The British Aggregates Association is calling for the five multi-national mineral companies who now control almost 80 per cent of the quarrying industry to review their policy on buying in plant, equipment and services. The association received numerous complaints about this practice during the recent Hillhead show from companies unable to get onto preferred bidder lists.
Association director - Robert Durward notes: “Although I can understand the desire for a centralised buying regime, unless the major companies adopt a fairer and more flexible system it will end up costing us all much more in the long term. We have already lost a substantial part of plant and equipment production in the UK and we now risk decimating the support end of the market."
Many of the visitors to the British Aggregates Association stand at Hillhead were employed by the majors and were themselves frustrated at no longer being able to obtain goods and services from local suppliers whom they could depend on. However there were also a number of other companies present who reported that getting onto a preferred bidder list was not always a success story as they were all too often "screwed into the ground" on price.
“All quarry companies have a huge investment in capital equipment which requires an efficient parts and service backup. It would appear that some of the bean counters at head office might benefit from spending some time at the sharp end talking to their own people” - concluded Robert Durward.