Businesses cannot afford to wait any longer to carry out vital supply chain risk management work in preparation for Brexit, according to experts at a Clyde and Co event.
Speaking during the supply chain resilience event, at which delegates heard from leading UK politicians and civil servants about the current and future shape of Brexit negotiations, Nick Wildgoose, an independent consultant who previously worked for Zurich, urged companies to get moving on building supply chain resilience to Brexit.
“You cannot afford to wait,” said Mr Wildgoose, who was previously global supply chain product leader at Zurich.
He said a number of companies have started to prepare for Brexit and seen the benefits of supply chain transparency and resilience. “So if you haven’t started to plan for Brexit, your competitors could be one step ahead of you,” he told delegates.
Companies that do not know where to start should begin with areas of highest value, he continued. “People say they don’t know where to start. This is a conversation I have had with many clients out there. Start with your most profitable product or service and what suppliers you heavily depend on. Not just tier one; map it out as far as you need so you are comfortable and know where the risk is sitting,” said Mr Wildgoose.
He added that companies should be doing something about their supply chains irrespective of Brexit. “Please start on this journey. See Brexit as an opportunity – a catalyst – for change to something you should be doing anyway,” he added.
Mr Wildgoose listed some of the things companies need to think about when it comes to supply chains and Brexit.
Organisations need to map multi-tier aspects of their supply chains because they are “often flying blind on lower-tier suppliers”, he said. “There are diamonds of death in supply chains when it comes to Brexit. For example, UK companies might think they are ok because tier-one suppliers are all from the UK, but they might all be supplied a widget from the same French company,” added Mr Wildgoose.
Businesses also need to work out how to secure skilled or unskilled labour, think about lead times, look at contracts, and consider regulatory changes, tariffs and currency implications, he said.
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