Supplies of a wide range of goods to the UK has been challenging over the past few months. This has been caused primarily by the effects of Covid-19 which has disrupted supply chains and altered demand in an unpredictable manner. Brexit has been an additional complication especially form supplies coming from the EU and not helped by the uncertainties and lack of forward planning around this. Finally, the Suez Canal blockage was the icing on the cake. This has led to soaring shipping costs from Asia in particular.
The building trade has been particularly hard hit and has featured prominently in the news recently. Shortages in this sector have varied widely from one period to another with everything from floor ties and bricks through to cement, plaster, timber, steel, and electrical components, and fittings including white goods being affected.
Recent government advice (unhelpfully) is to put off or delay home renovation projects. It’s a pity they haven’t put their energies into resolving the problem rather than encouraging people to do less. One may be forgiven for expecting them to have learnt from the procurement problems they experienced over PPE – apparently not.
Fear not, however. All is not lost, in fact with the right help most supply shortages can be resolved, often quite easily. Yes, it may cost a little more than previously but for a builder for instance that’s a small price to pay for being able to continue his work uninterrupted and to continue to offer good employment to his staff. We have seen a large upturn in enquiries for building materials and electrical goods in particular over the past 3 months and we are happy to report that in the majority of cases we have been able to source suitable products for our clients.
China remains a huge manufacturing base with a large capacity, and a highly skilled workforce well equipped to produce the goods required by western countries. Having made the switch t source from elsewhere we are finding many of our customers are happy with the products they are receiving and are choosing to stay with their new suppliers for future orders. We are expecting demand from UK to increase over the coming months leading into Q4 when it is likely shipping costs will fall adding a bonus to those sourcing form China.