Brexit & COVID-19 supply issues?

If you’re struggling to get hold of key items because of world-wide shortages and shifting supply chains induced by the coronavirus pandemic or Brexit, we can help.

We all remember the headlines about supply issues when the pandemic first emerged, back in 2020, and you may even have experienced some of the many shortages yourself. From toilet roll to hand sanitiser, the UK has seen an unprecedented disruption in availability of goods, caused by a perfect storm of factors, including the global COVID-19 pandemic and red tape surrounding our exit from the European Union.

 And the news channels are full, once again, of stories about delays and increased costs surrounding goods from timber through to metal components.

However, throughout all the chaos that the past year-and-a-half has brought, we at Elliott’s are delighted to say that we’ve continued to deliver essential items to our customers, maintaining our steadfast commitment to providing excellent service as an extension of their management teams.

Melting pot of change

One of the factors affecting the supply of goods to us here in the UK, is a shift in our trade relationships worldwide – partly driven by Brexit and partly by the worldwide explosion in e-commerce resulting from COVID-19, which has dramatically changed the way the whole world does business. COVID cases, lockdowns and restrictions on movement between countries have all had an impact, and forced nations and the businesses operating within them, including us, to find new ways. Meanwhile, the news has been full of reports of new, post-Brexit trading legislation causing delays in getting goods from Europe in particular – potentially making it more challenging than it’s ever been to source everything from toilet roll to certain types of takeaway packaging. Oh, and then there was the small matter of the Ever Given ship getting stuck in the Suez canal, which has had a dramatic knock-on effect on the progress of containers of essential goods worldwide!

Amidst this developing situation, latest UK government figures released in April suggest that imports of goods from both the EU and beyond increased by £1.4 billion, or 3.9 per cent. Interestingly, monthly goods imports from countries outside the EU were the highest since records began, in January 1997.

Needless to say, we have been busy navigating this changing supply landscape in order to meet our clients’ needs amidst the many peaks and troughs we’ve seen in the supply of, and  demand for, certain essential items.

Our Managing Director, Mark Elliott, explains that one of the most dramatic of those was a sharp increase in the need for personal protective equipment (PPE), last Spring, followed by serious shortages.

“It was our priority to make sure that all our customers, particularly care homes, got the personal protective equipment they needed to stay safe and avoid transmission of COVID-19.

“I won’t deny it was incredibly tough and we had to take extreme steps, including ordering pallets loads of masks, aprons and gloves from around the globe when our domestic supplies dried up. However, we’re proud to say we did it and this is an example of the lengths we will go to, and the hard work we put in behind the scenes, to find solutions in the most difficult circumstances and ensure our customers receive uninterrupted service.

“The unrivalled contacts we have across the industry help, too, as does our membership of the Socius network which enables us to ensure our customers receive priority.”

You can rely on us

Here at Elliott’s, we have the experience, resources and dedication to ensure that – even in the most unusual circumstances – we will continue to deliver whatever you need to help you keep your lights on.

Mark added: “We’re in touch with our customers, suppliers and Socius all the time, and keep a watchful eye on market developments, so that we can do our utmost to anticipate our customers’ needs and anticipate and resolve any challenges that might get in the way of meeting them.

“Not only do our contacts help us ensure uninterrupted supply, but we can also guarantee our customers best value, including individually-negotiated rates for bulk orders.”

And there are things customers can do to help this process run as smoothly as possible, Mark explained. “There might be occasions when we have to suggest alternatives to overcome a particular supply chain issue. For example, a customer might pick a particular item that comes from a manufacturer in Germany, and we discover that it will take twice as long to arrive, and cost much more, than an equivalent product from China. Where this happens, we will always give our customers clear options to choose from.

“However, given the volatility in the marketplace at the moment, they might have to be willing to be flexible sometimes, in terms of everything from the colour of an item, to the material it is made from and where it comes from.”

Why have the headache?

Mark had this message for any buyers out there trying to navigate the current supply chain maelstrom on their own.

“In our view, you just don’t need the stress of sorting all of this out – you have enough to contend with keeping your organisation running smoothly amidst the present circumstances.

“However, because this is what we do, while our expertise has been stretched to the limit of late, we can sort things for you.

“We pride ourselves on working as an extension of our customers’ in-house management teams as a safe pair of hands for sorting anything relating to key supplies of hygiene, catering equipment, food packaging and even stationary.

“Whatever you need, we can organise it for you in the shortest time possible, while ensuring you best value by leveraging our powerful contacts and reviewing how you’re doing things to ensure the best outcomes and minimising your cost-in-use of key items like toilet rolls, hand sanitiser, soaps and detergents.”

Mark concluded: “We will literally do whatever it takes so that our customers can concentrate on their ‘day jobs’, and the extreme circumstances of the past 16 months have been the proof of that pudding!”

If you could do with some tailored help in getting hold of supplies for your organisation, whatever your sector, email our friendly team or call us on  01482 327580.

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