Hope Technology has been very quiet recently, and with little new stock on the shelves, it has led to customers wondering if the factory gates had closed. However, the silence has simply been due to everyone there working extra hard there, with no spare time to tell anyone about it. Now, though, Hope has stepped up to confirm that although the Hope Factory closed in March, the Hope Factory reopened again in April and has been running 24 hours a day ever since. Here’s what Hope’s Alan Weatherill had to say:
“More and more we are being asked these questions regarding availability and supply. Although we closed following the lockdown in the UK, we slowly opened again during April with COVID secure measures in place. These measures did initially restrict our production although we gradually managed to get manufacturing back to pre COVID levels.”
“By this time, the boom in cycling had really taken hold and all our distributors and retailers were clamouring for product from all their suppliers, but the story is very different in many parts of the economy.
”Locally we are also seeing the other side of this with Rolls Royce, BAe and many of their subcontractors in the area announcing layoffs and factory closures following the huge downturn in the civilian aerospace market.
“With this at the forefront of our minds we are still very cautious in any expansion of staff and production capacity, although since the summer we have been investing in new machinery and taking on manufacturing staff to scale up the production. The total investment so far has been around £1.5 million. The factory already operated 24-7 but we are adding additional staff to some of the night shifts to help increase production. To help with efficiency we have also paused some of our new product launches, but we hope to bring these exciting new products to market sometime next year.”
So back to the original question, the Hope factory isn’t closed, so why is there no stock in shops?
“So back to the original question, why is there no stock in shops? Our recent expansion still has not satisfied the demand for Hope products. With our passion for keeping all production on site in Barnoldswick, there will always be a restriction on annual growth. We are still not comfortable sub-contracting any of our production and losing control of quality.
“All manufacturers globally are having issues with demand outstripping supply and shops are continually searching for manufacturers and distributors who have stock. We are now receiving enquires from shops who have never dealt with us before, looking for any stock to sell.
”Although we are shipping out around 25-30% more product than last year, we are seeing the current demand growing by well over 100%. Inevitably this mismatch will lead to shortages in some shops. We are trying to ensure products are available to all retailers and therefore to customers globally, we are sorry but there are sometimes some issues. We are not alone in this problem as all bike part manufacturers are having issues. Commercially it is a great problem to have, but reputationally not so good. Please note we still do not sell Hope products direct to consumers as we still hold huge value in the advice and expertise of your local bike shop. We are trying to keep retailers updated on delivery times, so they are still a customer’s first point of contact.”
(Us again…) Seems a bit silly to have to release a statement to reassure people that not only have you not closed down or gone bust, but you’re 30% busier than last year. And what an irony to be considering hiring on aerospace employees when Hope was originally started by a couple of ex-Rolls Royce engineers making disc brakes in their lunch hours…
We’re pretty sure that everyone will wait to get that hub or light or headset, given the rather extreme circumstances. And, having glimpsed some of the secret new things in our recent factory tour we reckon that things are going to be worth waiting for.
Be sure to check Hope Technology’s website – hopetech.com for more news.
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