record year during 2018, with 5% growth raising its turnover to £1.78 billion. This growth resulted in a record rebate of £78.6 million being paid out, an increase in value terms of £6.5 million. The buying society welcomed a record 94 new members during the year, and now has a total of 1,150 independent merchant members.


In his speech Chris urged the members and suppliers to make it a record NMBS Exhibition the following day. He said: “Our primary aim is to help our members compete more effectively with their larger plc competitors. So therefore we are really pleased to report we had a record year for NMBS in 2018. What was really pleasing was that last year we came very close to paying out an additional £2 million in exhibition rebate – with approximately £1.7m paid in 2018. Let’s hope we can beat that figure tomorrow and reach the £2 million threshold for the first time.”


Chris also thanked the evening’s table sponsors and main Gala Dinner sponsor Makita, before highlighting some of the key initiatives that NMBS delivered in 2018.


“In co-operation with the major independent buying groups and the larger independents, we invested early in 2018 in the creation of our first online order portal, to enable our members to place orders electronically with suppliers for the first time,” he said.


“This was fundamental to us being able to agree a deal with Worcester Bosch for invoicing through NMBS, following the demise of BCG. We would like to thank Worcester Bosch for all their hard work in working with us, and for giving us the appetite to start down this new route.


“The online order portal has continued to be developed and improved throughout the year, with a handful of other suppliers added, and we can now give order acknowledgements and delivery notes on demand.


“This is a strategic focus for the future development of NMBS and we aim to continue to build on this early success, to offer a full online B2B trading portal for our suppliers and members in the future. Early signs are that this will be transformational for our sector, in both driving down operational costs and increasing the ability for members and suppliers to buy and sell more product.”


Spellbinding entertainment

Following a sumptuous three-course meal, guests were treated to after-dinner entertainment from former footballer and football manager Harry Redknapp.

 Harry played over 300 professional games for football clubs including West Ham and Bournemouth, before shooting to stardom as a football manager. He won the FA Cup with Portsmouth, won the League Cup with Spurs before guiding them into the Champions League, and was named Manager of the Season in 2010. Since hanging up his football boots he has become a TV star and household name, after winning last year’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here and being named King of the Jungle.

 After posing for hundreds of selfies with the assembled guests, Harry joined Pete on stage to talk about his time in football and, more recently, his emergence as a TV star.


 “What a crowd!” he said as he came on stage. “I’ve had a good night, and even met Neil Finn, who made his debut as a professional footballer at West Ham when I was there in a match against Manchester City. He did fantastic at West Ham and he now works in your industry.”


 Harry joined West Ham at the age of 15, inspired by his father. “My dad was a fantastic non-league player,” he said. “He should have been a professional, he could really play and he was football crazy, so I grew up with it. My dad worked in the docks all his life, so I was either going to work in the docks or be a footballer. Football was my ambition, obviously, but if I hadn’t made it I’d have worked in the docks.


 “When I joined West Ham everybody at the club came from within a five-mile radius of the ground, and all our dad’s worked in the docks. So we all grew up and shared the same interest in life – it was an amazing time to play.”


 Harry kept the audience spellbound with some touching and very funny anecdotes about his time in football, and also offered the guests some advice that he has learned in his years as a manager.


 “Sometimes as a manager you have to go with the flow. It’s like in your business – a lot of you are managers and I think people respond to being told well done better than being told what they can’t do. That’s my big belief in life. We all love it – when you’ve done a good job, and you’re a leader and you say to someone ‘hey, you’ve done a good job there’, we all feel 10 feet tall, I don’t care who you are. Anybody – the one who makes the tea, the groundsman, everybody - and as a manager we’re the same. If the Chairman comes up and says ‘Hey Harry, well done, you’re doing fantastic for us’, we love it. So that’s what I would say to everybody. People will respond more to being told what they can do, to being told what they can’t do.”


 While taking questions from Pete and from the audience, Harry was asked about his nephew, top England midfielder Frank Lampard.


 He said: “Frank was an amazing trainer – the best I’ve ever come across. I’ve never met anybody with an attitude like him, he just trained every single afternoon. After training he’d be up in the training ground on his own and spend two more hours practicing, he just wanted to be a player.


 “In the end, he and Gerrard were the best box-to-box players in the country; it just proves that if the attitude is right and you want to do it bad enough, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.”


  Giving something back

During the evening, guests were asked to take part in a raffle, sponsored by Makita, to win a bundle of Apple prizes worth more than £1,000. All the money raised during the night would go to construction industry charity CRASH, which supports homelessness charities and hospices with life-changing building projects, creating safe places for people who are in need.

 The charity harnesses the skills of the construction and property industries to improve hostels, day centres, shelters and accommodations for agencies that work directly with the homeless.


 CRASH provides support in three ways, by offering on-site professional expertise, by sourcing building materials free of charge through its patron companies, and also by awarding cash grants. Companies who are patrons of CRASH include ACO, British Gypsum, Buildbase, Geberit, Hanson, Knauf, Lords Builders’ Merchants, and Marshalls.


 As always, guests at the Gala Dinner gave generously throughout the evening, and more than £6,000 was raised on the night.


 To view photo’s from the evening please click here.


Become an NMBS Member Become an NMBS Supplier