Our CEO and industry consultant, Andrew Scott, warns that the industry could face a cashflow crisis over the next few months.
“As an industry, we’ve been focused on managing supply-chain issues and employment headaches caused by the pandemic and Brexit, and managing customer expectations in extremely difficult circumstances” noted Andrew.
“But it may be time to go back to the fundamentals of business and cashflow management as we approach Christmas and New Year.”
Consolidation with installers but decline in fabricators
Andrew revealed the latest industry facts and figures and results of an installer survey during the recent Glazing Summit Conference.
“The data shows consolidation with the number of installers and PVC-U fabricators declining. This can be good news, with fewer competition companies winning more business, but there are some underlying issues that could create some real problems over the next few months.”
Price increases in supply could create problems for installers
Presenting at the Glazing Summit, Andrew outlined how installers had large order books and many were fitting jobs now that were sold 4 or 5 months ago (or longer).
“There are two problems here,” said Andrew. “Firstly, many of the jobs being fitted now or over the next couple of months were sold before suppliers implemented a string of price increases. It means jobs could be fitted at drastically reduced margins or even at a loss in some cases.”
“Secondly, many installers have amassed huge order books where homeowners have paid large deposits months ago, providing a significant and artificial cashflow bonanza which in some cases has been used to prop up the business, mitigate margin erosion or fund larger stock levels and work-in-progress.”
Andrew says now is the time to re-visit cashflow forecasts and budgets and take prudent business steps.
“The industry has never faced a situation like this and we all know how quickly cashflow can swing, especially after a few weeks of Christmas/New Year slow-down or bad winter weather. Installers don’t have the option of factoring or invoice discounting so planning ahead now could avoid a potential disaster, especially as suppliers are less likely to be flexible.”
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