As you are no doubt aware, the European Union has extended the period in which the UK can deliver Brexit to 31 October 2019, although if the UK Parliament agrees to a withdrawal deal the UK may leave before that date.
This gives businesses like ours some vital breathing space and more time to prepare, but the exact circumstances of how we will exit the EU remain unclear.
It would be irresponsible for any business to ignore the requirements to prepare for Brexit. There is still a lot of uncertainty but we must embrace the challenges, cope with the threats and maximise the opportunities that present themselves as the future becomes clear. In order to minimize any potential disruptions to all aspects of our business – our customers, suppliers, agents and distributors – we have a number of strategies in place as the UK transitions away from EU membership. Our plan has been in place for some time and we are confident the most important parts of our business are as ‘Brexit-proof’ as is practical.
A number of our actions have already been implemented and have required pragmatic decisions to be made in light of the potential outcomes. These include decisions relating to investments in product ranges, stock inventory and longer-term supply contracts. We have considered the impact of potential changes to tariffs and customs borders on our costs, administrative workload and also the effect of increased volatility of exchange rates. These events we can prepare for and to an certain extent, react to quickly.
Rapid has already increased stockholding of fast moving and long lead time stock to ensure supply and keep us competitive through the transitional period. The systems we have in place will manage all changes seamlessly so our customers are unaffected. We already plan for future purchases of currencies in anticipation of almost inevitable fluctuation in exchange rates.
Luckily we are an agile, technology-led organisation. A complex and quickly evolving marketplace is a perfect place to perform when it is easy to react quickly through internally developed bespoke systems. Decisions are made quickly and any required deviations can be implemented quickly as the full picture unfolds.
Customer insight is crucial. As part of our Brexit planning we have designed a series of new services, or long term stock agreements, to provide our customers with greater control over their ongoing supply needs. These programmes have been designed to protect important parts of a customer’s supply chain, mitigating against potential price increases and/or delays caused by stock availability. The services provide a mutually beneficial, easy to use, off the shelf solution by highlighting potential risks areas and agreeing on a joint solution to supply.
We are undertaking a review of our agents’ and distributors’ contracts to ensure that they meet the needs of a post-Brexit environment. We wish to reassure all our partners of Rapid’s ongoing commitment to continued trade, both within the EU and with our other export markets.
If you have any queries, concerns, or would just like some advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.