Blog: Flooring retailer blames Covid, Brexit and lack of HGV drivers for ‘crippling’ supply issues – Coventry Live

The founder of a flooring manufacturer and retail firm says his industry is being hit by ‘crippling’ supply issues.

Paul Hambidge of Factory Direct Flooring (FDF ) in Nuneaton is desperate for a solution to the situation that is hitting home improvements, renovation and developer markets.

He said that while supply challenges within the hospitality and fast-food sector have hit the headlines, stock across a wide number of sectors has become harder to obtain and with shipping costs spiralling.

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Ultimately, the businessman says he does not want the consumer to have to foot the bill for issues surrounding lower product supplies from the east and Europe.

“Just as it has been heavily reported recently that many sectors such as food are experiencing supply issues that are impacting consumers, this is also happening in many other industries including ours,” he said.

“From building supplies through to home interiors products, a shortage of these items has a real knock on effect. It’s not just a case of someone not being able to complete home improvements, but also results in higher new-build or refurbishment costs that will inevitably be passed on to the end-user.

“The issues are now affecting tradesmen who can’t get hold of products to complete domestic or commercial jobs, which could severely affect people’s livelihoods. Subsequently the UK economy is going to suffer once again.”

He said the ‘crippling’ supply issues have been caused most notably by the pandemic and Brexit, which have hit the availability of products for the consumer, trade and developer markets and made them notably more expensive.

These woes have been worsened by container shipping cost hikes and transport issues as a result of truck driver shortages, as well as the postponement of HGV lessons and tests during lockdown.

He said that they had made provisions to weather the storm, by moving to a 40 per cent larger warehouse earlier this year to be able to facilitate a 50 per cent increase in stock holding, but not every company will be as lucky.

‘The truth is that this storm isn’t likely to blow over any time soon’

The long term future is of huge concern to him and he is calling on UK investors, entrepreneurs and manufacturers to help.

“The truth is that this storm isn’t likely to blow over any time soon,” he said.

“There’s no quick fix, no real solution on the horizon and the situation will definitely get worse before it gets better.

“Consumers and tradespeople must brace themselves for prices to escalate further. Transport costs are rising unchallenged, because of demand: we’re paying around seven per cent more with some transport carriers, and some of this has to inevitably be passed on to the buyer.

“I can see this scenario continuing for at least another 18 months – unless of course there are investors who could step in and help with solutions to this growing crisis. It is certainly a market ripe for investment.”

Long term demand out-stripping supply will could leave the industry not looking good in 12 months time.

“I am urging UK investors, entrepreneurs and manufacturers to seize this opportunity with both hands and help create targeted solutions for the supply issues affecting the home improvements, renovation and developer markets, or the picture in another 12-months’ time may not look good.”

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