The reality of Brexit and the aftermath of leaving the EU is starting to take its toll on a number of industries. As we edge closer to the beginning of the festive season, headlines are starting to discourage people from stockpiling to ensure there’s enough turkey to go around. It always feels so counterintuitive rallying people in this way, the very mention of the words ‘stock pile’ in the headline of an article will clear shelves in an instant.
There are two issues in particular which are causing a great deal of challenges. Firstly, the raw cost of timber has literally gone through the roof and any industry using timber in their supply line has had to act. Secondly we have the logistical issues, mainly caused by a lack of lorry drivers, which again can be traced back to Brexit.
For some smaller operators, these challenges may prove too difficult to overcome. They may be left with no option but to raise prices and the uncertainty around deliveries up and down the supply chain means customers may be left dissapointed.
We spoke with Louise, a supply chain manager for Your Little Monkey (https://www.yourlittlemonkey.com/)
As soon as the pandemic hit, many of our major suppliers shut up shop and our entire business was basically put on hold. We just about managed to navigate the turbulence of lockdown and things where starting to improve when the aftermath of Brexit started to rear its ugly head. We had no idea that this would actually present a greater challenge for us than the previous 18 months.
Our main challenge has been reducing the impact of the timber increases and delivery charges for our customers. The increases have meant sales have stalled as people decide whether to wait it out and see if prices come back down. I don’t blame people for doing this because the price difference on a climbing frame might be £200 for the larger modules. But what do we do in the meantime?
We know we’re not the only ones suffering and I really feel for anyone who is now facing these types of challenges after successfully navigating a pandemic.Louise, Your Little Monkey
Rising timber prices has also had a significant impact on the building trade with a surge in post lock down projects creating a bottleneck in timber supply.
The UK import around 80% of their timber which is the main issue, but there are calls for the UK to get back to forestry and manage woodland more effectively to reduce that figure.
Timber prices are starting to come down so the outlook is positive for these companies, but, as Louise points out, how long can they hold out?