The merchant’s yard has traditionally acted as a buffer between contractor and manufacturer, allowing small sites to be serviced locally and larger sites to start at short notice, drawing initial quantities out of yard stock. Merchants have historically dealt with the initial impact of upswings in market demand, allowing manufacturers the time to revise production schedules and increase manning. But all bets are now off. With lots of merchants’ yards having destocked since the 2008 downturn and manufacturers of bricks and blocks quoting ever longer lead times, sites are going to have to be better organised than ever to meet their 2014 construction programmes. Edward Naylor, Chief Executive Naylor Industries Plc