Persevering with passion


BLOG · BY TTF CEO David Hopkins · 1 May 2020

Calm, determined perseverance will see the trade through tough times. Fortunately merchants and timber suppliers through their passion for customer service and knowledge are known for exactly this trait.

Legendary Brazilian footballer Pele once said: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”  In these strange times, sacrifice may come first to mind, but followed swiftly by studying and learning, working hard, and, apposite for today, perseverance and a love of doing what you do.

Merchants have a passion for customer service, also for knowledge to increase that customer service, and have a well-deserved reputation for perseverance to keep things functioning as best they can in all kinds of circumstances.  Timber suppliers, too, have a passion behind what they do, persevering with availability of supply offering service, value and innovation to their customers.  In today’s uncertain world, a passion for knowledge and calm and determined perseverance are what will see us through.

Photo credit: SCA Wood UK.

Supply chain integrity is critical to the functioning of modern merchanting. With smaller yards it’s not always the case that merchants can hold a lot of stock. Relationships with suppliers are therefore critical, especially right now.  Use your TTF member supplier’s knowledge to your full advantage. They can advise beyond product types and marketing to product storage in periods of slower business or temporary shutdown.

Each timber product sku has its own storage needs, and protecting the investment in stock is paramount both to you and to your supplier. On the dedicated merchant channel at you’ll find advice on how best to protect your investment so that you’re up and running again swiftly when the situation changes.  Whether it’s MDF or solid wood mouldings, decking you may have ordered in for summer, sheet materials or carcassing, there’s advice there to help your business.  We’ve also expanded the range of useful resources for merchants, including our Panel Guide, copies of our publications and our monthly Timber Topics, which we produce in conjunction with the NMBS.

Pressures are building substantially throughout the construction products supply chain. Interruption to supplies of more specialist products is certainly possible:  it largely depends on where in the world they are originally produced, and the availability of ships and containers to bring them back to Blighty. It also depends on whether there is space at ports to receive incoming goods.  Rest assured that your TTF member suppliers are persevering as best they can to bring you continuity of supply.

If business is slower than usual, or if you are shutting temporarily to protect your staff, then use this time to train your team in timber topics so that they are at the top of their game when business comes back to life.  There will be an end to this crisis, and when it comes, you’ll want to be seen as the most knowledgeable merchant around, exuding a passion for a range of wood products. As the German poet Goethe succinctly put it:  in the realm of ideas, everything depends on enthusiasm…in the real world, all rests on perseverance.