Brexit: agility and resilience will be critical

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The UK’s vote to leave the European Union has sent shockwaves around the world. It was unexpected by most observers and has created an immense amount of uncertainty about the impact on organisations and their supply chains.

Malory Davies, Editor

Malory Davies FCILT,

A survey by our sister magazine Logistics Manager revealed that fewer than one in five logistics organisations had a post-Brexit plan in case the UK voted to leave the European Union.

The quarterly trends survey found that 81.6 per cent of 320 respondents said they had no plan in the face of a leave vote, despite the fact that 52.2 per cent said that a UK exit would have an impact on their business.

The survey, for the second quarter of 2016, was conducted in the two weeks running up to the referendum. It also asked what logistics professionals regarded at their main concerns if the UK left the EU. Some 71 per cent highlighted economic stability as a major concern, while 56 per cent said currency value was a concern, and 52 per cent were concerned about the impact on trade deals with Europe. Some 17 per cent also pointed to the possible reduction in migrant workers as an issue.

In the immediate aftermath of the vote, the Institute of Directors asked its members about the impact of the move.

Some 64 per cent said it would be bad for their businesses. A quarter plans to freeze recruitment and five per cent said it would lead to redundancies.

Not only that, 36 per cent said they would cut investment, and 22 per cent said they would consider moving operations out of the UK.

There has also been a big drop in the value of the pound – it hit a 31 year low against the dollar on Monday. That’s great if you are an exporter, but it will mean that the price of fuel is bound to rise in the UK.

Supply chain professionals face major challenges in dealing with the volatility and uncertainty that seems inevitable in the months ahead. Agility and resilience have never been more important in supply chain operations.

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