David Jennings, CEO of leading door hardware company, UAP discusses how important it is for merchants to work with manufacturers who have planned for supply chain resilience.
It’s been a tough year for the building trade sector, but with a strong housebuilding sector and consumers spending their holiday budgets on home improvements instead, there’s promising potential for a strong recovery. But recovery can only happen if products are available, so supply chain resilience is central to builders’ merchants’ ability to serve their customers.
At UAP, we began the pandemic in a position of strength. With established manufacturing partnerships in China and a good understanding of how the Chinese market operates, we were quick to recognise the threat posed by COVID-19.
We knew right at the beginning of last year that we needed to get ready for an extinction-level event and, as a result of those insights, we were able to plan and implement a strategy for maintaining stock levels and mitigating the risk of delays.
By responding quickly to changing public health and commercial conditions, leveraging our assets and focusing on continued innovation, we have put ourselves in the strongest possible position to drive growth in 2021 and offer the best possible service to our customers.
UAP has weathered two serious recessions before so we know that preparing for the recovery is critical and the only way to do that effectively is through investment. We also know that the pandemic, changes to the plating industry in China, and Brexit are likely to affect supply chains as we begin 2021, so a key part of our investment has been in placing orders well ahead of time and increasing both our stockholding and warehouse capacity.
Product development and investment continued and as a result, we started 2021 with an additional 25,000 sq ft of warehousing space at our Greater Manchester HQ, with a further 35,000 sq ft planned for this year. Our stockholding currently sits at £7 million, and will increase to £8m by the end of 2021.
Supply chain reliability and lead time issues have been challenging for builders’ merchants as demand has recovered over the past few months, which is why UAP has been so focused on planning ahead. We have also refreshed our literature and invested in new blister packaging equipment to help reduce lead times.
Like everyone, we have been on a journey through the unknown in 2020 but, by leveraging our strengths, applying our knowledge and putting people first we’re entering 2021 stronger than ever. And, as always, our team is on hand to advise on product selection, helping builders’ merchants source alternative products from our extensive range if they cannot procure a similar product from another manufacturer.