Brexit-proofing your supply chain skill set

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Britain’s impending departure from the EU represents an uncertain period for businesses in the UK. Supply chains will be disrupted as new trade deals are developed and employers will be forced to negotiate new contracts with customers and suppliers. 

For supply chain professionals, this situation represents a challenge and an opportunity, with the potential to explore new markets and strategies.

Neil Morgan, Associate Director explores the steps supply chain and procurement specialists can take to ensure that they will have the necessary skills and expertise that will keep them in high demand among employers as the landscape of post-Brexit Britain develops.

Expect the unexpected

The most significant challenge which comes with the Brexit transition is the uncertainty faced by businesses, with Britain’s future relationship with overseas trade partners open to speculation.

However, supply chain professionals can take a proactive approach, considering which outcomes are likely when negotiations conclude and creating contingency plans for the most likely scenarios.

Supply chain professionals who can demonstrate awareness of the latest developments in trade negotiations and develop contingencies based on these insights will be highly sought after among employers.

Prepare to network and network to prepare

News and industry publications can be a valuable source of insights to help prepare your supply chain strategy in the face of Brexit, but professionals should also consider the benefits of networking and engaging with professional bodies on a local level.

Organisations such as regional chambers of commerce can provide opportunities to gain insights from colleagues in other industries and gauge how the supply chains of other businesses will be impacted.

This can be particularly important for supply chain professionals who’s employer relies on domestic suppliers and customers. While these businesses will be far less directly impacted by Brexit, it is vital to consider how the changes could disrupt your relationships with other firms you do business with, as they are forced to adapt their own supply chains.

Remain open to opportunities

While the ultimate outcome of Brexit is extremely difficult to predict, it is likely that the transition period will see investors taking a cautious approach when dealing with the UK.

As a result, supply chain professionals should consider adjusting their strategy when it comes to securing investment from overseas partners. While large scale investment is likely to slow down, it is likely that the number of small investments will rise as financiers speculate on the potential Britain has to develop new industries and find new economic opportunities.

Many manufacturing and export firms are already seeing the benefits of this, with the weaker value of sterling encouraging customers to source goods produced in the UK.

Evolve and adapt

Ultimately, supply chain professionals must demonstrate the ability to create flexible supply chains which can react to changing conditions. While educated predictions can be made on how economic and trade negotiations will develop, it is entirely possible that Brexit will lead to unforeseen challenges and opportunities.


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