Supply chain and procurement post-Brexit: Future planning and strategies

10 mins

We need to talk about the B-word. ‘Bonfires?’ you respond, hopefully. ‘Bob...

We need to talk about the B-word. ‘Bonfires?’ you respond, hopefully. ‘Bobbing for apples?’ Your hope begins to fade. ‘It’s Brexit, isn’t it?’

 Yes, we need to talk about Brexit, the only bonfire-and-fireworks show anyone’s talking about this autumn. Or more specifically, we need to talk about what it might mean for your supply chain.

 Weighing up the possible outcomes

Trying to guess what’ll happen over the next week or two is like trying to solve an oiled-up Rubik’s Cube. In the dark. But, broadly speaking, we can expect one of three possible outcomes:

·        Scenario 1: Deal. Both sides miraculously come together and agree a workable solution to the Irish border problem, and finally settle a withdrawal agreement – which is then swiftly approved in parliament, meaning the UK exits the EU with a deal on 31st October. We wouldn’t hold our breath on this one.

·        Scenario 2: No-deal. No agreement is reached, and Boris Johnson presses ahead with his ‘do-or-die’ promise of a Halloween Brexit, somehow circumventing the Benn Act (which requires him to ask for an extension). The UK exits the EU with no-deal on 31st October, and immediately begins trading with the EU under WTO rules.

·        Scenario 3: Delay. Boris Johnson asks the EU for an extension, and the UK remains an EU member for the time being. In the short term, we all go back to wondering what to wear for Halloween. After that, we go back to debating scenarios 1 and 2.

 Future-proofing the supply chain

Each of the above outcomes will bring supply chain challenges (or at the very least, changes). In very simple terms:

·        Rules for moving goods between the UK and EU will change – although the scale of those changes, and the timeframe, depends entirely on deal or no-deal.

·        Many companies are stockpiling goods to allow for potential delays at UK borders.

·        Stockpiling means high demand for warehousing space and additional supply chain staffing needs (at an already busy time of year, as Christmas approaches).

·        Yet ongoing uncertainty means many businesses are unable to hire supply chain professionals on a long-term or permanent basis.

 One clear way to deal with supply chain recruitment challenges – and maintain a robust supply chain post-Brexit – is to hire interim supply chain professionals. At Roc Search, we’re busy providing supply chain professionals in a range of roles, and helping our clients overcome their Brexit challenges. Talk to us about your supply chain recruitment needs.