Growing retailer concern on tool & DIY product supply from China, says BHETA

BHETA (The British Home Enhancement Trade Association) is the latest association to raise concerns over potential DIY products and tool supply shortages following disruption around the coronavirus outbreak.

While supply shortages are unlikely to be obvious in UK shores for two to three months due to shipping, some BHETA members and retail contacts are anticipating the possibility of six or seven week gaps in supply.

Production in Chinese factories is usually lighter in January due to the traditional business closures for the Lunar New Year. This year, the factory close downs have extended in an attempt to minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus. While some factories have returned to work, many have not and those that have are believed to largely be operating under capacity. The likes of Jaguar Land Rover have voiced concerns if the shutdowns extend into March. In the fastener, fixings and tool industries, major UK suppliers like Hexstone and TIMco have given Torque Magazine their appraisal of the potential impacts should the closedowns extend.

BHETA’s COO Will Jones explained: “Not only is production bound to be affected, but the worst hit city, Wuhan plays a vital role in the global supply chain, as it is not only a manufacturing centre, but also an important transport hub; and many trains have been cancelled until the end of February.

“While the Chinese Government is sounding a more optimistic note about peaks in infection by the end of the month as the rate of new cases declines, international experts remain cautious. We are therefore advising affected members and our retail We colleagues to make contingency plans in terms of product supply; and looking into whether members who manufacture in the UK can help address the situation.

“Specifically, we are suggesting that retailers visit the BHETA Retailer Zone which features information from all suppliers who are BHETA members across the home enhancement, home improvement and garden sectors, and provides a real-time search function – by product category, by brand and by supplier. Created to enable buying teams to find practical product and supply details, as well as inspiration for future listings, it is also proving a helpful tool for finding alternative sources of items which may be temporarily in short supply.”