Sales volumes and costs continue to rise

The British Woodworking Federation’s Joinery State of Trade Survey Q2 2017 has indicated that although rising raw materials costs and labour availability are exerting pressure on joinery manufacturers, the industry is optimistic over sales figures and product investment opportunities.

BWF policy and communications executive Matt Mahony said: “With optimism over sales volumes and with order books holding up well, our survey paints a picture of an industry working hard to protect its margins against significant cost rises.

“It has been a theme of recent months that the joinery industry is having to think on its feet and diversify its offering. We know from the Q2 survey that investment in product improvement has been rising, and anecdotal evidence suggests that companies are taking on more of the burden of design and specification on account of knowledge gaps within the supply chain.

“Broader construction industry information supports our findings. The Construction Products Association (CPA) has reported that UK construction product manufacturers are experiencing continued growth in activity but high input costs and uncertainty have dampened expectations for the near future.

“Our story is more positive. After a mixed start to 2017 for joinery, 42% of respondents noted an increase in sales from the previous quarter with almost two-thirds expecting improved sales volumes for Q3.

“There are challenges out there. Labour availability remains a factor with skills shortages within the sector contributing to increased wage bills. In addition to this almost all BWF members noted that raw material costs are now a significant inflationary factor for unit costs.”

“Joiners, not least BWF members, are natural problem solvers both on site and off and we will be working hard with members to ensure that they are capable of addressing these challenges.”