There are less than six months to go now until the UK officially leaves the EU at 11pm on 29th March 2019.
While we still don’t have any clear indication of what the Brexit outcome will actually look like, there’s no doubt any change to the status quo is likely to cause disruption to this industry’s supply chains, and could potentially affect every single one of us to a greater or lesser degree.
The fact is that vast quantities of materials used in the UK window and door industry are imported from inside and outside the EU every day – whether that is hardware companies like Mila importing from the Far East or profile companies importing from Europe. Regardless of the intricacies of any deal, the UK customs infrastructure could very quickly be stretched beyond capacity if it suddenly had to carry out all the same checks on EU trade as it does on trade with the rest of the world, and that would just mean disruption and delays for everyone.
Mila and the wider Arran Isle group have been making our plans for Brexit almost since Article 50 was triggered, and we’ll be taking the same approach that we take every year around Chinese New Year to ensure that we have additional stock on our shelves to cope with it.
I’m becoming increasingly concerned though about the number of fabricators who remain convinced that it simply won’t affect them. Even if they don’t directly import or export anything themselves, they could still face costly stock shortages or delivery delays if their suppliers haven’t acted quickly enough to put in place contingency plans. In fact, I would urge them to start identifying high risk suppliers now and take any necessary action.
It’s all about ensuring continuity for your own business and in turn for your own customers. In fact, investing in a few weeks of additional stock for yourselves would ensure that you ultimately stay in control of your own Brexit – no matter what the outcome turns out to be.