Passed off?

You may be fed up but disruption to the glass supply chain has potentially far bigger consequences, according to Dave Broxton, managing director of Bohle.

The past couple of months have been defined by the scramble for product: IGU manufacturers, glass processors and installers – all have struggled to source product, and that creates a temptation or a requirement to source product from new suppliers.

And therein lies risk.

The vast majority of glass merchants, glass processors and IGU manufacturers aren’t there to rip anyone off.

But right now, the glass supply chain is in a state of flux. Product is hard to come by and people are looking outside the UK and outside their usual supply chains. That creates risk, especially when there is such a massive pressure on supply.

Mistakes are easy to make. You may not get what you ordered through a genuine mistake, but you could also be the victim of ‘passing-off’, and if you’ve supplied those products on, even in good faith, you are still liable.

With two of the UK’s three float glass lines in cold repair, general disruption in global shipping and specific delays post-Brexit at UK ports, glass supply has faced a series of uphill challenges this year. This has been compounded by a continuing and unrelentless demand for product, particularly from the home improvement sector.

You don’t need to be trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes to get caught out. Visually it’s very difficult to spot one glass type from another; someone could make a mistake in distribution, in labelling – you’re not going to know.

The consequences of that are at best costly replacements, a potential claim for passing-off – even if you did it in error – or a court appearance if there are consequential losses or injury.

Glass merchants, glass processors, IGU manufacturers and ultimately installers, are almost entirely reliant on the information they get from supply chains,

Bohle provides a potential solution in the Glass Buddy and Glass Buddy Plus, which eliminate the risk of inaccurate supply of product by providing an instant analysis of glass properties ahead of manufacture or installation.

Capable of analysis of single pane through to laminated or insulated glass units, Glass Buddy uses laser technology to deliver an instant analysis of glass properties. This includes thickness, the structure of the pane, the low-e coating, PVB interlays and their position to the accuracy of 0.1mm.

You’re not going to pick up on any of this through visual checks. The consequence of a laminate not being the right laminate are potentially massive.

It’s not about trying to catch your suppliers out. As we’ve said, almost all will be operating in good faith but if a mistake is made, you have to ask yourself: are you going to catch it? If you are bringing in product from new suppliers, can you be confident that you’re getting what you bought?

The point is that you have liability. Scanning your orders off the truck with Glass Buddy or Glass Buddy Plus gives you a clarity. The cost of purchase and introducing a new process at goods-in is nothing compared to the cost of getting caught out by someone else’s mistake.