As has been reported in UK media and by BEAMA members and wider stakeholders, the growing global challenge is becoming more apparent relating to the supply chain for semiconductors and computer chipsets, largely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Due to this disruption and wild fluctuations in global supply and demand, equipment manufacturers are experiencing difficulties filling orders for their own and others’ products. Some industries have been able to stockpile (subject to trade restrictions) while others have not been able to react in the same way due to margin and other constraints.
The same issue is widely reported for specific steel types used in the manufacturing of electrical installation products and for some forms of copper. This is a global issue affecting UK manufactures, and is not confined to a single supply source. With such widespread impacts on supply levels, competition for scarce materials is at unheard-of levels.
There is no UK supply that could be ramped up in the required timescale to replace these global shortages and no obvious government action that would remedy the position as it is not a customs or regulatory issue.
BEAMA’s focus has been to monitor the impact of lack of supply of these materials in the UK and relay this information to UK Government and the wider industry through our trade body partners. We will ensure that members’ customers are aware of these global shortages to allow them to prepare for potential impacts on project delivery timescales. We will continue to reach out to our members to understand how COVID is affecting the continued supply of specific materials in the UK and globally.