All I want for Christmas is . . . something . . . please!

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The UK could be facing the perfect storm, on the lead up to Christmas, created by the delayed effects of Brexit and continuing problems caused by the pandemic.

Shelves have noticeably been short of certain goods – shortages of raw materials (steel and timber) and output from China, a global chip shortage affecting manufacture of goods from games to cars and a lack of shipping containers (apparently they are in the wrong place) are causing delays and costs are going up.

Even if the goods can be landed into the UK the shortage of lorry drivers is causing a logistical nightmare. Organisations are struggling to recruit staff with many offering signing on bonuses – but this is only robbing Peter to pay Paul leaving the problem on another organisation’s doorstep.

We have even had McDonalds removing milk shake from its menu and Nando’s shutting stores because of the lack of chicken wings hitting the news headlines! There may even be a shortage of turkeys for Christmas day!

The Government are trying to help, the border checks to be introduced following Brexit on certain goods have been put back to 2022. And by easing driver qualification requirements and extending driving hours they are trying to sort the UK logistics problems caused by drivers not being able to take tests during lockdown and more drivers leaving the profession than joining.

However, there still appears to be a shortfall in the immediate future and this could cause problems leading up to Christmas.

Ordering as early as possible and insisting on guaranteed delivery is what most traders will have done/will be doing. But, looking at alternative sources, particularly local manufacturers may be the solution to the problem.

If delivery from abroad cannot be guaranteed or prices are hiked then sourcing locally may become an option and hopefully a cost effective one. And, if the manufacturer has their own means of shipping or the trader can pick up from the factory it would negate any UK logistics problems.

As usual, the never say die attitude of our small businesses, in particular, will prevail and solutions will be found.

Christmas could still be a success – and I will get my usual surprise present of a pair of socks – and for that, as usual, I will be grateful.

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