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Material Shortages: How Suppliers Can Stop Cash Flow Woes

The last 24 months have been difficult for the entire built environment.

With Brexit border checks hampering all imports, a global pandemic bringing manufacturing to a complete standstill, a shipping container crisis and a lack of staff throughout the sector, you’re probably not the only one that’s experienced a shortage of materials.

A study earlier in 2022 highlights that 78% of tradespeople have struggled to source once commonly accessible materials in the past 12 months.

It causes bottlenecks in your projects and profitability.

But what are the root causes of these shortages and how can you begin overcoming them without a significant overhaul of entire supply chains?

It starts with working with the right partner. This article will address these issues and highlight options you can take so that your business experiences fewer material shortages.

A Systemic Issue

CEO of the Association of Supply Chain Management, Abe Eshkenazi sums up the issue felt by the housebuilding sector as “systematic”.

“What’s challenging is the cascade of disruptions we have right now, it’s not just one. You’re not just talking about rerouting around an ash cloud, which is temporary and maybe in a few weeks will dissipate. We’re dealing with systemic issues as well as acute issues right now”.

Whether it’s the access to resources, the manufacturing plants themselves, or the lack of skilled staff, all areas of the supply chain are contributing to the issues. As the issues multiply, it can be tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Despite this, Duncan Brock, group director of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), highlights the importance of sourcing locally where possible. Not only will this improve your delivery times and sustainability credentials, but it will also enable a quicker turnover of your stock and an improved bottom line.

The Aftershocks of Covid-19 Still Being Felt

Covid is an obvious reason for the shortages in construction materials, too.

You don’t have to cast your mind too far back to remember the site of manufacturing plants and building sites seemingly abandoned as entire nations were forced to remain at home.

Despite the UK returning to ‘post-pandemic normality’, isolated outbreaks and other nations are still experiencing lockdowns which are having knock-on effects on UK markets.

China, for instance, continues to experience lockdowns, impacting global manufacturing plants, with the repercussions trickling down to your project. But beyond the factories are the rail routes and ports, both of which have been hit hard during the pandemic too.

With containers stacking, queues getting longer and the waiting trades juggling their timelines, this isn’t a problem that can be solved in the short term and the effects are sure to get worse before they can get better.

For the here and now, it’s up to you to find ways of mitigating any delays and making sure your cash flow isn’t diminished.

Growing Material Shortages: How Your Supplier Can Prevent Cash Flow Woes

Staircase Success: Minimising Material Shortages

What can be done to offset these material shortages and ensure that your profitability isn’t eaten away?

Echoing the comments of Duncan Brook, sourcing locally is a start. Local manufacturers use UK suppliers for their materials, and these are built on well-established partnerships.

Instead of relying on a supply chain that is out of your control, local suppliers have the support in their network to resolve problems efficiently when they do arise. Why would you choose to work with a partner on the continent when there is one around the corner?

If the price is overly attractive, it’s important to be careful there aren’t additional cost implications when it comes to the supply.

A reliable supply chain means your cash flow is less likely to be impacted. Materials arrive on time to your project plan and there are no pressures from the end user.

This is the foundation with which Multi-Turn has built its reputation, supplying high-quality staircases to housebuilders in Southern England, ensuring success on all projects is achieved through high-quality product and craftsmanship, a dependable local supply chain, flexible deliveries, and a fit-first-time guarantee.

With over 30 years of experience and knowledge, offered through a service called staircase success, allowing you to meet the demands of the housebuilding sector through bespoke staircases.

Find out more by speaking to our team at 01962 712299 or emailing us at

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