Shortages ‘start to bite’

Mackenzie Glass has said that its supply partnerships remain robust with high stock levels across its complete range, despite growing industry concerns about glass shortages.

While float glass manufacturers kept their lines running during lockdown significant many were putting products back into cullet, which affected availability.

This, according to reports, has combined with the jump in demand for glass seen since the easing of lockdown following rapid growth in retail and the return of demand from commercial projects, to put pressure on the glass supply chain.

Mark Herbert, joint managing director of Mackenzie Glass, said: “There are some real positives here, and that is the high level of demand our customers are seeing across all sectors of construction.

“That, in conjunction with the lower outputs from float glass manufacturers in March and April, is however creating a logjam, and demand is currently outstripping supply, which will put pressure on some product lines over the summer.

“Our partnership with Pilkington, and as its first ‘regional partner’, to a degree insulates us from that squeeze on supply and we have full availability across our product range.”

Speaking to Glass Times, managing director of Pilkington UK Matt Buckley said: “As is the nature of glass manufacturing, getting production back online is a cumbersome process requiring weeks of preparatory work. When lockdown hit, demand fell away overnight and we turned to 100% crush or hot hold to ensure our float and rolled lines could start back up as fast as they could when the time was right; with a skeleton team working within health and safety guidelines to keep our plants safe.

“Of course, glass furnaces can’t simply be turned off when demand falls, leaving us the only option to keep them hot or risk losing them altogether; a costly job at a time when sales had been wiped out.

“Our team has done a tremendous job restarting our glass production when demand started to pick up. Now, we can supply high-quality float and coated glass once again. Our merchanting and processing operations are also back online after a phased return alongside the gradual lift in lockdown.”

Mackenzie Glass also stocks products from Saint Gobain, Guardian, AGC and Pyroguard.

“In general, we’re already at a point where there are some clear shortages, with some products on longer lead times, and that’s across float glass manufacturers,” Mark said. “There’s also the impact of Brexit on glass supply coming in from Europe.

“The levels and the range of stock that we hold, plus the strength of our relationship with Pilkington but also other glass suppliers, means that we remain so far unaffected and can offer a complete product range to our customers.”