'Britain becoming a nation of stock-keepers' warning

4 January 2001
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04 January 2001 | Cathy Hayward

Firms are abandoning just-in-time practices and keeping high levels of stock, according to new research by corporate barter firm Active International.

Almost three-quarters of respondents said they regularly stored 5 per cent of annual stock, while just under 9 per cent said unused stock was more than 10 per cent of the total.

"Just-in-time is not something we come across much anymore," said Tim Glover, managing director of Active International, which has barter clients across many sectors. "Firms are realising they have to have large levels of stock to compete."

Manufacturing and distribution companies stockpile a lot, while service companies are less likely to retain stock. But the construction industry is the biggest hoarder, with 34 per cent of construction insiders claiming they regularly held well over 10 per cent of stock.

But construction industry experts doubted the claim. Don Ward, chief executive of trade body the Construction Industry Board, said the logistics of the industry meant little stock was ever held, due to lack of space.

Roy Morledge, head of the faculty of construction and the environment at Nottingham Trent University, agreed. "If such high levels of stock are being stored, the industry should be questioning whether the supply chain can be run in the same way," he said.

The survey, by NOP, was based on interviews with 201 British companies with a turnover of more than £1 million.

SMjan2001

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