Three in 10 firms strengthen procurement for Brexit

posted by Lucy Patchett
29 March 2021

Three in 10 firms have strengthened their procurement and supply chain functions in response to Brexit, according to a survey.

report, by Avetta and Executive Network Group, found 29% of survey respondents had strengthened the function, including hiring new employees, and 10% planned to do so in the near future.

However, 61% hadn't bolster the function because they had enough skills to rely on from the existing workforce. 

A tenth (11%) had recruited additional staff to overcome Brexit challenges, including extra workload, and to make up for lack supply chain management skills.

Some 120 business leaders were surveyed from a range of industries to understand how Britain’s exit from the EU was affecting core business activities, including directors, CPOs, supply chain managers and HR directors.

When asked which aspects of business would be impacted, 72% expected supply chain resiliency to be hit, while 50% anticipated impacts to documentation and administrative processes, and 29% believed there would be legislative changes.

The report said for some firms Brexit “has already impacted the supply of spare parts and deliveries procured from Europe” and “suppliers are struggling to source these in a timely manner, which has impacted firms’ ability to meet deadlines”.

But for others Brexit was considered to be “a big opportunity”.

Half of respondents agreed that Brexit would have a “meaningful impact” on supply chains, with 70% of these respondents coming from the manufacturing, aerospace, and automotive sector.

While Brexit was expected to “add some strain to supply chains and increase timelines around importing goods”, many companies believed it would have a positive impact in the long run, prompting improvements such as creating more effective processes, upskilling workers and boosting sustainability, said the report.

The report concluded that “those who embrace the opportunity to review and diversify their supply chains, and invest in the education and upskilling of their workforce, may well be the ones who see a bright future post Brexit”.

Since new border control rules came into effect on 1 January disruptions have led to a £6.6bn fall in imports from the EU. The UK government has pushed back upcoming additional import control requirements by six months to give time for preparations. 

Philip Woode, principal at Efficio Consulting, said: “Amidst the chaos, it has become apparent that rather than a single event, Brexit will in fact be a series of smaller obstacles that are yet to be fully discovered. 

“As supply chain managers deal with the constant changes over the months ahead, speed and agility will be key to keeping up. Quality procurement solutions will also need to be implemented quickly as we continue to navigate an unknown landscape.”

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