10 Minutes with Plumbase MD, Mark BradleyApril 13, 2018
What is your current role and how long have you been in the retail & trade industry?
My current role is Managing Director of Plumbase and I have been in the industry for 32 years, feels like only yesterday!
What does your role entail?
I enjoy taking a hands-on approach to the role and I’m regularly out and about visiting both our own branches, and of course the competition – whether retail or trade.
The feedback I receive from colleagues is very positive, and I also pick up some great ideas on how we can improve our business. I would definitely say that our people are our greatest asset.
Culturally, we focus on teamwork and togetherness at Plumbase, particularly amongst the leadership team. We aim to remain open-minded to all suggestions and ideas, as I feel that having an open and honest environment with strong connections to every local team enables us to know what’s going on in the market and how we can support our customers.
How did you get started in this industry?
My early background was in retail and I’ve brought a huge amount of the knowledge and experience from that sector across to trade. I first started to learn about trade and B2B at Dulux, straight away I realised that this is a great industry and one where you can make a huge influence in helping customers to grow their business.
What roles were you doing before and how did they prepare you for this one?
I’ve held various Sales & Operations roles at MFI, ICI Dulux, BSS, Buck & Hickman, Brammer Group and most recently Plumbase. This has given me extensive experience in the effective running of merchant businesses, but, essentially it is all about people – customers, colleagues, and suppliers; keeping this front of mind always reminds me of what the business is all about. It’s important to not let things get too complicated, as that’s when you lose sight of the customer.
What would you like to achieve in your role?
I’m ambitious and so I want to see Plumbase grow sustainably by continuously adding value to our customers through the expertise and knowledge that our people provide daily. I see this as a stand out key differentiator of all merchanting businesses.
Furthermore, a key part of ensuring continuity of the business long-term is to guarantee that we have great people on our talent and succession plans to ensure that we have the capacity within our talent pool ready to call on and fill leadership roles of the future!
I’m totally committed to recognising and developing our talented people, we have some unbelievably great people in Plumbase, with over 30% of our team having 10 years plus service.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I have been very lucky to be able to support and provide opportunities for lots of people to grow and further their careers. This is something I’m pleased to say continues to date.
In 2018 we will have several senior colleagues who will be completing business degrees with Plumbase, which will hopefully see them well on their way to becoming the business’s next generation of leaders. I’m extremely proud to be in a position to support our people so that they can reach their goals and ambitions.
What do you see as the main issues for builders, merchants and for the construction industry at the moment?
The immediate risks are around Brexit and the uncertainty around this, but of course it’s worth underlining that for every risk there is always an opportunity.
Diversity is also a challenge, merchants are behind the curve here and we need to do more to attract more young and diverse people into our businesses.
Finally, we are more vulnerable to currency fluctuations than previously as we’ve lost a large part of the UK manufacturing base over the last few decades. It would be great to see more products being manufactured here in Britain to give the right balance to UK PLC.
If you could go back to the start of your career, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Believe in yourself as confidence is crucial to success, be patient, work hard and never give up. Everyone gets a break eventually and it’s a case of recognising that opportunity, making the most of it and enjoying it!
Football, rugby, golf or gardening – which one’s more likely to keep you busy at the weekends?
Definitely football, I follow Sheffield United and I try to get to every home game. I also play quite a lot of competitive racket ball which gets me away from the laptop at weekends!
If you’re at the bar – what are you drinking?
Tap & black (Tap Water & Cordial) if working. It’s a great drink and its practically free in hotels, so you should try it! Outside of work it’s a Jack Daniels and coke, refreshing and relaxing after the cut and thrust of a busy week.
What’s your favourite book? Favourite film?
Favourite book: Animal Farm – still relevant, really simple and overall a beautiful little story. George Orwell’s books were well ahead of his time.
Favourite film: Trains, Planes and Automobiles, John Candy and Steve Martin are two legends of comedy. It’s a great film, fun and easy watching.
If you could be a superhero, what super-power would you choose?
Not quite a superhero, but I’d say John McClain from Die Hard, he has super high levels of resilience and never gives up… tenuous link I know!