CEL Ningbo's positive message regarding the Coronavirus

3rd Mar '20

Coronavirus UK Update

In our latest supply update – in the wake of coronavirus concerns – we are delighted to confirm our factories in China are in the process or returning to work. We are grateful to share good news, however our latest coronavirus UK update acknowledges that there is still lots of supply management and risk control to be done.

With coronavirus concerns being reported every moment of the day, all UK OEMs are feeling the strain. Whether brands are manufacturing components and products offshore, or producing everything here in the UK, we want to encourage all of us to work in partnership. We need to protect the health of our economy too and keep the wheels of industry turning.

The latest numbers

The UK industry is now faced with coronavirus stories on their doorstep, with Boris Johnson stepping into the ring over the last couple of days to share Government ‘battle plans’.

The backdrop to Covid-19 is ever changing. Today it is 51 people infected from the UK’s 67.8 million population. A very small number, but the fear is that it could escalate. Plus, if schools are closed many people will be faced with childcare issues, and there is still confusion about what criteria would require self isolation, and how all of this will impact our ability to deliver goods and services.

At CEL Group we remain calm, but concerned. We continue to focus on managing the supply risks for our customers and ensuring good communication on stock levels continues. Health and safety is paramount for all our staff and partners too.

Reopening factories in China

Amidst the worrying news in the office that even football matches might be cancelled, we can all take some cheer from the fact that our colleagues in China are starting to get back to work.

The process is being managed by Local Governments, who have implemented a number of safety procedures. All our staff in China are required to work in masks at the moment and we will continue to adapt to new safety recommendations as these are advised.

UK supply management

The return to work after Chinese New Year 2020 has been much slower than the manufacturing world would have liked. However, many of our customers benefit from having three to four months’ worth of stock stored in our UK warehouse, based in Shropshire.

Stock levels, as usual at CEL Group, were increased before CNY 2020. This prevents any disruption to production schedules from the long holiday. This has been beneficial in enabling us to manage component and product supply, despite the late return. We are all grateful that the cogs are beginning to turn again. We have been busy unloading pre-Chinese New Year containers and dispatching lots of stock from our UK Warehouse. Our first container, post CNY, headed out of our Ningbo factory a couple of days ago. Bishu Wang, the Managing Director at CEL Ningbo, suggested we celebrate by posting one of his inspirational wall quotes from the factory – Grateful Heart – which you can see featured at the top of this update.

Open for business

Simon Cartwright, CEL Group Sales Director, is firm in his belief that businesses should remain positive. “We hope businesses continue to function as normal, or as close to normal, as possible. Let’s not let media negativity and alarm about the potential spread of Covid-19 damage healthy bottom-lines and growth plans. With the Government understandably wading in with some ‘positioning’ rhetoric, we really don’t want to make the crisis any worse by creating an unnecessary economic downward spiral.”

“Good hygiene advice and practice is in place at our UK HQ. With cloud-based systems we can work smartly.. Many of our customers have taken similar management actions too, including a recommendation to, sadly, refrain from using our customary hand shake greeting. Adapting to new short-term business practice is essential.”

He concludes, “Businesses are stronger together. Which is why we want to encourage everyone in partnership to support controlled management of the crisis so that we keep the wheels of industry turning and our economy healthy.”

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