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Brexit & Your Supply Chain

Was 2016 Bizarre for you or is it the start of evolutionary times? With Leicester, Trump and Brexit, we can safely state that 2016 was turbulent, with similar excitement expected in 2017 due to Drones, Blockchain, IoT, French/German Elections, plus the true fallout from Brexit and Trump politics etc.

Focusing on Brexit for now and the potential impacts to your business, the people of Britain voted for a British exit, or Brexit, from the EU in a historic referendum on Thursday June 23 2016. This has resulted in 2 potential outcomes for the UK (with downwind impacts for Ireland);

1. Hard-Brexit

Essentially, it all boils down to trade – if the UK does not agree a deal that continues “tariff-free” trading with the EU single market, then it will be seen as having opted for a hard exit.

2. Soft Brexit

In direct contrast to a hard Brexit, a soft one would not involve giving up most of our current free trading arrangements when the UK leave the EU.

Unfortunately, it seems like a Hard Brexit is most likely while to-date the most visible outcome has been the volatile value of Sterling (with a noticeable ‘bounce’ since November)

So what can we expect?

1. The UK border agencies could charge import duties and also collect VAT on all imports.
2. The transfer of goods, services, people and data to/from the UK will likely become more complicated and costly – more of an inconvenience rather than a major barrier to trade
3. UK growth is expected to slow considerably in 2017, which will place increased pressure on the UK economy


As in all situations, this will impact some industries and businesses more than others. If you supply to, or import from, one or more of the following sectors, you can expect complications and change in your supply base from 2017;


As experts on the Lisbon Treaty (since we read it twice!), a country leaving the European Union has 2 years in which to negotiate a withdrawal agreement. This time-frame permits preparation in 2017 for the Brexit impacts of 2018, while businesses should invest in Procurement so as to;


1. Reduce your supply-chain risk if overly dependent on UK suppliers
2. Develop internal expertise to deal with customs, visas, tariffs, VAT, currencies etc.
3. Provide internal Category, Contract and Vendor Management expertise (3 investments which should be considered irrespective of Brexit)
4. Prepare for global sourcing events and opportunities
5. Provide Procurement Training, so as to invest in your buyers to improve their mindset, skillset and toolset


As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with your Brexit and Procurement queries.

Reduce your Logistics Spend

With fuel costs continually rising, and consumers demanding faster delivery (even for free) it is more important than ever for businesses to control their shipping costs. The dynamics of this industry have changed also with;

  • changes in business models e.g. drop-shipping and transport auctions
  • changes within the supply-chain e.g. The Pallet Network
  • increase in Networked Operators e.g. Fastway Franchise (amongst others)

Take note of the following Logistics Advice for your business;

1) As with all effective procurement exercises, define your requirements accurately. Ensure you fully understand your unique shipping profile defining characteristics such as weight, destinations, volumes, growth trends and product mix.

2) Keep abreast of industry rates. Due to the market drivers above and increased competition, market rates have been squeezed to the benefit of the consumer e.g. Parcels up to 30KG can now be delivered next-day nationwide for only €4.95. Conversely rates can increase also due to external factors (fuel prices) so keep informed of such economic factors.

3) New Thinking – Design For Shipping (DFS). At the design stage, ask, how will the product ship (individual pack, cartons etc.)? How many packs per pallet, any overhang (causing possible damage). How many pallets per container, will the container have lots of extra space, are you shipping air? Can the product be lighter, when shipping by weight.

4) Source a solid Logistics partner. You must be confident that your Logistics partner is your business partner. Look beyond cost – review on-time performance percentages and claims rates, then examine overall return on investment, rather than just price. As always, consider their financial stability, insurance, experience, technological advances etc.

5) Assess geographic coverage and infrastructure. When comparing your company’s logistics requirements, visit various operators to assess their capacity and facilities. Ensure their geographic locations match yours also including to accommodate peak seasons, new products and/or locations.

6) If appropriate, get your Logistics partner to meet your customers. Use your Logistics partner to define the exact customer requirements e.g delivery times, key personnel, stock holding, returns, reporting, invoicing etc.

7) Use a Logistics Expert. As you do with Insurance and Utilities costs, use a strategic partner to manage all your Logistics requirements. Their expertise will find the best Local and Global Transport solutions for all your inbound and outbound logistics requirements.