ARTSM is a partner of the Highways & Road Industry Forum and supports the statement below.

Road & Highways Industry Forum highlights supply chain issues


The alliance of different highways-related industry associations, the Roads & Highways Industry Forum is highlighting the challenges the sector is facing because of the ongoing supply chain issues.

Whilst recognising that the industry is fortunate – in that their products and services have a regular demand from the public sector – so has suffered less than other industries from changes in demand, this has not given it immunity from the vagaries of wider market forces, and the competition for resources with other market sectors.

The RHIF manufacturer and supplier partners have faced longstanding difficulties in sourcing raw and processed materials including aluminium, steel, semiconductors, LEDs and other electronic components, plastics and of course energy itself, which have been exacerbated by global Covid restrictions and now the war in Ukraine.  It says, by way of example, lead times on some semiconductors are now over 12 months.


The surge in demand post-Covid and ongoing differing recovery rates in different countries means the supply chain is struggling to deliver the components needed in a timely way.

“Our respective manufacturers and suppliers are committed to the delivery of quality products that meet the industry’s standards and that provide the performance and lifetime that represent good whole-life value for money,” said RHIF Chair Kealie Franklin.  “While we will strive to deliver promptly there will be occasions where this is not possible.  We ask that scheme designers, purchasing managers, and users of traffic control and ITS equipment work with us and also work with your own internal chains of management to manage demand and accommodate flexibility so we can all work our way back to stable and normal supply.”

One ITS supplier in the UK has likened the shortages to being “like a supermarket on a sunny bank holiday – you pop in for barbecue food and it’s all sold out.  We’re seeing the same thing in the highways industry.”


While suppliers are looking to increase production, it will take months or even years to add new fabrication facilities, so they are either putting the product on allocation, or making the lead time much longer than it has previously been. So rather than products arriving in six to eight weeks, it might suddenly extend to 30 to 40 weeks.

The RHIF partners’ confirm their members are trying to mitigate the supply issues significantly by, for example, increasing their stock holds, so they can be certain they can respond to demand and have the components they need.  However, they urge end customers to offer a longer-term view of likely demand.

The message is quite plain, please look as far out as you can, and see if you can commit or forecast as far ahead as twelve months.  This allows companies to invest in holding extra component stock with certainty that it will actually have orders for the products when the components arrive.


All industry bodies are welcome to send representation and can do so by contacting the current chair ([email protected]) with an expression of interest.


A current list of Forum partners appears below.

Trade Bodies & Institutes: ARTSM; REMA; HEA; TMCA; ITS(UK); ISA (UK); BPA; HTCA; Safer Highways: RSTA; BNMA;  LCTF; Streetworks UK; HAUC.   Anyone wishing to attend the Forum should contact the current chair – [email protected]