Consolidating suppliers key to offsetting inflationary pressures for manufacturing SMEs

With a recent report stating the majority of UK manufacturers have increased their prices, an industry-leading expert is encouraging SMEs throughout the supply chain to review their purchasing strategies for industrial supplies to protect themselves from any potential impact.

According to a recent Office for National Statistics report, 58% percent of manufacturers surveyed said they had raised prices because of increased costs elsewhere, such as soaring energy bills and continued inflation. To tackle these challenges, Lee Hutchings, Commercial Effectiveness Manager at MSC Industrial Supply Co. UK, is advising SMEs to review their supply chains to combat against unpredictable prices.

“Though inflation is showing signs of easing, costs are still continuing to rise. As this recent ONS report shows, all parts of the supply chain are being affected,” he explains. “This could impact the sourcing of critical products, including industrial supplies and consumables. SMEs are naturally more exposed to pricing volatility than larger companies, so it is vital they take steps now to not be caught out, including reviewing existing practices.

“Many have often chosen to shop around for cheaper consumables from multiple suppliers to find the best deal. However, these smaller suppliers are also exposed to similar cost pressures, which may lead to further price rises and impact an SME’s ability to be competitive in a challenging market. Manufacturers need stability, which is why we would advise partnering with suppliers that are more resilient to the economic situation.”

In order to gain reliable access to business-critical suppliers with more stable pricing, Lee is encouraging businesses to consolidate their supplier base and focus on partners that can provide best-in-class customer service and can guarantee stock availability and on-time deliveries.

MSC is well-placed to help SMEs manage the current economic challenges. With the backing of a $3.7bn parent company, MSC in the UK has undergone a review of its pricing; it has recently held the price of 45,000 product lines while reducing the price of a further 27,000 –  meaning its customers are offered a fair price, along with a consistent, reliable, industry-leading service from a business that is committed to supporting manufacturing growth.

Lee continues: “While UK manufacturers are facing challenging operating conditions, by evaluating existing supply chains, businesses can continue to thrive,” Lee continues. “Consistent service levels across a wide range of industrial supplies and consumables are key to this and should be a major priority for all businesses.

“At the end of the day, having a single supplier for these items can free up more time for manufacturers to do what they do best – manufacture. Their time is limited, so being able to swap long spells haggling over consumables and supplies for getting on with what matters will ultimately help SMEs stay competitive and continue to grow.”

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