There’s one thing that everyone can agree on when it comes to a post-Brexit Britain, and that’s that no one know what life or business will be like. With no detailed preparations in place and still no sign of a trade deal at a time the time of writing, there are a lot of uncertainties.
At Kirkstall Precision Engineering, we have always worked to the belief that if you fail to prepare then you have to prepare to fail. That’s why we have proactively taken steps already to ensure we are as best placed as possible to continue to meet the needs of a wide range of engineering clients globally across a diverse array of sectors.
Here’s brief insights into the steps we have taken as a business:
- Continuity of the supply chain up-stream & down-stream
Perhaps the most immediate priority for Kirkstall Precision and most British manufacturers is to understand how various Brexit scenarios may affect their supply chains and the movement of goods. We have examined their supply chains closely, taking time to understand where delays may potentially hit our business.
During our Brexit Risk analysis our considerations included:
- Impact of tariff exposures and other costs
- Compliance – irrespective of what type of Brexit deal is done or no deal scenario goods will need to be declared, with custom procedures applied and considerations for tax / duty planning required.
- Relationships with suppliers – Collaboration with raw material and component supplies is key, understanding how they will work after Brexit, will be a priority as lead times may increase and availability decrease.
- The security of customer relationships and the effect on demand volume, contract terms, pricing and rebates.
- The potential loss of EU research and development grants, and the impact on marketing and procurement.
- Proactively reaching out to key customers and their procurement teams to understand their plans and how we can assist.
We have already written to a wide range of customers and suppliers to understand their plans and how we can assist. Some of our suppliers who use Just-In-Time or Kanban systems to manage the logistics of their activities, are advising us they will face major challenges adjusting to the delays and uncertainty of customs and border checks in the event of No Deal. They still have concerns regarding what the time frame requirements of goods clearing customs and borders will be, days, weeks or even months.
To protect some of our customers, we are proactively looking at placing forward orders with material suppliers to guarantee availability. For other customers we are actively involved in their post January 2021 plans so we are aware of what they need to conduct their businesses and we are already undertaking projects to ensure that Kirkstall can deliver for these customers.
- Investing in new technology and innovation
Despite the uncertainties that 2020 has given businesses globally, Kirkstall Precision Engineering has invested heavily in the latest technology, which will save money and improve efficiency. We realised it’s vital that we understood the specific business challenges we could potentially have with Brexit and make the right investments, efficiently and effectively, to gain a competitive edge.
Not only investing in manufacturing equipment such as the 5-axis Matsuura MX-330 PC10, we invested heavily in a new ERP system, choosing the correct digital platform that can transform our business processes to the next level. Digital technology in a post- Brexit world will key to supply on a global level and have digital interfaces with our customers.
- Investing in the best people to ensure we continue to deliver
Managing Brexit is also about recruiting and retaining the right employees to drive success. We appreciate that to fully implement the benefits of a new manufacturing and digital technology, we must have a strategy of up-skilling existing employees and recruiting new skill sets for the Post Brexit requirements.
People such as our new quality manager, Peter Newbould, who has a fantastic track record as well as our investment in youth through our apprenticeship programme, means we are ideally placed to ensure high levels of quality and end product is delivered every time, no matter the sector.
Giving you the confidence that we are post-Brexit ready
The above is just a snapshot of what we are doing to ensure a successful transition for our business and every business we engage with. We have a regular ‘Brexit-action’ team here at Kirkstall Precision Engineering whose sole purpose is to keep the business ready to respond to any changes that might occur as the exit date approaches.
Iqbal Bahia our Operations Director has added that: “The government’s Brexit deal may be far from being “Oven Ready” as initially promised, however we at Kirkstall Precision are being proactive in understanding the consequences of a no deal Brexit . We are continuing to invest in both people and machines as well as working very closely with our customers and suppliers on our collective approach for leaving the EU – I firmly believe our positive and structured approach will hopefully result in a successful transition in to a new trading era on the 1st Jan 2021.”
If you’d like to know more about our plans, what we are doing in further detail or want to discuss how we can help you plan for a successful 2021, then please get in touch with either our MD, Adam Thornton or our Operations Director, Iqbal Bahia.