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Supply chain in spotlight more than ever before

A creaking supply chain shows no signs of abating due to continuing demand for home improvements and construction projects being given the green light after being postponed last year. Here, CDW Systems’ group Chairman Jeremy Phillips discusses the ongoing impact on the industry, and how companies can manage the stress being put on them.

Exceptional demand is something all businesses crave but as our industry has seen over the last 12 months, that has created its own challenges, especially when it comes to the manufacturing supply chain.

Things evolve, of course; as one of UK’s longest running aluminium specialists and manufactures of high-quality window, door, and curtain wall systems, we have seen supply chains become more complex in the last three decades due to changing markets and emerging technologies.

Despite this, however, it’s safe to say that supply chains in the fenestration industry have never been so in the spotlight as they are now.

From helping consumers build up unprecedented wealth over the last 18 months to spend on home improvements, to Covid testing delays at British and European ports and self-isolation, the pandemic has been the main driver of the crisis.

But it is far from the only factor. While Covid has led to production stoppages across the world, the uncertainty of UK-EU trading relationships has added growing pressure, while a Brexit-induced nationwide shortage of HGV drivers is making existing problems even worse.

Incredibly high demand and tight supply on raw materials such as glass are seeing prices increasing, while delivery delays and missing materials are meaning extended lead times.

And with all market indicators suggesting that demand is not going to ease anytime soon, there is set to be further shortages hitting our industry in the coming weeks and lead times extending further.

It means businesses will need to build some resilience into their supply chain to help find the right balance between supply and keeping up with demand.


With customers ready to move ahead with projects while having to juggle to meet start dates, keeping in constant touch and communicating everything will help ensure expectations are managed.

At CDW Systems we have been clear to all our customers about lead times and the potential for delays.

Planning ahead

Delays on the delivery of goods and materials makes it challenging for everyone in the supply chain to plan ahead, but planning as much as you can, will help mitigate problems for customers.

We have discussed with our major systems supplier about securing materials and they have asked us to give them as many forward orders as we can, meaning our customers will be at the head of the queue.  They will tell us what is likely to go short so we can look at our order book and see what to order going ahead.


Diversifying, rather than relying on a single supplier, will help ease the stress of any unforeseen disruptions. With Covid cases slowly on the rise again, and many businesses across the country being hit by the ‘pingdemic,’ companies in the supply chain could be vulnerable from having to close their doors for a week to 10 days, which would cause a huge problem.

At CDW Systems we decided to spread the risk by having several different suppliers so if one had a problem then we were able to cope.

Established in 1992, CDW Systems is one of the UK’s longest running aluminium specialists and manufactures and supplies high-quality aluminium window, door and curtain wall systems for trade and commercial installers across the country. CDW System’s full range is backed by comprehensive pre-sales support and full technical back-up. For more information visit or call 01452 414853.

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Why choose CDW Systems as your aluminium supplier?

Having been in business since 1992 you will be working with an industry leading aluminium expert that has delivered products for some of the UK’s most demanding projects.

With CDW Systems as your supplier you will get a company with:

  • Outstanding Customer Service
  • Over 25 years as an industry leader
  • High Quality aluminium products
  • Full technical support
  • Dedicated delivery vans
  • Competitively priced products
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