Have you opened the factory yet? No one seems to have any stock of Hope products.
More and more we are being asked these questions regarding availability and supply. Although we closed following the first lockdown in the UK, we slowly opened again during April with COVID secure measures in place. These measures did initially restrict our production although we gradually managed to get manufacturing back to pre COVID levels.
By this time, the boom in cycling had really taken hold and all our distributors and retailers were clamouring for product from all their suppliers, but the story is very different in many parts of the economy.
Locally we are also seeing the other side of this with Rolls Royce, BAe and many of their subcontractors in the area announcing layoffs and factory closures following the huge downturn in the civilian aerospace market.
With this at the forefront of our minds we are still very cautious in any expansion of staff and production capacity, although since the summer we have been investing in new machinery and taking on manufacturing staff to scale up the production. The total investment so far has been around £1.5 million. The factory already operated 24-7 but we are adding additional staff to some of the night shifts to help increase production. To help with efficiency we have also paused some of our new product launches, but we hope to bring these exciting new products to market sometime next year.
So back to the original question, why is there no stock in shops?
Our recent expansion still has not satisfied the demand for Hope products. With our passion for keeping all production on site in Barnoldswick, there will always be a restriction on annual growth. We are still not comfortable sub-contract any of our production and losing control of quality.
All manufacturers globally are having issues with demand outstripping supply and shops are continually searching for manufacturers and distributors who have stock. We are now receiving enquires from shops who have never dealt with us before, looking for any stock to sell.
Although we are shipping out around 25-30% more product than last year, we are seeing the current demand growing by well over 100%. Inevitably this mismatch will lead to shortages in some shops. We are trying to ensure products are available to all retailers and therefore to customers globally, we are sorry but there are sometimes some issues. We are not alone in this problem as all bike part manufacturers are having issues. Commercially it is a great problem to have, but reputationally not so good. Please note we still do not sell Hope products direct to consumers as we still hold huge value in the advice and expertise of your local bike shop. We are trying to keep retailers updated on delivery times, so they are still a customer's first point of contact.
Thank you for your support and understanding at these difficult times and we look forward to being able to meet on the trails once again.
Photos: Roo Fowler