Updates From Our MD - Sam Gompels

Updates From Our MD - Sam Gompels



Making space


The situation has not drastically changed from the September update.  Our focus over the month has been two fold.

  • Do what we can to avoid opportunistic price rises by a few suppliers and service providers.  We get that prices need to go up, sometimes drastically but making sure that there is full justification for the scale of the increase is key.
  • Increasing stock holdings on lines where we feel that there is scope for supply issues.  We have allocated a further 2000 pallet spaces to hold additional stock and the funds to fill the space with as much stock as possible.  This will help hold off any future price rises and mean that we have stock should there be a supply interruption on a key line.
  • Our crystal ball is not perfect.  Currently we have 98.6% of our products in stock and ready for next day delivery. Most of the products that we are missing are classed as non essential.  We hope life goes on without bark squares for arts and crafts.  Our aim is to always find an alternative for critical products so that you are not faced with a major problem.  We see our role as being your procurement department who moves heaven and earth to keep you supplied.

General stock update
We continue to fight supplier out of stocks and plugging gaps where possible but the main issues are:

  • UK importers have no stock on the floor, so they physically can't supply. They are impacted by delayed shipments or their decision to reduce order frequency whilst raw materials and freight costs are so high
  • Paper mill costs have rocketed due to gas increases. This has increased prices for the converters. Secondly, raw materials are stuck at the ports due to lack of transport. This has led to shortages of blue paper in particular. All paper products have been affected
  • We are receiving daily price increases across our full product range. Inflationary pressures such as energy, transport and raw materials appear out of control, with many factories offering no notice for increases and refusal to supply without accepting
  • Vinyl gloves - Our factories are slowing down production due to energy restrictions imposed by the Chinese government. All orders are delayed, so we are doing what we can to get them shipped asap. Pricing is on the up again

Climate change
A surprisingly helpful website from the Government on Climate change and Environmental impact.  There are lots there so make sure you have enough time to take a good look. https://businessclimatehub.org/uk/

Website updates
During the month, we have been busy updating our website:



COVID Calamity


Surprises from the COVID calamity continue to create chaos in the economy. The COVID storm is now presenting very real supply chain challenges for everyone and this really is not business as usual:

  • A shortage of drivers and workers in general means deliveries will be bumpy. If a driver does not turn up for work, there are no reserves and most companies are short anyway and yet over promise and under deliver
  • COVID outbreaks are happening and that can leave for example, depot teams struggling to work at even half the normal capacity
  • Container prices from the Far East remain at record high levels of up to £20,000 that can mean that goods can cost 2- 3x more than they used to if you can get space on a boat
  • UK producers are working flat out and facing supply restrictions, labour restrictions and price increases.  The knock on effects are huge
  • Supplier lead times can jump from weeks to months in the space of days

Sadly, like COVID, few people/companies are immune and despite much bravado, even the mighty can have trouble.

Behind the Scenes
Behind the scenes, Gompels are working hard to mitigate the worst effects.  You know you have the right supplier when:

  • They are insisting on masks for all employees at work to minimise the risk of having an outbreak.  Pickers walking 15km per day in a mask are making a real sacrifice in the name of continuity
  • Stock holdings are running at 3x the normal level so that we have the greatest possible chance of being able to bridge gaps in supplies arriving
  • Plans are in place to shut the website to new customers so that existing customers can be protected and kept well supplied
  • Three delivery partners are used every day so we can pull on their strengths and send freight out with greater reliability
  • The purchasing team have been able to switch major lines from Chinese sourcing to UK/European sources so that there are no supply interruptions
  • There is the option for you to have a stock reserve facility so that you can "put your name on our stock" and be sure that it is available for when you need it.  Please contact nathan.brown@gompels.co.uk for more information
  • There is openness and honesty about the problems we face

Going forward
Our expectation is that the situation will not ease until at least Spring next year.  There are the pleasures of Christmas and Chinese New Year to get through.  A high percentage of products that you buy are either made in the Far East or have a component not made in the UK.  That exposes everyone to the trouble in world trade and "post" COVID recovery Britain.

Help Us To Help You
The Help Hub is a great way to ask us a question and we will respond within a couple of hours.  It is quicker for you than using the phone and helps us to sort the problems and get back to you pronto.

Spooky Halloween Crafts
Be sure to check out our arts and crafts range for some Halloween ideas!



Have we got stock for you?


Just in time logistics is all very well when supply chains are running smoothly and there are no Brexits, Covids or shipping issues. Sadly, the last few years have taught us that stock is key to surviving a perfect storm. That is why we have more than doubled our stock holding and filled up every available pallet space with as much stock as possible. All 10,000 spaces at our main logistics hub are earning its keep and making sure that we are doing what we can to keep you fully supported through thick and thin. This time last year, we were just opening up to new customers having reserved all our stock for loyal regular customers. We hope that things do not get that bad ever again, but we have to be alert to the possibility and whilst we welcome new customers today, when they try to take all the stock that we have, we will shut the doors.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
With a national shortage of drivers and whole teams being told to isolate at a moments notice, it is almost impossible to guarantee that service will not be a little bumpy over the coming months. We have one of the most resilient delivery networks possible. Three different companies, with three different networks all striving to provide a next day delivery service. We can pull on their strengths and move freight around when one has problems. We are however seeing everyone struggle and the purpose of these newsletters is to keep you in the picture. When you are in a desperate hurry, you can be sure that is the one time the delivery will be delayed. Our advice to all our customers is to stock up a little and be ready for the Covid curse to continue.

Price of a container from China was $2500, now $18,000. When the value of stock in the container is $15,000 then the Cost price of the stock is going to be double. Low value bulky products are going to suffer the most.... products like bins, facial tissues and black sacks. Reshoring to the UK many of the items produced in the Far East is possible, but we are seeing vastly increased supply times as the UK does not have huge amounts of reserve capacity just waiting to be brought into production. Most companies can increase by 20 to 50% but not 3x or 5x in the space of months.

CO2 Monitors
Fresh air is now known to be one of the great ways of stopping the spread of Covid. Measuring freshness is easy with a CO2 monitor. Whilst normal outdoor CO2 levels are around 450 parts per million, an indoor room with several people in (such as an office) and poor ventilation will rapidly rise to over 2000ppm. Recent information from the Covid SAGE committee has advocated indoor CO2 levels should not exceed 1000ppm, thus ensuring sufficient "fresh" air is circulating. Portable monitors are available and cost £60 (ex.VAT)

Identifying Poorly Ventilated Areas HSE Guidance

REHVA Covid-19 Guidance Directory




We are experiencing some delivery bumps as the couriers fight driver shortages and use a higher percentage of agency drivers.  It is unfortunate and we are doing what we can to mitigate any issues.  With record volumes in the networks and an economy in overdrive, we remain vigilant.

Card Payments
On the 17th June, our card processing provider was unable to process your card transactions.  It is one of those outages that we can do very little about but we did manage to ship all orders normally that evening for next day delivery.

To maintain security for your payments, we have now rolled out a new level of payment processing security.  That does mean that sometimes you will be asked for confirmation by phone or text messages of payments made.  Any problems please let us know.  Regular customers can set up a credit account and pay by direct debit.  It works really well for 1000's of our customers.

Internet Explorer
Particularly the older versions are becoming obsolete and may make the website work bumpily or not at all.  Whilst we can try to keep it all working, we would encourage you to update your browser to a newer more secure version.

Logging in
Changes to the login and checkout on the website are intended to make your journey smoother and more in line with common practice.  We hope it works for you.

What goes up, must come down
Many parts of the economy are beginning to see shortages of supply and rising prices.  Sadly, the daily disposables and janitorial markets are no different.  A perfect storm has brewed a beauty that takes some believing 

  •  World freight movements mean that there is a lack of empty containers in China
  •  Shipping lines make more money on China >> USA routes so they divert there ships
  •  The Ever Given ship stuck in the Suez started the ball rolling
  •  Pre Covid several shipping lines went out of business
  •  A port blocked with containers cannot unload or reload a ship efficiently so a bad situation gets worse

The net effect is that the cost of bringing a container back from the Far East is now running at £15,000.  That can be more than the cost of the contents !  Whilst we are making every effort to buy the same products in the UK or Europe, everyone is trying the same thing so lead times are going up and up.

The situation could take until this time next year to play out.  There is nothing like a shortage to boost demand, that will probably last for the summer 2021, come the autumn, Christmas stock will be taking up lots of capacity.  That is followed by a surge in freight trying to get out of China before the Chinese New Year in February.

On the plus side, we have done our usual and stocked up as much as we dare so that we can keep you supplied. If things get notably worse then we will protect our stock for our regular customers and do our very best to keep you well supplied all the way through.  We managed it in Round I and expect to be well placed for Round II



Sunny Side Up


For the time being at least, it appears that COVID is firmly in the box and there is a sense of normality returning to life.  Finally, we are getting some consistent data appearing that lets us forecast demand and make accurate orders.  You will have been frustrated by the number of product code changes that have been happening.  There has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes to make sure that we have products in stock for you every day of the week.  When demand is all over the place and supplies take up to 16 weeks to arrive, there is a limit to how consistent we can be.  The good news is that over the summer we should be able to start reducing the number of changes. 

Events like the Ever Given container ship getting stuck in the Suez canal have however only compounded the problem.  Now all the boats and containers are bunched up and getting space on a boat can involve waiting weeks rather than days.  To cope with all of this, we have tripled the value of the stock that we hold and will continue to patch in other codes/stock whenever we can.  We see our role as being your purchasing agent and that means we have to have stock available for when you need it.

Supply issues are easing but free PPE from Government is creating huge problems in the market

No issues

Antibac wipes and sprays
No issues

Non woven product like wipes and cloths
Some delays as world mask usage sucks in volume

Powder paints
The supplier has ceased production as a result of having very small premises that were not COVID friendly

Freight rates from China
Currently running at about £5000-6000 per container, normally £2000-3000

UK suppliers
Generally good and back to normal, but like vaccines, supply chains can be dependent on parts from all around the world

Apart from some extra admin, no real effect on supplies from Europe

The office team
Mostly working from our bright and airy offices, nicely socially distant with CO2 monitoring to make sure the air is fresh

The warehouse team
Still working on 2 shifts so that we can keep the numbers lower in the warehouse

Cut-off time
Last orders is currently 3pm because of the shifts, but if it is urgent please call and we will do our best to help up to 5pm

Generally working well despite having a 30% increase in business from changes in ordering patterns by consumers

Stock reserves
If you would like to guarantee stock availability then we have a unique facility that will reserve our stock just for your sites in the event of any supply problems.  Please send an email to fiona.shearn@gompels.co.uk if you would like any further information.  The minimum reserve is £10,000 of stock and there is a monthly cost of 3% for the storage and cash tied up.

Our favourite COVID website
We are very pleased to be in Wiltshire with very low infection rates

Recent innovations on the website
You can now raise your concerns online and get a response by email.  Customers are finding that it works really well and the response time is usually under 2 hours.


Our service of the month is our new carbon offsetting tool!

Co2 Offset
You can offset the Carbon dioxide or equivalent global warming gas of your order at checkout time.  We have teamed up with a company who provides carbon credits at a very reasonable rate and added the facility to offset the products that you are buying at the web check out stage.  Take a look at the community projects here



Covid Hangover Party


It feels a bit like it.  We may have Covid under control, the Chinese are back from their 3 week mega shutdown for their New Year celebrations and Brexit is so far not having much effect on our supply lines.  We are however still suffering a headache on a few fronts

  •  Nitrile and latex gloves are still at crazy prices because world production has not yet caught up with world demand
  •  Vinyl gloves are in abundant supply because of the government's decision to offer free PPE to care homes.  However the prices paid to the factories for these gloves was huge as they were purchased at the peak of the pandemic
  •  A few stock lines are not available because containers that normally take 4 weeks have been taking 8+ weeks to arrive
  •  Prices on many lines are creeping up to pay for the extra costs of freight (containers rose from £2000 to £12,000 each just for transport).  Many of our suppliers are putting on surcharges and we can understand why!  The value of the stock held in some containers filled with tissue or plastic cups for instance, is only worth about £10,000, the freight prices will more than double the cost price.
  •  It is difficult to know from day to day what the demand or the overall volume of business will be.  Surging demand for a product can reduce what would normally be a couple of months' worth of stock, down to a stock shortage in just a few weeks

Despite the challenges, all customers' orders placed before 3pm are being shipped on a Next working day service.  The carriers are working well and have ironed out most of their kinks associated with a surge in online orders.  Our stock levels have never been higher as we have managed to build up our buffers.  This means that with the exception of just a few problematic stock lines, we are fulfilling almost every order on time and in full.

New this month is the ability to offset the Carbon dioxide or equivalent global warming gas of your order at checkout time.  We have teamed up with a company who provides carbon credits at a very reasonable rate and added the facility to offset the products that you are buying at the web check out stage.  Certificates will then be available for you to download and print on an annual basis.

Lockdown Monotony


Lockdown monotony can hide a lot of hard work that is going on beneath the surface. We are pleased to be able to support our customers who are open.  We know how hard it can be to keep the show on the road and give a seamless experience to your customers.

Not too much has changed from last months update

  • The warehouse is dispatching all orders on time and in full every day, provided we receive it before 3pm.  Deliveries are good
  •  We have 97%+ of lines in stock and ready to be picked for you
  •  There are too many code/product changes for our liking but this is because we are doing our best to patch up any stock shortfalls with temporary supplies from other sources
  •  Vinyl gloves have now dropped from £6.40 to £5.49/100 as we see the first signs of glove prices reducing.  All of our customers will benefit from this reduction and we hope to be able to keep the prices falling over the coming months
  •  February also saw price reductions on many other lines from face masks to antibac cleaner
  •  Nitrile and latex glove prices reflect the difficulties of maintaining supplies.  If we don't pay, we have no stock.  The factories have had Covid outbreaks and world demand is still massive for latex and nitrile in particular
  •  Container delays have led to some wipes going out of stock but we have it well covered with stock from other suppliers
  •  Our stocks in the warehouse have never been higher in terms of volume and value so we are as well placed as we can be for the next perfect storm
  •  The cost of bringing containers from China and the far East remain at record levels and this will inevitably affect pricing in the future
  •  Chinese New Year is on the 12th February and isolation requirements in China are likely to make the shutdown longer than usual.  Hopefully the festivities will not create too many outbreaks that result in areas of China going into full lockdown
  •  Our staff are testing themselves at home on a Monday and Wednesday for Covid using our lateral flow tests, they are an effective screening technique for a mostly healthy population

Our mission throughout the crisis has been to be to keep our loyal customers supplied as best we can through thick and thin.  If that means closing the door to new customers and re-introducing our PPE+ Pass system then we will do so in order to preserve our stocks.  We exist because you are good enough to choose Gompels as your supplier and we will do our best to repay that when things get difficult.  Hopefully those days are behind us, but we cannot be sure.

To help remote working and to make life easier for you, we now have a comprehensive online Concerns system that guarantees you a quick response and is soooo much quicker than ringing up.  If goods are missing or damaged, we want to know and put it right as soon as possible.


Cautiously optimistic


Knowing what COVID is going to throw at us next is at best a game of guesses and often results in being totally wrong.  Right now, the biggest issue that we are facing is massively high sea freight rates.  In normal times, it costs about £2,000 to bring a container from China.  Today, that price is nearer £14,000 and it is likely to take twice as long as normal to arrive.  Supply chains were already stretched and this has stretched them further than we ever expected.  Prices of some bulky low value Far East products will inevitably have to rise.  As always, we will do our very best to keep the lid on those rises and bring them back down just as soon as we can re-source the products from the UK or get cheaper freight rates.

Fortunately, our stock buffers are enabling us to keep up with our same day dispatch (3pm cut-off) and we do not envisage any critical product outages over the next month or so.  97.6% of lines are as of today (5th Jan 2020) in stock and available for immediate delivery.  Despite best efforts, we have not been able to find options to navigate around a worldwide shortage of large (blue) and  extra large gloves.  Brexit remains an unknown quantity and we may be in the lull before the storm....or there is no storm and the European imports flow perfectly well.  Either way, we have buffer stocks and have signed up for every government scheme going to keep critical freight moving across the English Channel. 

Our online range of tools continues to grow and we are encouraging all our customers to place orders online,  raise queries online and find all of your invoices ready to download.  Our aim is to be the most efficient, most price competitive supplier on the planet and the more you can use the online services, the lower we can make our prices.  Direct Debit is a huge time saver for us and for you. The Direct Debit guarantee means that instant refunds are available should you not agree with the amount that we take.  Please help us to help you and pay by Direct Debit, it is a good quick win.  


Christmas 2020


As 2020 draws to a close, we shall never forget the year that was Covid, the friends and family that we lost and the tough decisions that had to be taken. We are grateful to all our customers for their patience and understanding throughout. Our guiding light was to look after our regular customers first and foremost so that together we could look after the sick, the frail, the young, the vulnerable and continue our wonderful partnership.

Experiencing unlimited demand for very limited stock was difficult at the best of times. The rule book was useless and the only option was to follow hunches and try desperately not to get too much wrong. PPE passes pretty much saved the day and despite a few moans and groans, they gave us a flood control device that preserved the stock and let the warehouse cope with the massive volumes that were being shipped.

During 2021 we will be doing what we can to bring down prices. We have got most of them down to their pre Covid levels and we will not rest there despite the challenges. Freight rates have doubled recently and long delays in getting on a boat from the Far East have become the norm. On the plus side, the pound is a little stronger and many manufacturers are hungry for volume.

The purchasing team is working overtime to get the limited number of out of stock items back in for you. Supply challenges still poke their ugly head up in the strangest of places and demand is unpredictable. It adds up to a beautiful puzzle that we are striving to solve so that we can continue to supply you with what you need, when you need it. To cope with Brexit, Chinese New Year and who knows what else might come along, our stock levels have been doubled and we are pulling out all the stops to make this difficult time another success.

May we wish you a healthy, happy Christmas full of joy and laughter. Should you need anything then please give us a try and we will do our best to get it to you. Together we care for so many special people who really need us this Christmas. Let's heal the wounds of Covid and enjoy the new normals.


Updated* Situation and outlook for Healthcare supplies 


Now that the government is supplying some of the PPE needs of Care homes and other social care providers, a little of the heat has gone out of the market. That means that orders placed before 2-3pm are nearly always dispatched for next day delivery. There are still many bumps in the supply chains, often in areas that you would least expect . Where we cannot bridge the gaps in supply with our much enlarged stock holding then we endeavour to get supplies from an alternative manufacturer. This invariably results in a stock code change which, although a nuisance does at least mean that we have some stock for you.

Market Outlook

  • Nitrile gloves stocks are limited and shortages are forecast, prices are embarrassingly high
  • Latex and Vinyl gloves, factory prices still rising but stock is arriving regularly
  • Aprons, no problems envisaged
  • Mask prices falling dramatically, we are working seriously hard to have the right quality, price and volumes available for you
  • Alcohol gel and infection control/cleaning chemicals , no shortages envisaged now that production has geared up



Situation and outlook for Healthcare supplies 


It was only last week that I said “The great guessing game has begun in earnest.  Will there be a second wave ? will there be shortages again ?  Do I need to stock up ?”

News of the second wave has once again dramatically increased the demand for PPE.  This time around, we are pleased to report that we have stock, we have supplies arriving regularly and we expect to be able to keep all our regular customers supplied.  In order to make sure that we do not fall behind in the warehouse, we took the decision to temporarily pause the ability for new customers to set up a new account.  We have also applied quantity limits on some product to stop resellers and traders from swiping all the stock.

Market Outlook

  • Nitrile gloves stocks are limited and shortages are forecast, prices are embarrassingly high
  • Latex and Vinyl gloves, factory prices still rising but stock is arriving regularly
  • Aprons, no problems envisaged
  • Mask prices falling dramatically, we are working seriously hard to have the right quality, price and volumes available for you
  • Alcohol gel and infection control/cleaning chemicals , no shortages envisaged now that production has geared up



Planning For Winter


The great guessing game has begun in earnest.  “Will there be a second wave ?” will there be shortages again ?  Do I need to stock up ?

There are few guarantees in life (except death and taxes) but we are confident that we are as well setup as we can be for most of what COVID and Brexit can throw at us.  Over the last few months, we have doubled the value of our stock holding and added a little more for good luck.

Our aim remains the same, to look after our regular customers and do whatever we can to keep you supplied at the best possible prices. 

Stock reserve is a brand new service that we have developed and tested during act I of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is now ready to be rolled out more widely to our customers who would like to have stock held “With your name on it”.  Guaranteed to be yours, financed, stored and rotated.  Ready for you when everyone else is running out. Please send an email to keyaccounts@gompels.co.uk if you are interested.  The cost is 3% per month of the stock value held in reserve with a minimum of £10,000 stock held in the reserve.

Also coming soon is an entirely unique and massively researched environmental dashboard for our caring customers.  It will answer key questions….

  • How much plastic do you purchase ?
  • What is your Ecoindex score ?
  • What can you do to reduce your impact on the environment ?

Keep an eye out for a special invitation to join us on an Environmental journey that will help to save the planet.  We are committed to helping you to making small, simple changes that will have a big impact.

Market outlook

  • Nitrile gloves – Stocks are limited and shortages are forecast
  • Latex and Vinyl gloves – Factory prices still rising but stock is still arriving regularly
  • Aprons – no problems envisaged
  • Masks – Prices falling dramatically, we are working seriously hard to have the right quality, price and volumes available for you.
  • Alcohol gel and infection control/cleaning chemicals – No shortages envisaged now that production has geared up.


Situation and outlook for PPE supplies


Prices continue to rise as supply is not sufficient for worldwide demand and factories can take over a year to build. There is no end in sight for the relentless price rises. Every container that is due to arrive is costing more than the previous one. Most UK distributors have no or little stocks available for "free" sale.

Stocks are beginning to be seen in the market. There are few barriers to production, but aprons should not be a problem long term. It will be almost impossible for recently established UK manufacturers to compete with Chinese suppliers when prices start dropping back to former levels.

Supply does not appear to be a problem. Everyone has geared up, the Chinese government is (at the moment) more relaxed about exports. We are bringing in a mix of containers and airfreight so that we can balance supply with demand. Lead times in China are down to 1-2 weeks in some cases. The requirement to wear face coverings in public along with care homes opening to the public have possibly stoked demand.

Supply and demand are more stable with plenty of manufacturers servicing the market. We envisage no supply issues and prices should continue falling. Visors are now widely available, and we assume not being widely used in Social care settings or supplied for free.

Alcohol Gel
Prices are dropping nicely, and alcohol gel is widely available in most formats. Sales volumes are very high.

What happens later in the year?

Gloves - UK stocks are going to remain very low because it is too expensive to "stock up" when prices are 4-5 times the normal levels. That means that any shortage in supply or increases in demand are likely to result in unmet demand or the need to rely on Government supply.

Masks - Whilst they are now much cheaper to buy, they are still many multiples of the "usual" cost and therefore like gloves it is too dangerous to stock up. Given the number of new entrants into the market and low cost of entry it is not anticipated that prices will rise to their former levels should there be a second spike.

VAT relief on PPE - This is due to stop at the end of October. That may well create a rush to purchase unless there is an extension on the current VAT relief.


Keeping you fully supplied


Keeping you fully supplied is our first priority over the coming months. Our second priority is getting prices back down to pre crisis levels. On both fronts, we are making good progress but there is further to go and many challenges to overcome. Suppliers are still not able to give us all that we order and prices are still high especially where demand far exceeds supply (gloves).

Most products no longer need the PPE+ pass. We are keeping going with the system for now because if there is another surge in demand for a particular product it gives us an effective way of keeping our existing loyal customers supplied. We have many instances of people trying to buy vast quantities of our stocks for selling on. The pass system limits this and keeps the stock available for you.

Service levels are pretty much back to normal with next day delivery for orders placed before 3pm or later and emails being answered in a couple of hours during the working day. Our carrier partners are also in much better shape and generally delivering on a next working day basis.

Thank you for continuing to use Gompels. We sincerely hope that we have helped you through the crisis thus far and can continue to do so. If you have a few minutes, the team loves to have any feedback and comments. It is all read and shared around. Any posts on social media particularly with a link to Gompels.co.uk also help massively to spread the word and keep our costs low.


What goes up will come down!


PPE clarity has been the focus for many of us over the last few months. With demand outstripping supply, we have been faced with higher prices across the board. We always have and always will focus on being able to supply you, our loyal customer, at the best price we can obtain.
We are now seeing some items, such as masks and sanitser, decreasing in price as manufacturing supply catches up with our demand. Our commitment to you is that we pass on these decreases as soon as we are able. We have reduced face masks by 30% in the last month.
There are however some lines, like gloves for example, where pricing is likely to be volatile for some time to come as the worldwide demand continues to surge. Again our commitment to you is that we will supply at the best price possible whilst accepting that we need to keep you supplied.
We will maintain our price transparency.  We have only one price list which everyone is on.   By keeping prices as low as possible, we hopefully get to keep you for the long term and can win new customers.  This has been our model for the last 20 years and we have no intention of changing a winning formula.  No smoke, no mirrors, no fat discounts, just a fair price.  
My order hasn't arrived when I expected it?
Deliveries to you over the last month have been more bumpy than we would have liked.  Carriers have experienced seismic shifts in volumes and type of freight which has impacted on their service levels.  The team are doing their best to minimise the impact of this on a daily basis.  Our warehouse is up-to-date so your order will be dispatched on a same day basis if we receive it before about 3pm.
Thank you for your continued support, we really appreciate it.



Stock forecast for June 2020


Keeping you well supplied with the stock that you require is our primary goal.  Despite enormous efforts and millions of pounds in up-front payments to suppliers to secure stock, we have not quite managed on all fronts.  The demand has been off the scale and what would have been years of stock in normal times can sell in days.  On the whole, most products or a good alternative have been available most of the time.

Whilst Vinyl and latex availability will be fine for those on our PPE+ passes, Nitrile will continue to be unavailable or priced at levels where social care do not want to order (£10-12 per 100)  Prices will continue to rise for all gloves as world demand still massively outstrips supply.

Initial shortages will be fully covered by the middle of June.  Demand is expected to be high.  Prices will probably reach their peak by mid June.

Vast quantities are now arriving by container on a regular basis.  Price declines and increased availability will continue through June.

Wholesale prices of bulk alcohol are decreasing but there is a lack of pumps and bottles.  Suppliers of cartridge systems (Deb and Gojo/Purell) are still unable to service demand.  Stock should be more widely available as the month progresses.

Disinfectants and soaps
As for June, stock should generally be available but with some restrictions to prevent stockpiling whilst supplies are intermittent.

Infection control wipes
The material used in these products has cross over with face masks.  There is also a problem with the supply of tubs.   For June, it will probably be necessary to use a trigger spray and a cleaning cloth to disinfect surfaces.

In general
Supply chains are unreliable and subject to cancellations/delays at any point up to delivery.  Even the most reliable suppliers are having problems.  It is impossible to know what true demand is so even if we could order unlimited quantities there is no guarantee that it will sell.   When you have to pay up front and place more orders before you have sold the first order, the risks are high and continuity of supply uncertain.

Customer demand
The steady care home orders are being met by the “back to work” enquiries for masks and alcohol.  Gloves and PPE in general is also in high demand from chiropodists, physios, dentists and other healthcare sectors.

Delivery and response times
We are receiving a vast number of queries by phone and by email.  Email queries are getting priority over phone calls and we aim to answer emails in within 4-6 hours.  Deliveries are more often than not on a next working day basis but please allow 2-3 days.  Orders placed on the web have the greatest chance of being delivered quickly.


Why price rises can be a good thing


There is a stark choice that we are regularly facing with our manufacturers.  Either we pay a higher price or we get no stock.  To be fair to our suppliers, their costs are going up massively too

  • the price of alcohol hand gel has risen from £800 per tonne to £4000+ per tonne …. if you can actually get hold of it
  • pumps for hand soaps are being flown in by air from China.  It costs about £6000 to air freight 1 pallet of stock!
  • The production capacity is limited and the demand is unlimited.  A glove factory takes a year to build and is ¼ km long!

Relationships are key to getting hold of stock more than ever before.  Fortunately, we have worked hard to build those relationships over many years.  We have drunk the rice wine and eaten the chicken feet.  Visiting suppliers on a regular basis is one of the most important things that we do and it is paying handsome dividends now.

We are doing our best to look after our loyal existing customers because we will not have a business to keep us fed and watered when COVID-19 is over if we do not.

When we put our prices up, it hurts our customers and we feel your pain.  We have also had to pay more!  However, a price rise does mean that we have managed to secure some stock.  And that is the horrible stark choice in this crisis.  Do you want stock or not?



Where do we go from here?


The invitation to order system gave us a chance to breathe and refine the ways in which we cope with unlimited demand for very limited stocks.  We are not enjoying playing God as we decide who gets stock and who does not, but decisions have to be made.   As of week commencing 19th April week we have moved to a PPE+ pass system that gives us the ability to allow our existing recent care customers the chance to order a limited amount of PPE stock lines + other short supply products.  By controlling the frequency and value of the passes, we can match the demand to the stock that is available.

What’s more, this PPE+ pass means that any, new or existing customers can purchase without restrictions products like bins, paints and nappies.

When we are confident about the long-term availability of a product, we can remove the PPE+ flag with its associated restrictions to allow new and existing (Care and non-Care) customers to purchase the product.

The stock situation is changing all the time. At the moment, we have a good supply of face masks and are experimenting with letting all customers purchase them.   That lets us gauge the demand and inform our future ordering.  Enough stocks will be held back for Care customers so we can support them in their invaluable role as they look after our grandparents, sick relatives and frail friends.

We feel terrible about some of the prices that we are having to charge our loyal customers.  In normal times it would be outrageous and wrong.  There is a stark choice that we have had to make to secure stock.  Either we pay the new price or we have no stock to sell on to you.  Ultimately, we see ourselves as your buying department.  Where possible we make sure that we have sufficient stock and leave it to you to decide if you want to pay the price.  Our prices will go up and down with the prices that we have to pay to secure your stock.

Every day we are sending out similar volumes of stock to what we would supply in a normal non Covid-19 week.  That has been broadly sufficient to keep our recent regular care customers going with minimal “Out of stocks” .  There have been specific challenges around face masks, alcohol gel, infection control wipes and Chlorine that we have not always been able to bridge.  Part of the reason for this is that our UK suppliers for gel and wipes were told to cancel our production slots (which had been pre booked well in advance) and produce for the NHS.  Despite being one of the 7 Public Health England appointed emergency suppliers to the Social care sector, we could not get hold of those products. 

When the demand for Chlorine based products goes up 4 fold and the lead time from suppliers extends overnight from 2 weeks to 8 weeks, even our normally large stock holding cannot bridge the gap.  We would have needed nearly a year's worth of stock in store to keep you supplied.  Sadly, we only had 15 weeks of stock which sold in under 4 weeks.

Going forward, there are definite challenges on most PPE related lines.  We have reasonably good visibility until July 2020.  The buying team is doing an amazing job of trying to push that out to August and beyond.  Because we are in this for the long term and appreciate the priceless work that our customers are doing, we are doing everything that we can to make sure we keep care and key workers supplied week in week out.  It will certainly not be everything at all times that you need, but it will be the vast majority.

The big unknown in all of this is working out what happens next and how long will it last.  We have no idea.  We will proceed with what feels like a healthy mix of caution and bold moves.  Only time will tell us if we have the right mix.

Last week there were many accusations bouncing around on Twitter, the press and Nicola Sturgeon that we had been told to only supply England with PPE.   This related to of 3 specific products from the England pandemic flu stocks that Public Health England had asked us to supply to Care homes in England only; because Scotland and Wales had been allocated their own part of the UK’s stockpile.  Day in, day out, we continue to supply customers in Scotland, Wales and England with Gompels PPE products.  No restrictions, no government advice to the contrary, just perfectly fair to all our existing recent customers.




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change_history Covid Update
New customers are welcome and our stocks are good on most key lines. A few restrictions remain to make sure that we can keep our loyal customers going and to stop traders buying up all the stock.
7th Jul 20
new_releases Business Dashboard Update
We've updated our Business Dashboard. All customers can now set budgets & places and we've added the option to set custom budget periods!
30th Oct 19
new_releases New Feature - Product Subscriptions
Automate purchase of products that you buy on a regular basis with our Product Subscription tool.
23rd Apr 19
new_releases New Feature - Order Reminders
Never forget to place an order again! We now offer Order Reminders for all of our customers.
21st Mar 19
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