Buying Group Profile: NBC

David Lunt is the managing director of NBC

What sets NBC apart from other buying groups?
The first answer is ownership – all members are shareholders with full voting rights. But it is the culture that sits behind ownership that makes the difference. A strong feeling of belonging and wanting and able to make a difference to what we do. The second answer is sticking to the basics; our members want access to suppliers, products and fair pricing. We are not and never will be the biggest buying group in the country, but we will work passionately for what our members need. The third and final answer is NDN – our centralised warehousing and logistics solution that works well for both members and our supplier partners.

How does the management structure at NBC work?
We have strong governance in place to administer our shareholder agreement. We have a board of directors of which three are always members so that we do not lose touch with the daily life of being a member. We also have an independent advisory director to provide objectivity. And the day to day business for the group is undertaken by the Managing Director, myself. So a fairly tight, experienced and capable team that work well together. And when we need to involve members, we do just that. Collaboration and Transparency – that is how we work together.

What does NBC offer to smaller suppliers looking to get into the wholesale sector?
A collaborative approach to understand what they are trying to achieve, and of course NDN. We have subject matter experts in the group to provide great advice. We offer two solutions from NDN – Order to Cash or Products for Resale. Order to Cash has proved very popular with new and emerging brands that do not want to get into opening numerous new accounts and are realistic about what minimum order quantities should be when launching new brands. “Here at GB Brands we have found using NDN as an order to cash service of great benefit to the brands we represent, where all invoices are centralised making the accounting process very easy for smaller companies wishing to grow through the independents channel,” says Mark Turner of GB Brands.

Read more: NBC reports growth at AGM

How does NBC’s collaborative and unified approach to trading work?
Put simply it works very well – we are trusted by our members to get the priorities right and by our suppliers for delivering on our promises. We put in place annual terms and promotional plans which are transparent to both parties. And we review the outcomes and are very happy to reshape what we do to do the basics well for members – access to suppliers, products and fair pricing. At the end of the day brands want to be available at consumer points of purchase or consumption and we do just that.

Why should wholesalers choose NBC as their buying group?
It really depends upon the needs and motivation of the wholesaler. If it is about access to suppliers, products and fair pricing then we provide that. If it is about being an integral part of the journey through ownership, then we are truly the only group that provides that. If it is about having access to several hundred services that they may never use, then we might not be the right choice. But we know that the first two reasons will always Top Trump the last one!

What is the long-term strategy of NBC?
Our short-term goal is all about access – the majority of our current effort is here. After that, developing what we can do for the holy trinity of member, supplier and group and we have recruited to provide this. After that, be realistic about the scale of business that we could have so we do the basics well and not get ahead of ourselves and fail to deliver against our promises.


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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via and 07960935659.


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