FORT's February Availability Update

Well, the year is beginning to take some shape; vaccinations appear to be going well and the current lockdown has dramatically lowered infection rates. This bodes well for a return to school and all manner of other important areas (like the pub!).

Quite what shape the economy will be in is still unclear, but it’s almost certain that large numbers of people will have seen devastating losses of income. There is also the terrible effect on families who have suffered the loss of their relatives.

However, our Customers continue to report a decent level of work, with more coming through, in all sectors.

Trading Update

Availability on most products is actually quite reasonable at the moment, but it’s the gaps that are surprising and hard to predict.

Inevitably the new import requirements since January are still a little unclear in terms of the effect they will have. Many shippers are reporting jams at ports, with containers out of position, leaving stocks out of balance. The following list gives some idea of areas where availability seems to be deteriorating:

  • Concrete - Fencing and some other products - Long lead times
  • Roofing Products - Concrete and clay tiles - Long lead times
  • Silicone & Chemicals - shortage of base material - random stock outages
  • TG4 Chipboard - National housebuilder demand - lack of stock
  • Polymers - Underground and drainage products - lack of raw material

Pricing Update

You will have seen that your new Pricing Terms are available on your customer portal where lead, steel and cement products have increased in price since the January update due to specific issues around the raw material and supply costs of those materials. The costs of transporting goods from overseas has also increased significantly.

What is more concerning is general inflation. We have already seen significant rises in base prices and these do not seem to be heading anywhere except upwards, or level at best.

Here are a few indicators:

Timber
The US market remains very strong and is sucking vast quantities of wood in from Europe. This link will show you the chart and it’s very scary. Prices have risen from a low of $280 to around $850 today – a 300% increase!

Steel
UK Steel Rebar prices have moved from around £450/tonne in 2020 to £650/tonne in 2021 – a 40% increase! Again, this link will show you the increases from the back end of 2020.

You can see the impact in pricing – we are in a period of significant material price inflation. While it is never great news, all we can ask is that you don’t shoot the postman! We cannot affect these prices and like all suppliers we will have to pass them on.

As we have said in many previous reports, be careful; do not apply firm prices more than 3 months ahead!

Snow Fun!

While it's difficult to keep working when the weather turns, it was great to see some of our customers taking the recent snowy weekends for some fun time.

Hopefully most of you were able to grab yourselves a FORT beanie before Christmas to keep your heads warm, but a couple of them were used as bottle warmers and as a magic hat to help a snowman come to life (although the handsaw in the head suggests maybe that was short-lived!?)

'Craig's Collections' Special Offers

For those of you that are continuing to work and that are coming to our yard, Sales Manager Craig has chosen a couple more special offer products as part of his Craig's Collections promotions

Treated Blue Batten is on offer at the low, low price of
53p+VAT per metre if collected, while sheets of 18mm Hardwood Faced Plywood are on offer at £24.50+VAT per sheet.

These prices are for all customers throughout the month of February, so get in touch if you'd like to know more.

We've got plenty going on here at FORT in the coming months, so please reach out to us if there's anything that we can assist you with, from basic supplies through to more specialist items. We're seeing increasing take up of our Pricing From Plans, Bespoke Windows and Doors, Roof Trusses and unusual timber finishes, and we'd love to be able to help with your upcoming projects.

As always,
please do not assume stock availability - check with the sales office!