The Covid-19 crisis has placed immense pressure on supply chains across many sectors, but especially so in both the timber pallet and packaging industry and the corrugated sector, where unprecedented supply and demand dynamics continue to make the sourcing of raw materials more challenging and costly than ever.
While some operators have faced challenges sourcing sufficient timber and corrugated board to satisfy customer demand in this highly volatile environment, thanks to the longstanding strategic partnerships we’ve forged with suppliers both here and overseas over our century plus history, we have been able to withstand the worst excesses of these pressures and ensure continuity of product supply for customers.
Anticipating customer demand in a crisis is notoriously challenging but by working closely with customers we have been able to get a full picture of their ongoing purchasing requirements and offer practical, Covid-ready solutions such as significant stockholding facilities to give them the peace of mind they will have inventory to call on as required. This has often extended to fulfilling emergency requests at short notice.
With so much uncertainty on the horizon as Britain prepares to exit the EU, alongside the ongoing impact of Covid-19, timber prices are at record levels in some areas and are set to remain high for the foreseeable future. What’s more, as things stand, the supply of both timber and corrugated materials, as well as capacity in the wider transit packaging sector, are finely balanced here in the UK. Given wider market dynamics, this is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future.
As such, robust supply chain planning will continue to be essential as we enter 2021. Practically speaking, that means timber and corrugated transit packaging specifiers seeking to build more collaborative relationships with their suppliers. Thankfully, this needn’t be a hugely onerous task, but it does entail planning ahead for potential future requirements and ideally, working with suppliers to analyse and interpret historical purchasing data to uncover any trends that might inform future buying strategies. As we move towards the post-Covid economy, there’s a real opportunity for specifiers to embrace more data-driven decision-making informed by their historical packaging spend.
Of course, there are many unknowns associated with 2021 that make forward planning difficult, but by working collaboratively with suppliers and focussing on likely future requirements well in advance, timber and corrugated packaging specifiers can put themselves in the best position to ensure they start the New Year on the front foot.