Prepare for Brexit: Operations

Brexit may result in complications that affect the various systems and resources within your business that keep it running on a daily basis. It is important to understand and review your operations from end-to-end – from suppliers right through to end-users – to ensure that you are prepared for all eventualities.

Increasing efficiencies in your operations and processes generally will improve your competitiveness. This will help to maintain your profitability despite potential rising costs and downward pressure on pricing arising from Brexit.

Operations vary according to business type, industry, size and so on. However, for most businesses, operations take into account the following elements: process, staffing, technology, location and equipment.

Brexit demands that you consider the possible effects on each of these elements and go about making the necessary improvements and adjustments to continue functioning as efficiently as possible.

Possible Challenges

Supply chain

Currency volatility, inflation in the UK and possible customs delays arising from Brexit may mean increased costs of raw materials, components and utilities for your business. There could also be interruptions to the continuity and reliability of supply in the UK.

To address this risk now, you should review your supply chain and see if there are ways to reduce complexity. You could also identify alternative suppliers which may be cheaper or offer better terms.

Regulations and standards

EU directives and rules all have legal force in the UK until the Brexit negotiations are complete. After the UK is out, however, it will be up to the UK Parliament to decide whether to keep or abandon them.

There is a strong likelihood that Irish companies will need to comply with different regulations and standards for delivery to the UK market as a result of Brexit. This will vary from sector-to-sector and you need to keep on top of how any regulatory change will affect the running of your business. Areas where change is possible include health and safety rules, environmental regulations and consumer protection codes.

Transport and logistics

There may be delays in the receipt of supplies and delivery of goods to, from and through the UK once Brexit kicks in. For example, there are concerns that Irish hauliers land bridging the UK to access Europe could be penalised through delays at departure ports in the UK or as they enter European soil. There are also question marks around whether there will be a hard border with Northern Ireland.

While the uncertainty continues, you can explore and identify alternative transport and logistics options now in order to have a contingency plan in place.

Prepare for Brexit

Your business can start to prepare for Brexit by using the dedicated Brexit SME Scorecard tool, which is available free from Enterprise Ireland. The tool looks at a company's business operations across six areas - Business Strategy, Operations, Sales and Marketing, Finance, Innovation and People Management. You can start the short questionnaire and come back to it at any time. Your results report will show the priority areas that your business should consider addressing and serve as a useful kick-off point to start preparing for Brexit with your business team.

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Get your business prepared for Brexit with the free Brexit SME Scorecard.