How our business works
Wolseley is a distributor, bridging the gap between over 100,000 vendors and more than 1 million customers.
We do this by bringing together a wide range of products from different vendors for our customers and by providing our vendors with cost effective access to these customers.
Business and management structure
The Group’s business falls into six geographic regions – the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, the Nordics and Central Europe.
Revenue split by region
Within each geography the Group operates a number of distinct business units with strong trading identities, including many with market leading positions in their local markets.
The Group has strong management teams in each region. Business units report on operational performance and strategic progress through regular performance review meetings with senior executives.
The business model offers opportunities for synergies to be achieved by being part of the Group. These include:
- management synergies such as sharing best practice, management development and corporate finance; and
- operating synergies in the areas of joint sourcing, own label development and the sharing of costs and infrastructure.
Business unit strategies
Business unit strategies are aligned with strategy models. Each business unit aims to grow profitability faster than the competition through gaining a greater share of its existing customers’ business and through attracting new customers. To achieve this each business unit focuses on achieving:
- best customer service;
- best branch employees; and
- preferred vendor relationships.
Underlying this, Wolseley aims to operate the most efficient operating model in the industry, ensuring its distribution activities benefit from national scale and an efficient supply chain. The business units drive operational value through gaining market share, improving productivity, expanding gross margins and improving returns and cash
The markets for plumbing and heating and building materials are directly exposed to macroeconomic cycles. In 2011/12 the Group delivered good overall financial results against a backdrop of weak demand in Continental Europe and improved market conditions in USA and Canada. Although our markets are cyclical, the business model is strong and it is underpinned by demographic trends towards ageing populations and smaller households and by the ageing of housing stocks. Our businesses sell to customers ranging across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. The exposure to each market differs by geography and by business unit.
Revenue by market sector