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Report Compiled Gary James Managing Director
Overview January 2019
SSA Overview for 2018.
The Company grew by 49% during its business year Sept 17-Aug 18. The Northern Ireland branch opened in November 2017, and has had a massive effect on the Shrewsbury and Bristol centres as it has relieved them to offer more capacity to their own customers, as well as the more direct effect on the Irish market place. Three machines were installed in Northern Ireland originally and a further two arriving in March will strengthen the capacity of the branch again. Selling over 4,000 tonnes of product in 2018 from 2,700 tonnes the previous year. The Company is currently on course to achieve 5,000 tonnes in 2019, which will be a further growth of 25%. This growth has enabled SSA to invest heavily in its customers such and their sub-contractors by increasing stock and capacity with new machines.
Infrastructure applied during 2018/19
During the year SSA has taken on an abundance of new staff to be dedicated to sustaining the growth of the company.
Shrewsbury has installed a new 4 metre plate saws last September and there is a further CNC plate saw on order which will replace one of the older machines in Shrewsbury which will be refurbished and transferred to Bristol giving them two plate saws. Shrewsbury has also installed an extra bar saw. By April this year the company will have Nine Plate Saws and Eight Bar saws and will give the entire group a headroom on capacity.
As well as increasing the amount of delivery vehicles in the company We have a very close partnership with a Local Transport company that will be developing our routes throughout the whole of the UK and operating out all inter branch transfers
Effects and Differences to customers
Clearly the investment made in the company has had an immediate effect in handling the growth and in helping to improve the overall performance. Helping to get the customer the short-term delivery it requires in a very inconsistent market.
With growth comes new staff which can bring fresh issues however to counter this we review your account monthly and we have implemented a training session to every new starter in the warehouse to reduce the risk of errors. There will always be challenges and issues to overcome however if an issue is bought to our attention, our internal system ensures that a full investigation takes place internally with an action plan to reduce the risk of a reoccurrence.
Market & Brexit
As I write we are in the middle of the most unstable times for business in the UK probably ever. The swings in currency alone can cause differences of thousands of pounds and this is mostly due to Brexit. Considering the volume of material that we buy, it is becoming more problematic to understand a future cost when you do not know what the future value of the currency. It is currency and delays at the ports that I consider the main impacts to our business which in turn will affect our customers.
To make some attempt to overcome these problems, and take some of the drama and worry away from our customers, SSA has worked very closely with its suppliers and has made substantial increases to its stocks and the amount on order which we have been building since the beginning of 2018. We have also transferred some supply closer to home within the shores of the UK on shorter delivery times. This will take away the risk of running out of stock which I believe the biggest threat to businesses within this period of time. SSA Shrewsbury took delivery of 500 tonnes in December alone.
With Brexit to one side there are further complications which potentially threaten the continuity of supply with the trade issues between USA and China.
We have done all this and have still kept to our European stock only policy.
In summary I feel the addition of the Northern Ireland site has improved the supply that the company’s customers in England and Wales receive to another level. Freeing capacity and thus bringing the delivery time down from 4/5 days to Next day/2 days and in some cases same day.
At present we working of historical orders over the previous 3 months to arrive at our stock levels. Going forward I feel better communication between SSA and the customers purchasing teams would benefit the whole supply chain. As ever we would welcome any input to how SSA can continue to improve to benefit its customer.