Materials and Facilities

Modern business IS digital.

Which means modern business success IS the successful use of digital technologies.

Modern, global supply networks have become some of the best demonstrations of this success.

Especially when it comes to the supply of goods and products that have seen drastic shortages, such as those for building, facilities management and infrastructure development.

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From timber and mortar, to electrical goods and HVAC units, or even HGV drivers, every aspect of the building distribution industry faces acute shortages. These have hampered operations and sent
prices soaring.

As an example, several brick manufacturers have issued price warnings. Wienerberger has warned customers of a 10.3% price rise from 1 January 2022 and that it may need to further update prices during 2022 because of the “highly volatile” outlook. Ibstock has warned that prices could rise by
10.5% from November 2021, while Michelmersh recently alerted customers to a 7% to 9% price hike.

But the problem is endemic. Material prices across all construction sectors in July 2021 were more than 20% higher than they were in July 2020.

Yet demand remains insatiable: Q2 2021 was the best performing quarter on record for sales for builders’ merchants, with an increase of 96% compared to Q2 2020. And it has not just been the impact of COVID lockdowns – figures show Q2 2021 sales up by 20% against Q2 2019. All categories sold more in Q2 2021 compared with the same period in both of last two years.

The severity of these shortages and the ferocity of this demand a pragmatic but bold response. This must focus on operational efficiencies, implementing effective systems that can enable ecommerce and solutions that empower customers, such as self-service.

At a time of acute shortages, digital business has already enabled some suppliers to identify inventory held up within the supply chain to satisfy existing orders, as well as giving their customers far more accurate delivery dates for new orders.

These systems have replaced legacy, manually-intensive ways of working. This has helped progressive materials and facilities suppliers to redeploy staff on higher value tasks, reducing the need for new recruitment at a time of a pressing skills shortage.

Use cases such as these show that digital business within the building distribution, facilities and infrastructure sectors is surprisingly sophisticated. There is a great deal of early wins that can drive quick ROI. For more details, please email our sector specialists and we will be happy to explore your

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