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SPOTLIGHT > North America

B&C > Construction 4.0

REPORT > Metalworking UK

5 take-homes from Torque-Expo Telford

1) The fastener industry was happy to be ‘back in the room’. The global fastener show calendar has understandably been stuttering since the start of the pandemic. So, to get a good selection of the fastener industry in the same room felt just a little bit special. And we’ve not been getting out much, so it was also nice to let our hair down with the industry in the networking evening.

2) Is business tailing off? The jury is out. Armed with reports that there might be some kind of recent weakening in the market, I traipsed around the show floor quizzing exhibitors. But there was no clear verdict. Some saw the market become flat in the last month or two. Others, including manufacturers, said it was still very busy and they were even dealing with a backlog. Speaking to many different types of business, however, there was a feeling of being grateful to still being in business after some truly dire months and quarters experienced since covid began.

3) Recruitment remains a big challenge. If you’ve recently tried to bring in more staff or replace anyone then it seems it was probably not a fast or straightforward process. Finding quality candidates for vacancies seems, universally, to be as difficult as it has ever been, if not worse.

4) Offshoring is on topic, but more a discussion point than a reality. Disruption, anti-dumping, Brexit… certainly the long distance supply chain has not had the simplest of times in recent years. The onshoring of fastener manufacturing was a topic that cropped up in different discussions during the show, but within reason – there were no claims of moving to solely UK or nearby-produced fasteners. No one took me aside to promise they were removing Far East fasteners from their sourcing mix.

5) Brexit ramifications. Brexit was not a huge talking point at the show in itself, however the ramifications of the UK’s exit from the EU are still making waves. UKCA marking is one such impact and a seminar tackling the topic was among the best attended on the day, indicating some unease and need for education and clarity in this area. Stick around for more show insights in this issue (and in future editions) of Torque Magazine.

Jonathon Harker