Continuing a series of comments on the rise in shipping costs and scarcity of freight capacity, Claire Budgen, commercial and marketing director at Lifetime Brands Europe reflects: “Housewares, like most consumer goods, is not immune from the current supply and demand issues driving increases in costs and their knock-on effect to both trade and consumer pricing. These issues show no sign of abating, and their sustained impacts cannot be ignored or avoided.”
She elaborates: “Three factors have come together, extended production lead times, increased product costs and shortfalls in freight capacities creating the “Perfect Storm”.
Illuminating the mitigating measures that Lifetime Brands Europe is taking, Claire states: “There are also three factors that are key to riding this “storm”. Partnership, planning, and prioritisation, so we’re working closely in partnership with key supply chain partners to secure both product manufacturing and freight capacities.
“Planning meticulously to be in-stock of the right products, managing both availability and cash flow in detail. As we continued to trade throughout the pandemic, we were initially caught out by the upsurge in demand for some of our product categories – bakeware and storage to name a few. We then invested heavily and continue to do so. We have great availability with, for example, over 1.5million more units on just our key sellers than this time last year, but the increased cost of freight is a complete anomaly to our pricing structure.”
Claire concludes: “We’ve been working extensively with our freight forwarders who have been fantastic in all fairness. Both from an information flow, freight planning and availability point of view, I think we have faired exceptionally well including securing capacity on chartered vessels. The element of pricing though is seemingly uncontrollable.
“Newness and innovation are vital, and they must be combined with a proposition that offers true choice, so we’re completely focused on driving this through.”