by Rebecca Burn-Callander
If your suppliers are based in the UK, you may have felt protected from any Brexit fallout. However, if they buy from the European Union, any disruption or delay they experience could quickly become your problem. Don’t wait for the worst to happen. Follow these five easy steps and protect your cashflow, maintain customer service levels, keep costs in check and limit the impact of Brexit on sales and profitability.
Audit your supply chain
Carry out a detailed audit of your supply chain. Who buys what from where in what quantities? Work out exactly what comes from the EU and how vital it is to your continued trading.
How long does it currently take for goods to reach your supplier? What are the subsequent lead times for when you receive the finished product? Work out the impact of any delays on your business and consider stockpiling vital items in advance.
Have open and honest discussions with your suppliers about their plans. Are they wholly reliant on the EU for goods or do they have alternatives? Have they been stockpiling?
Map the disruption
Create detailed maps that show the impact of certain goods – or all – getting stuck in customs or delayed indefinitely. Try and build in failsafes, such as alternate suppliers or even switching to different raw materials or pivoting to focus on a different product range if necessary.
Review your contracts
Make sure all your contracts with suppliers are fit for purpose, post-Brexit. Do clauses need to be reworded? What protections can your suppliers offer your business? Make sure that you look at the fine print: the devil is in the detail.
Rebecca Burn-Callander is a freelance journalist and the former Enterprise editor of the Daily Telegraph. She specialises in writing about small businesses and entrepreneurs, and is currently working on her second book: The Daily Telegraph Guide to Brexit for Business.