Consumables : Van sales advantage of Combined Masonry Supplies

by Richard Chandler, Managing Director, Combined Masonry Supplies

On the consumables side we find it’s all about service and reliability rather than cutting edge innovation. With the heavier items, such as glue, we have looked at importing an alternative, budget line from China but veered away at the last moment. There is not enough saving to be able to offer a significant enough price reduction to offset the risk of the product being inferior or inconsistent. The Italian Jolly brand we sell is consistent, is not ‘padded out’ with filler and it is extremely rare for us to have problems.

I am glad we stuck with the van sales model through the recession. There is a price to pay, obviously, even though new vans are becoming cheaper, but it means we can see our customers in their factories.

We need to stay focused on the small operator. Similarly, we never abandoned the monumental masons when the worktop market grew, which means that paints, brushes, aluminium flower containers, etc, are of great importance to us.

In some cases, however, we do have expertise to offer the larger operator. Abressa polishing wheels are a case in point. This is a second generation agency for CMS and, as original equipment supplier to Commanduli, it wouldn’t be unfair to suggest Abressa is a world leading supplier of conventional abrasives.