Market Intelligence – August/September 2020

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Dear Customer,


We hope that you are keeping safe and well and that you are personally and professionally returning to normality.  These have been challenging times, but we are glad to have all staff back at work, servicing your day-to-day needs.

Many of you have contacted us asking how the marketplace is unfolding in a post-COVID world, and we have accordingly been monitoring developments in order to keep you right up to speed.

We are beginning to experience availability issues and longer lead times on many products, principally items which are manufactured in the East and predominantly China.  As you will know China was the first country to experience the pandemic, and the manufacturing and raw material producers there were broadly shut down for 2-3 months.  These closures have resulted in slow starts and further delays once normal working cycles resumed.  This means goods which would have been leaving China in the spring, that would have been landing on our shores around now, are not arriving to replenish stocks.  India is often the fallback option after China, and obviously factories there are also struggling with the significant impact of COVID in that country.

Consequently, many commodity products which we take for granted as readily available are becoming difficult to obtain, and will undoubtedly become more difficult, with costs often being inflated where stock is available.

The list below is not exhaustive but gives an overview of products which are affected:

  • Power tools – Makita and DeWalt amongst others
  • Hand tools – unbranded tools as well as brands such as Stanley and Stabila
  • Contractors tools – shovels, rakes, groundworkers tools
  • Hoses and fittings – largely due to a domestic demand spike
  • PPE items as previous – masks, goggles, glasses, disposable gloves, coveralls.  Some issues (e.g. overshoes) are due to manufacturers switching production to more profitable lines (e.g. masks)
  • Gate fittings and ironmongery – largely made in Indian factories so most lead times are the end of this year now
  • Paint and aerosols – temporary shortage due to DIY projects and raw material shortages
  • Electrical appliances – fridges etc. due to component shortages and a domestic demand spike
  • Cleaning and hygiene products – becoming more stable but some manufacturers are still struggling e.g. Deb, Mr Muscle


Our strategy to meet this issue is as follows:

  • Continue to be flexible in our approach to sourcing, to ensure we have some stock on the shelf, even if that is of alternative products.  Our goal is that if we can’t offer exactly what you’ve asked for, we will be able to offer something else that will do the same job.
  • Take advantage of our storage capacity and strong financial position to stock up on high demand products when there is an opportunity.
  • Pay suppliers upfront where necessary to secure key products quicker to ensure our loyal customers get the best availability possible in this current marketplace.

As a result of this you are likely to notice more requests for authorisation to supply alternative products.  Where alternatives have been sourced from Europe or the UK these alternatives may be at a higher price than the standard product from Asia, however rest assured that we will always offer the nearest option in cost and specification, in line with our promise to control excessive site spend.

We trust you find this update useful, if you need further information regarding your account or any upcoming requirements in the coming weeks please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,


Sam Mallinson

Managing Director