David Barber, the new managing director of Ideal Standard in the UK, says every link in the supply chain must do all it can to keep the industry moving.
Talking on the latest episode of the kbbreview Podcast, Barber said that it is not simply the case that suppliers should financially support retailers.
“We have a responsibility to the supply chain, but that responsibility goes both ways,” he said. “Everyone in the supply chain has the responsibility to each other to make sure that, as an industry, our supply chain comes through this together.”
“Everyone in that chain has its own challenge – whether you’re a manufacturer, distributor, merchant or retailers – and we need to look at each of these on their individual merit and where we can assist we will. But, to be absolutely frank, we also have out own bills to pay and we also look to our customers to pay their bills where they can.
“Sometimes it’s differentiating between those that can but won’t and those that can’t.”
Barber became MD following the departure of Stephen Ewer, who left to become CEO at Bathroom Brands.
He also expressed his confidence in the long-term future of Ideal Standard’s manufacturing facilities in the UK, paradoxically because of the impact of the coronavirus situation.
“As we know, Ideal Standard is the only large scale ceramic manufacturer left in UK and that gives us a new unique position and a unique advantage,” he said. “[Because of] covid-19 manufacturer demand might be down overall in the near and medium term which could create some challenges.
“However, on the flip side, many supply chains have looked to China and other far-flung destinations to buy their products. I do think many people will now start to think about that. They won’t abandon the Chinese route, but I think many will look for maybe dual sourcing or a high degree of security of their supply chains and look closer to home. I think that stands anybody with a UK manufacturing facility – whether that’s ceramics or in any industry – in probably better stead than before we went into this crisis.”
You can hear the full interview with David Barber on The kbbreview Podcast.