Expert for Website and Product Data Management Solutions

Andy Scothern

Managing Director

profile

As an award-winning website entrepreneur, Andy has become one of the most authoritative digital commentators for the construction materials distribution industry with regular articles in the trade press as well as being a presenter at events run by the BMF, NMBS and UFEMAT. After designing the BMF’s CPD-approved course on digital transformation and trading online, Andy has delivered this to numerous merchants and suppliers over the past few years.

Having started his career as a joiner and builder, Andy has combined this valuable first-hand experience with working in technology, both in and out of the industry, to digitise numerous global brands. It was this rare combination of skills that led to his appointment as Director of Digital for Jewson before starting his own company, eCommonSense.

His global perspective of digitalisation across a range of sectors has helped Andy show the construction supply industry what ‘good’ looks like in the field of technology. Andy’s experience is something that will be ever more critical as merchants emerge into the post coronavirus economy.

eCommonSense

eCommonSense provides award-winning eCommerce and product management software to the building merchant and materials supplier industry.

It is the only website solution tailored specifically for the industry that can translate the branch business model online with all the additional functionality you would expect to find in a physical branch and includes an integrated product database.

Currently using the platform are many of the most innovative and well-respected merchants such as Haldane Fisher, Lords, JT Dove, TJ O’Mahoney, Collier & Catchpole, Interline, Kellaway, BPS and many more.

The merchant-specific functionality adds value for merchants, suppliers and customers by improving efficiency, saving time and increasing sales.

Visit: www.ecommonsense.com 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/ecommonsense/

Twitter: @e_CommonSense

eCommonSense Comment: Q4 2020

Andy Scothern, Managing Director eCommonSense is BMBI’s Expert for Website & Product Data Management Solutions.

Finally, there are signs with the vaccine roll-out that we are coming out the other side. This will create much-needed hope for many builders’ merchants. So what should merchants be doing to emerge in the strongest shape possible and take advantage of the opportunities to make sure that their business thrives during 2021?

Research and case studies examining recent recessions and their impacts on companies help provide the answers. The most interesting findings focus on four areas of difference between success and failure: debt, decision making, workforce management, and digital transformation. The main message running through all of them is that recessions are a high-pressure exercise in change management and those that emerge the strongest need to be flexible and ready to adjust.

During the recessions of 1980, 1990, and 2000, a Harvard Business Review article* showed how 9% of companies didn’t just recover in the following three years, they flourished, outperforming competitors by at least 10% in sales and profit growth. The reason was down to one factor: preparation. Firms that made contingency plans or thought through the possible scenarios, fared best. Those who make deep cuts and switch to survival mode in recession are the slowest to recover.

History shows that downturns encourage the adoption of new technologies, but many merchants are asking if they should invest in new digital technologies when money is tight? One reason is that digital makes companies more agile and therefore better able to handle uncertainty. For merchants, digital creates more flexibility around product and volume changes and, importantly, it opens new markets.

One example that supports this strategy has been the emergence of strong growth in retail spend which is predicted to continue with many households holding excess cash for home improvements as they get ready for the post-lockdown party. Most of this spend has come through online and those with high-performing, optimised eCommerce operations have fared the best.

McKinsey warns that investment in digital transformation can create wide performance gaps between companies. Merchants who fail to invest in digital transformation may find those gaps insurmountable.