By NZHJ April 12, 2019 Industry news

Some 13 years since its inception, the BuildLink cooperative and associated brands are currently working through some changes and new developments designed to reinforce its position in the market.

ABOVE: The BuildLink team (L-R): Michelle Brooking (Marketing); Aaron Marevich (Ops Manager); Kevin Marevich (Executive Director); Megan Cheshire (Financial Controller); Kent Pollard; and Greg Hall (Eva Communications).


This time last year, BuildLink was talking about as yet “unannounced initiatives that would take the co-op to the next stage in its development”.

Having heard about recent changes to the membership and at Support Office, to find out what’s afoot, we caught up with BuildLink Executive Director and founder, Kevin Marevich.

In terms of the people changes, we can confirm Aaron Marevich as BuildLink’s new Operations Manager and that Michelle Brooking has stepped up to take on the marketing lead.

Plus, underlines Kevin Marevich: “We also have the right systems in place and I certainly haven’t lost my grasp on the business…”

What else is in the pipeline?

The Board having initiated the first part of the process towards EDI some 12-18 months ago, now the co-op needs to “take it to the next level” and start connecting suppliers to the hub and from there implement central billing.

EDI and central billing will bring real-time information that will enable BuildLink to “make better decisions more quickly” – not to mention speeding up the rebate process and improving cash flow!

“EDI will give us a position in the market equal to our competitors,” says Kevin Marevich. “The only way for the organisation to be really efficient is for everyone to be connected.”

Having said that, recognising that BuildLink’s diverse range of members are “proud to be independents”, although the co-op wants to be seen as “one group, one volume and one cheque”, for which general buy-in is crucial, some flexibility will be called for.

Having talked to a range of members and suppliers about what’s coming, Kevin says he’s “in pretty good heart” but he’s also clear that this is “a watershed period” for the organisation: “It’s time for us to step up – we’re not going to sit where we are to be picked off,” he says determinedly.

As to progress towards these developments so far, he says: “Reaction has been favourable. We’re getting good support but we know we still have work to do talking to members and suppliers about how where we see BuildLink going and how that will work.

“We will be spending any amount of time we need to at our conference in Rotorua [slated for Thursday 30 May, not late April as it says our May magazine] to convince the members that this is the right move for our cooperative.”

Armed with the experience from his years at ITM, Kevin Marevich is under no illusions about the importance of these developments: “If we don’t move forward as a group and ‘take it to the next level’ then I believe we leave ourselves open to be picked off.

“That cannot happen, so we need to change.”

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