Bristan feels the heat over late payment

A leading bathroom manufacturer which was added to a ‘hall of shame’ for increasing its payment terms by as much as 60 days has now signed the Prompt Payment Code (PPC).

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) entered Staffordshire-based Bristan into its online hall of shame after it was given evidence to show Bristan’s supplier payment times had been increased from 30 days to as much as 90 in 2011.

Following negative publicity in the trade press, Bristan has since subscribed to the Institute of Credit Management‘s Prompt Payment Code that demands a number of pledges from its signatories.

Primarily these are: to pay suppliers on time within the terms agreed at the outset of the contract, without attempting to change payment terms retrospectively; to give clear guidance to suppliers and ensuring there is a system for dealing with complaints; and to encourage good practice by requesting lead suppliers encourage adoption of the Code throughout their own supply chain.

In welcoming the development, the Forum’s Senior Policy Adviser Alex Jackman said that Bristan had clearly been influenced by negative media publicity: “The Prompt Payment Code is about encouraging and promoting best practice between organisations and their suppliers,” he says. “Signatories to the Code commit to paying their suppliers within clearly defined terms, and commit also to ensuring there is a proper process for dealing with any issues that may arise.”

Jackman adds that he is disappointed, however, that Bristan is apparently still paying under the revised terms and conditions and not the original 30-day payment contract many of their suppliers had previously enjoyed: “It means that in some cases, Bristan suppliers could be waiting a quarter of a year to be paid,” he says.

“Most right-thinking people would agree that this is too long at a time when more and more businesses are struggling with cash flow, although we do acknowledge Bristan tell us they will happily talk to any of their suppliers who have issues with this.”

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