At this year’s Builders’ Merchants Awards for Excellence, ACO Water Management is sponsoring the ‘Trainee of the Year’ award. The company’s sponsorship highlights ACO’s focus on the importance of training across the industry.
Surface water management is a dynamic sector. To ensure it can continue to meet the water management needs of merchant customers, ACO invests heavily in innovation, whether it be for developing new materials, new products or new manufacturing processes. Much of this development has been driven by changing customer needs – both in application and installation, as well as changes in legislation.
As a result, ACO now utilises a diverse range of materials all designed to meet a variety of applications. Materials include polymer concrete, iron, steel, plastic and Vienite, a high strength recycled material that was launched in 2008. Along with developing new materials, ACO’s innovation has included considerable development on the product side too.
For merchant customers specifically, the company offers a wide range of solutions tailored to the demands of both residential and commercial developments. Amongst its many application-specific products is RainDrain B125, a drainage system for driveways, StepDrain threshold drainage and HexDrain for landscaped areas. In addition, ACO also offers GroundGuard – a permeable ground reinforcement system that can be used to create additional parking for cars and caravans. Easy to use and install, each of the products have finish options that both complement and change the aesthetic qualities of any setting.
The company’s most recent launch is its ‘Complete the Look’ range. Improving aesthetics even further for homeowners, the range of modern drainage gratings is aimed at those with an attention to detail and looking for that perfect finish to a landscaping project. This unique surface solution, designed for use with HexDrain and RainDrain, extends the grating category, providing merchants with up-selling opportunities.
With new legislation, products and materials being introduced regularly, it is vital that merchants keep up-to-date on these areas. Training gives merchants and their staff the knowledge and confidence to sell products effectively while ensuring the products recommended are fit for purpose. This ultimately helps staff sell more, which, of course, is a financial advantage, while merchant customers will value the benefit of working with knowledgeable staff.
With this, ACO is keen to encourage training across the industry and recognises how the ‘Trainee of the Year’ is an important reward in acknowledging merchant staff who have worked hard to develop their skills to make a demonstrable contribution to their employer’s business. It also highlights the achievements of merchant businesses in helping to develop emerging talent.
To help encourage staff to take part in training, ACO understands the role manufacturers have in offering the right type of training. In answer to this, over the last 12 months, the manufacturer has invested significantly in its own training offer to the merchant sector, the ACO Academy.
Based at the company’s head office in Shefford, the Academy features a substantial product display and learning zone. Supporting this is a suite of e-learning modules, covering everything from ACO’s full product portfolio, to information on legislation and soft skills training on areas such as sales techniques. ACO also has a team in the field offering in-branch training and merchandising support, which can be tailored to the needs of an individual branch.
When creating its new training offering, flexibility, in terms of how the training is delivered, was at the heart of its development. Being able to offer such flexibility helps ensure that participants get the most out of ACO’s training with minimal disruption to the branches.
All building products, including water management solutions, are always advancing and with staff dealing with such a wide range, keeping up-to-date with these advancements can be a challenge. However, with only knowledgeable, confident staff can merchants ensure that they continue to offer the very best service to their customers and optimise sales.