2020 marks the 25th Anniversary of MKM Building Supplies Ltd, the UK’s largest independent builder’s merchant.
MKM was built on the concept that skilled, local people who understand the needs of local customers should serve the local trade. MKM is differentiated through its unique business model, centered on branch directors owning an equity stake in their branch with opportunity to share in profits. David believes empowering people and supporting their entrepreneurial spirit has been a key driver of growth.
By 2005, MKM had opened 15 branches, five years later in 2010 a further 17 branches had been opened and by 2018 MKM Building Supplies had 54 branches throughout England and Scotland – the brand new MKM Grantham marks their 70th branch.
Executive Chairman, David Kilburn says: “As for any fledging business, in the early days orders are everything. And, after closing our first month with a trading profit and haven taken a healthy £123,000 – I am delighted to say 25 years later, we have never been short of orders and never looked back. Since day one, our company culture has always been very people focused, how we treat people has remained exactly the same. Every single person is important no matter what their role … our people are our biggest asset.
“Technology and the digital age have of course altered things, but our teams still do the majority of business either over the trade counter or on the phone. That may change in years to come, but essentially people buy from people. Relationships are key, our customers trust us to deliver quality products with great service as their own businesses rely on it – our teams appreciate that and make customers the priority. More so than any other industry, this is a people business and good relationships are the absolute bedrock of that business.”
Today, MKM Building Supplies employs over 1650 people and last year recorded sales of over £460 million. Already this year MKM has opened its 70th branch and has ambitious growth plans to be operating 100 branches by 2021/2022.
Looking forward, MKM has an ambitious growth programme to open a further 30 branches in the next two years. David adds: “Today, we still face challenges. We have an expansive growth programme but finding good properties in good locations can be a challenge and planning applications can be very slow, which frustrates progress. Our own recipe for success, now fine-tuned over 25 years has been giving customers what they want, employing and retaining the best staff, engaging people in profit generation activities and of course having fun at work – which we certainly do!”