Since the beginning of 2019 we have supported our customers’ increased demand for Thistle plaster and Gyproc plasterboard as part of their overall drylining requirements. We are taking all opportunities to supply as much product as possible as quickly as we can, but whilst there remains an imbalance between demand and supply for Thistle plaster and Gyproc plasterboard, we will continue to support our customers with new ways of working.
The latest economic data (May 19) from the Construction Products Association shows that construction new work output for Q1 2019 was the same as Q4 2018. The demand that we have seen therefore has not been driven by market growth. We work closely with our customers to understand and fulfil their agreed demand requirements for BG products, as joint forecasting helps us to manage sustainable supply of our products.
Compared to the first 5 months of 2018, we have despatched an additional 2,800 trailer loads of Gyproc plasterboard and Thistle plaster to our customers this year. We’ve already implemented all possible short term measures to increase output and are reviewing all planned maintenance, whilst ensuring that the health and safety of our colleagues remains our first priority. Medium term measures to increase output are underway.
As part of the Saint-Gobain Group we are actively importing where we can from sister Saint-Gobain companies based on three criteria (1) Available capacity. (2) The plasterboard composition is comparable to our UK manufactured Gyproc plasterboard. (3) That any imported plasterboard is system tested by British Gypsum to provide the verified structural, fire and acoustic performance warranted by SpecSure®.
We continue to work closely with our customers to understand and fulfil their agreed demand requirements for British Gypsum products. To ensure a fair distribution of supply to all of our customers, we have implemented a process of allocation for plasterboard based upon historical ordering patterns.
Before implementing plasterboard allocation, increased lead time for Gyproc plasterboards resulted in a higher demand for composite loads containing Thistle plaster. Greater use of Gyproc plasterboard has also generated more demand for a Thistle plaster system finish to achieve our unique SpecSure® warranty. This has resulted in reduced stock for Thistle plasters.
As our stock levels have reduced we have not been able to uphold our next day delivery service to our merchant and distribution customers – our lead time for Thistle Plaster is extended. To avoid disappointing installer customers, naturally our merchants and distribution customers are placing orders for future delivery, based on our temporary extended lead time, to ensure they have stock of Thistle plaster available, which currently is further extending lead-times. Our measures to increase output will reduce these lead-times in the future , details and timings will be released as soon as we can confirm.
We have also bolstered our customer service team to answer as many enquiries as possible, but obviously call volumes are high, resulting in longer average call times than we would like. Our website carries the latest information on Thistle plaster and Gyproc plasterboard product supply, and customers now have the option of contacting us via a dedicated form on our website – see opposite.
“We are doing everything we can to put as much Thistle plaster and Gyproc plasterboard as possible into the market without compromising quality.”
Matt Pullen, MD, British Gypsum