Joe Toakley, Shaftec Area Manager for the South, discusses how the company has managed to traverse the past year with relative ease despite the threats posed by both the pandemic and Brexit.
Being a UK-based business operating under one roof from our central midlands-based facility means that we have almost complete process control. And this has stood us in good stead over the past few years when the world has been plagued by the threats of the global COVID pandemic and Brexit uncertainties.
Literally everything, from old core acceptance through to the boxing of fully tested, shelf-ready product happens in one place. That, careful and strategic planning and the fact that we hold over £5million worth of stock at any one time, means that now Brexit has finally happened and is starting to affect many businesses within the UK aftermarket, it’s really only had a minimal impact on Shaftec.
Our business model means that the company is able to guarantee constant availability enabling our customer’s businesses to carry on, whilst competitors may struggle to get a full supply of parts into the country.
In order to safeguard the interests of our customers – and in turn their customers, the garages – all business plans over the past few years have taken Brexit into consideration. To enhance efficiency, bolster productivity and amplify our square footage, we consolidated the entire business into one facility in 2015.
In 2018, we further increased our capacity by 8,000ft2 by adding a mezzanine floor meaning we now have 50,000ft2 of production and storage space in total.
This all means we have the room to keep an extremely healthy supply of finished stock. It also means that we have space to keep an impressive amount of any ancillary parts that we do source from OE suppliers in Europe, for example, brake caliper seals. And, because we’ve been planning for this for years, it virtually eliminates any problems we might otherwise have encountered with shipping delays.
All of this preparation was incredibly important when it came to ensure that we didn’t run into any problems supplying our customers throughout 2020. We’re well aware of the fact that if garages don’t get the right parts at the right price when they need them, then the supply chain breaks down – impacting everyone – including us as remanufacturer and supplier. With this in mind, we invest heavily in our forecasting ability, and work closely with our partner TecAlliance so that we can offer our customers the most reliable and up-to-date technical data.
Our mantra is that range and availability are key. I don’t think this message has ever been more important, as it has meant we weathered the storm of the past year. Even at the height of the pandemic, our availability levels remained good, and we’ve been able to thrive; coping admirably with the increased demand we saw in the latter part of 2020.
As we move further into 2021, we have everything in place to continue to be a supportive supplier across our key areas for UK garages. We are focusing on new-to-range parts to keep pace with the ever-changing car parc – especially with regards to electric steering. Production is running at capacity. Any expected shipment delays of ancillary parts have been factored in and will not affect production levels and in line with this, shelf stock levels are extremely healthy.
Business looks incredibly positive for 2021 and beyond, as we work with the rest of the supply chain to grow and prosper.