The outbreak and spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) poses a major threat to public health, but it also has the potential to disrupt the world economy. China is critical to the global supply chain, particularly in the electronics industry, and as a company that works closely with suppliers in the Far East we are taking the situation very seriously.
At present we are experiencing no shortages or delays in shipments from the Far East, but it must be appreciated that this is a quiet time of the year, with the usual slowdown because of the Chinese New Year. We will not start to see the true impact until April or May when shipments usually return to normal. With many areas of the country in lockdown, Chinese manufacturing is struggling for supplies of materials, workers and markets, with output suffering significant decline. How long and how deep this will continue is not something we can predict.
As an electronics distribution company Rapid Electronics is obviously concerned about the spread of Coronavirus and what effect it may have on our ability to fulfil all of our commitments to customers. We hold significant volume of fast moving and long lead time stock as a matter of course, and luckily we are an agile business that have systems in place to react quickly to changing circumstances. We are actively looking at ways to source products from elsewhere in the world if the need arises, but at present we are not experiencing any shortages.
Recent experience with Brexit preparation has helped to some extent, as we had already invested heavily in inventory in the event of disruption to trade. We also provide a service called Long Term Stock Agreements
, which provides customers with greater control over their ongoing supply. These programmes have been designed to protect important parts of a customer’s supply chain, mitigating against potential price increases and/or delays caused by stock availability by buying 100% of stock needs upfront.
How can you contact us or place orders?
- Live Web Chat. Our sales line has been temporarily replaced by our Live Web Chat service, which can be used by customers to contact our Customer Experience, Customer Services, Sales, Website and Technical staff, who are working remotely. You can access this service on our website from the 'Can we help?' prompt (pictured) at the bottom right of the site. This service will be staffed from 8am-5pm Monday to Friday. It will be available to log your enquiry outside of these times and it will be attended to as soon as possible when business hours reopen.
- Online. Rapid’s website remains, as ever, the easiest, most contactless way to order from us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As mentioned above, orders may not despatched as quickly as standard, although next-day services are still available unless otherwise specified.
In terms of products that are in high demand because of Coronavirus, such as face masks and respiratory equipment
, like all suppliers we are seeing these become unavailable at short notice and subsequent indefinite periods of replenishment.
The UK is likely to be affected with an increasing number of cases of Coronavirus in the following weeks, and Rapid is following UK government guidelines for businesses to prevent the spread of the infection. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide regular updates on how it may affect the way our business operates. If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.