The MD of one of the bathroom industry’s leading retailers has spoken out about the current state of the supply chain and how the industry must learn from its mistakes.
Speaking as part of a panel discussion at the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) Conference, which explored the challenges and opportunities facing the bathroom sector, Paul Crow, the MD of bathroom retail franchise Ripples (pictured far left) said that the industry is still experiencing issues in the supply chain, following the major disruption caused by the Covid pandemic.
“With the chaos and fear around the pandemic at the very beginning, although there have been some significant difficulties, all things considered, we were actually expecting the supply chain situation to be worse.
“There was a real sense of working together and it was probably the first instance where I experienced the whole industry pulling together because we had no choice. The issues really came when people’s patience ran out. It started with the consumer, then the fitters, then our patience began to dwindle and that’s when the cracks started to appear in the system, whether that be over stock levels or charges – we’re all paying more for less now in reality.”
However, he acknowledged that the situation was improving but said that learning from mistakes was the key to building a more resilient supply chain for the future.
“Things are definitely getting better, and I think we’re all still learning from it which can only be a positive,” he said. “Am I happy with how things are at the moment? Not entirely because it’s not good enough for our customers.
He praised those suppliers that he said “are putting every effort into supporting retailers” so that they can offer the best service they can to consumers.
Crow concluded by saying that retailers should be prepared to understand more about the supply chain and the difficulties for manufacturers when the supply chain is compromised. He went on to explain how, at Ripples, they are now investing their time focusing on what they, as a business, can do to ensure consumers have a good experience.
“We recognise that there are still difficulties with the supply chain,” he said. “While we are still learning and we, as an industry are trying to get things back on track, what we’re doing now is focusing our time on the aspects of the customer journey that we can control to compensate for the fact that the supply chain isn’t yet perfect.”