The UK government has proposed maintaining a frictionless flow of goods across the border ©PA Images
The UK government has proposed maintaining a frictionless flow of goods across the border ©PA Images

Seven things you should be doing about Brexit

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
posted by Will Green
22 August 2017

A seven-point checklist has been produced by CIPS to help procurement professionals prepare for Brexit.

In a report CIPS sets out how auditing supply chains, reviewing contracts and reassuring stakeholders should be among the things buyers are doing to deal with the uncertainty generated by the vote to leave.

The UK government has published a series of position papers covering issues such as the customs union, suggesting a continuing ‘frictionless’ flow of goods across the border, though in the report CIPS economist John Glen said he was predicting a ‘hard’ Brexit.

“What I would need to see from a new Conservative government, in order to change my view of the likely outcome of Brexit negotiations, would be a compelling narrative as to why the EU should agree to a soft Brexit. As yet, I do not see why the EU should agree to that,” he said.

“And I am not aware that this compelling narrative exists with May’s Brexit negotiations strategy and if it does exist, has not been shared with the UK voters or the EU negotiators. Yet.”

The report includes the results of a survey of supply chain managers that found 32% of UK firms who work with suppliers on the continent are looking for alternative suppliers based in the UK.

The checklist:

1. Audit your supply chain from end to end

Understand what you spend, who your suppliers are and build strong relationships with them in order to be agile and flexible.

2. Reassure and reassure again

Customers, suppliers, partners, staff and your CEO are going to get nervous. The deal is still going to take just under two years to negotiate, so for now it’s business as usual. However, there are things you can do to prepare. Looking at length of contracts and the implementation of break clauses, or perhaps currency hedging and multi-sourcing could help your business to prepare.

3. Work together

Build cross-functional teams to monitor the situation and include risk management colleagues, compliance, financial, legal, operational, sales and marketing teams.

4. Prioritise

Understand and prioritise the likelihood of any risk impact and have a clear understanding of what this could be, who will be affected, why and where the impact with happen.

5. Review contracts

Don’t just look at contracts; also look at any deals on the horizon.

6. Research issues

Research issues that affect your sector and businesses of your size and continue to monitor as the situation evolves and changes.

7. Communication

Develop a list of credible sources and arm yourself with data and timely, regular information. Keep stakeholders regularly informed, remaining clear and transparent about the implications.

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