So sang Nat King Cole and a host of others in that famous song. However, if you’re a small business, manufacturer, constructor or anyone who needs fasteners at the moment, there may well be trouble ahead! We are seeing a number of issues playing out at the moment, most of them COVID and Brexit related.
So lets look first at some of the COVID issues, specific to virtually anything imported into the UK. Most of the Fasteners made today come from China, Taiwan or India, take a while to be manufactured, then placed in containers and shipped to Felixstowe. The lead-time commonly up to 6 months, generated by the bigger stockholders and importers. When the first lockdown began, a number of these importers slowed down purchasers, as the demand had “fallen off a cliff”. When demand started to pick up, the lead times started to make an impact on UK based stocks, with some items becoming difficult to obtain. An early indicator of this is the current slowdown in car manufacture due to the reduced supply of computer chips.
The second issue is the fact that most of the Worlds’ containers are in the wrong place, in Europe or the USA, not working their way around the world. This has meant that even if an order is taken from a Far East supplier, they then have to find a container to send it on to Europe. We are being told by suppliers that their headaches are increasing and to expect reduced inventories.
The third issue, which is impacting trade with the EU, is clearly Brexit. We are finding that the red tape associated with EU trade is becoming an issue with many importers and exporters.
So what can you do to avoid any “trouble ahead”?
- Any items, which are CRITICAL to your business or processes, make sure you have a reasonable supply.
- Let us know, in good time, if we can help with sourcing these items, as the market for specific fasteners tightens.
- We expect, as specific items become more difficult to source, prices are likely to rise.
If in doubt, get in touch with us AS SOON AS POSSIBLE