Supply chain management is becoming more difficult for many reasons. The pandemic has taken the limelight away from other issues such as the global rising cost of shipping containers and political factors surrounding Brexit’s impact on importing to the UK.
With the issue set to become even more prevalent in the coming years, it’s time to start thinking proactively about stock levels and the best way to manage your supply chain.
Supply chains are crumbling under pressure
We live in a world with many finite resources and this greatly impacts what we’re able to get our hands on at times. Demand for natural resources, like timber to manufacture office furniture, is increasing at a rate that the global supply chain can’t ethically cope with. We have to think ahead, be resourceful and work with our partners to ensure our clients get what they need.
What we’re seeing now is a cognitive dissonance between a client base that is returning to a perceived normal by going back to the office and the reality of how the global supply chain is struggling to cope. While we’ve become used to instant gratification and next day delivery, many suppliers simply don’t have the stock to deliver as it’s held up somewhere down the chain.
Imports and shipping
Perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks the industry is facing at the moment is increasing shipping costs and import lead times. Before March 2020, a shipping container would cost around $2500 whereas now we’re looking at over $16,000 - assuming there is container space to book!
As well as this, we now have to contend with the implications that Brexit has on importing into the UK from the UE. Many EU suppliers have decided that the time needed to process extra paperwork to collect UK VAT means it isn’t commercially viable to import to the UK. Thus creating more scarcity in the industry’s stock levels.
Why relationships matter
Using single source suppliers, we’ve built up strong relationships. The trust built up over the years ensured that we were able to deliver hard to source supplies like PPE and janitorial supplies when they were in very high demand.
Aligning our order system with our suppliers ensured that anything we needed was automatically processed and delivered to our warehouse without delay. Through dedicated account managers who know our client’s businesses inside out, we consistently delivered when we said we would. Being a business that has been around a long time, our relationships are a key part of sustaining longevity.