One sector in particular has driven a 30 per cent revenue increase in recent times.
The Travis Perkins Group is on a growth trajectory – the numbers speak for themselves.
The company has seen its revenue grow from £4.8bn in 2012 to £6.2bn in 2016 – an increase of nearly 30 per cent.
As a result, Travis Perkins is now the UK’s biggest supplier of construction materials, both to the construction and home improvement markets, with around 100,000 different products available from more than 600 stores across the UK.
However, not all parts of the business have grown at the same rate. The tool hire division is a particular stand-out, now operating from 250 stores – and an additional 250 satellite locations – with 1,200 product lines and more than 80,000 assets available.
In just 10 years, the hire business has gone from having a revenue of just £22m to in excess of £100m – a quite astounding increase of 355 per cent.
“The growth has been phenomenal and probably outstrips most of the competition in terms of percentage growth,” says Travis Perkins group hire commercial director Yas Swindell. “We have had a massive impact and TP Hire is now well-established as a national tool hire provider.”
A key part of that growth has been down to demanding that suppliers step up to the plate and work more closely with Travis Perkins in delivering a better service. “It’s a new way of challenging suppliers and some welcome that challenge,” Mr Swindell says. “But change has to happen.”
“We cannot stand still in tool hire and keep accepting that’s all our suppliers can offer. It’s not”
Yas Swindell, Travis Perkins
He adds: “We cannot stand still in tool hire and keep accepting that’s all our suppliers can offer. It’s not. They really have to partner with us much more than they have done previously. We’re challenging every single supplier that trades with us.”
While Travis Perkins now enjoys a better relationship with the vast majority of its suppliers as a result of the initiative, it says one company stands out from the crowd. “The relationship with Hilti has been established for more than 10 years now, although I’ve known them for a lot longer,” Mr Swindell says.
“That really has ramped up over the last 12-18 months when we’ve been talking to them about issues that the business faces on a day-to-day basis and how they could look to assist us in developing different ways of doing business.”
Travis Perkins PR 300 HV2S
The evolving relationship between the two companies has resulted in a greater volume of products being available at short notice from a greater number of Travis Perkins outlets. “We have been developing new ways to bring the product into the business in volume,” Mr Swindell says. “In the last 12 months, in excess of 10,000 assets have been brought into our current network, which just allows for stock availability. Hilti now represents 20 per cent of our stock.”
Plan for the unexpected
Immediate availability is incredibly important to Travis Perkins, given that tool hire still isn’t something its customers always plan for in advance.
“It’s still very much led by them believing that those tools will be there if they walk into any of our branches across the UK,” Mr Swindell says. “Hilti has worked with us extremely well to try to alleviate that problem and to introduce product lines that we wouldn’t necessarily have done in volume previously.”
“We’ve probably got the best tool hire offering in the market today and we will extend that to even more locations”
Yas Swindell, Travis Perkins
Hilti assets now available at short notice don’t just include the sort of standard items that customers might expect to be available at short notice, but also more specialised and cutting-edge equipment. “It’s about areas such as diamond drilling, rotating lasers and certainly dust extraction,” Mr Swindell says.
He says the addition of so many product lines brings with it the issue of service and repair. “Under the terms of the agreement all service and repairs will be undertaken by Hilti at their Glasgow Service Centre, with tool collection to redelivery taking a maximum of 72 hours,” he says. “This means we can optimise our fleet accordingly.”
It isn’t just Travis Perkins that benefits from the new relationship. “Hilti benefits too, not just in terms of sales, but also education in relation to feedback from our customers, our workshops and our colleagues in branch,” Mr Swindell says. “I have to take my hat off to them – 500 stores is a huge challenge to any supplier. They have listened very carefully and formulated a plan with us. The customers have seen the benefits too.”
Now that the partnership is well established, Travis Perkins hopes that Hilti will play an important role in its next period of growth. “We’ve probably got the best tool hire offering in the market today and we will extend that to even more locations,” Mr Swindell says.
“We want to be offering hire from every location that we have over the next 12 months. Hilti is listening and responding – we can’t ask more of them than that.”