As we step into Q1 2024, it’s crucial to reflect on the recent developments that have shaped the sheet metal supply chain and give a few tips on what’s coming up. For companies engaged in manufacturing products with metal components, these insights can be helpful for the months ahead.


Upcoming events

The Engineering Supply Chain Show, scheduled for 15th-19th April, presents a significant opportunity to boost reshoring initiatives from Asia to Europe. This event serves as a platform to spotlight high-quality engineering subcontractors based in the UK. The emphasis on high-quality UK-based supply chains aligns with the reshoring trend, providing a great chance for businesses to consider bringing their metal manufacturing operations to the UK.

The upcoming UK Metal Expo, scheduled for 11th-12th September 2024, will cover a wide spectrum, including primary metal manufacturing, supply chain management, metal processing, fabrication, machinery, engineering, surface coatings, and recycling.


Navigating Geopolitical Issues

Remembering to factor in Global metal supply chain challenges like recent conflicts is key to managing supply chains effectively. The ongoing Ukraine war and Israel-Palestine conflict have disrupted metal flow across borders. Attacks on Red Sea shipping vessels led to longer shipping routes, posing challenges for timely sheet metal deliveries. These uncertainties highlight the need for UK manufacturers to reassess the supply chain challenges and stay adaptable amid global changes.


The Rising Costs

Another thing to factor in for metal supply chain management is the escalating energy costs and a surge in inflation rates, causing an uptick in steel production expenses. While this initially challenged manufacturers, recent signs indicate stabilisation. Anticipated Bank of England interest rate cuts in mid-2024 might lower costs. Despite a slow recovery from last year’s shallow recession, the industry aims for steadier ground amid ongoing cost challenges and economic growth.

Another thing to factor in when developing a supply chain strategy is the unpredictability of the UK government’s decision-making. Which has further fuelled the escalation of costs, particularly in the aftermath of less-than-favourable trade deals post-Brexit. The uncertainties surrounding the political landscape, coupled with the impending general election on the horizon, indicate that costs for metal suppliers are likely to remain in an unsteady state.


Greener Metal Production

Lastly, understanding the green credentials is a big part of supply chain strategies in the coming years. New regulations promoting greener metal production are reshaping the industry. Port Talbot steelworks‘ closure for eco-friendly furnace installation disrupts metal supply chains, but outsourcing to Europe can mitigate this.

The EU leads in enforcing strict environmental norms for metal processing plants, causing temporary disruptions. However, after implementation, the industry is expected to stabilise. The new norms mandate a reduction in environmental impact for around 1,400 EU ferrous metals processing plants, with a 4-year compliance window for existing installations.


ADS Laser’s Commitment to Seamless Steel Solution

In the midst of the unpredictable global supply chain disruptions, we are committed to proactive supply chain management strategies. With ADS Laser as your strategic partner, you not only gain access to real-time information but also receive valuable insights into market trends, equipping you to make informed decisions for your business.

Become stronger with ADS Laser Cutting, where our commitment to staying ahead of supply chain trends is a promise to ensure your success in the face of industry challenges.


ADS Laser Cutting is the Premier Metal Laser Cutting, Folding, Fabrication, Finishing and Assembly in the UK. Providing Bespoke to Volume Solutions.

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