Flexibility and speed of response will be key to managing life post-Brexit

Promotional Business Feature. By Chris Mould, Audit and Advisory Partner in Crowe’s South West office in Cheltenham.
Chris Mould

While the majority of people may have well and truly tired of the word Brexit, for those in manufacturing it has been a timely reminder of the need to look ahead.

When you are involved in the detail of day-to-day delivery for your customers, it is often hard to remember to take a step back and consider the direction in which your market sector is heading.

It has never been more important for the manufacturing sector to think about the strategy of the business and what the market will look like in the next 18 months to two years and beyond.

Brexit is not the only concern, especially for those in automotive who are having to plan for a future that is electric rather than petrol or diesel driven.

History suggests that we may be overdue a recession, or a market correction as some refer to it.

Recent comments at the Manufacturing Live event, supported by Crowe, suggested that, although manufacturing companies in Gloucestershire and the South West are functioning adequately at present, they are starting to see signs of a slide or a slowdown.

Many investment decisions have been shelved in the last 12 months due to concerns over Brexit, and the results of this may well have a part to play in the next 12 months.

Some businesses stockpiled before the original Brexit deadline of March 29 and may not have cycled through this stock as yet. Whereas others are considering increasing stock prior to the next October 31 deadline. The impact of both these issues can have considerable cashflow implications.

The next 18 months is going to see strong pressure brought to bear on supply chains, so is this the time to be looking at your supply chain and asking whether you can short circuit the process?

If you source from abroad, is it time to think about reshoring? Or are there suppliers closer to home that are now far bettered geared up to deliver on time and at a cost, than when you originally started ordering from eastern Europe or China?

In recent months, Crowe has helped one major Midlands manufacturer restore one of its key components, working with the company to identify key financial and time limiting factors. Technical assistance was provided by The Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry who remapped the shop floor looking at product flow optimisation and advised investment in CNC machinery.

The result was a successful £500,000 project that has seen investment in revitalised property, plant and production methods.

Another project has seen Crowe working alongside the UK’s longest-established cycle manufacturer who were guided into tapping into the “Catapult” programme to access the resources available through the Warwick Manufacturing Group. A series of consultations helped to significantly de-risk and shorten the development process.

These two examples provide very brief overviews of the kind of help that is available to UK manufacturers. At Crowe, we work closely with our clients, providing specialist advice and guidance to help achieve success both now and in the future.

Whatever the next 18 months throws at us, flexibility and speed of response will be the key to survival and prospering in the new post-Brexit era; but the thinking and planning needs to be done now.

For further information on assistance such as Catapult and organisations such as The Manufacturing Technology Centre and Warwick Manufacturing Group, and to discuss how Crowe can help your business seek competitive advantage, contact Chris Mould on 01242 234421 www.crowe.co.uk