Lynn Street, Sales & Marketing Manager Midland Lead is BMBI’s Expert for Lead.
Following a turbulent 2020, the last three months have affected every business, wherever they are in the construction supply chain. With so much uncertainty, many businesses had a plan A and a plan B, and then when the time came, plan C was implemented. Impossible to plan but in practice, businesses applied flexibility and resilience. There is no better way of describing how collectively we managed and adapted.
We can’t underestimate the fact that businesses helped each other too including staff, suppliers and customers. Our staff continuously adjusted and supported each other; our suppliers kept us updated to potential supply problems; and our customers have been patient and understanding. It was true flexibility and resilience.
The construction sector remained open and reacted quickly to new working practices, even when the third national lockdown was announced. Manufacturers invested in e-commerce so customers could maintain and promote sales online.
However, many challenges that construction will face won’t be resolved quickly, including the shortage of labour, which continues to be a major problem. It’s a challenge the industry needs to address urgently.
Extended lead times and access to raw materials, coupled with the ‘teething problems’ of logistics and movement of goods has impacted the whole construction supply chain. We would expect this to settle down over the next twelve months as we continue to acclimatise.
Price increases due to Brexit, and added costs as a result of Covid restrictions, will have a knock-on effect to the supply chain and 2021 will be time to re-group and consolidate. We remain focussed on the customer, but also on the welfare of our staff, sustainability and investing in our business.
My last comment is about the reputation of our market, which shouldn’t go unmentioned as the CMA investigation is still not concluded around the two manufacturers in our sector. Competition is good for everyone – it encourages innovation, better customer service and ethical practices. But we must always uphold the integrity of best business practices and not bring our industry into disrepute, no matter what challenges we face.