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What is FM Doing to Prepare for Post-Brexit Trade Deals?

What is FM Doing to Prepare for Post-Brexit Trade Deals?
27 August 2020
 

Last week, the Chief EU Negotiator stated that a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU "seems unlikely" at this stage, but what does this mean for FM?

Michel Barnier made the comments this week after the seventh round of talks between the UK and the EU. With the transition period ending on 31 December 2020, if no deal is reached trade will continue on WTO (World Trade Organization) terms. UK goods would, therefore, be subject to tariffs.

We spoke to FM procurement and supply chain professionals about their post-Brexit plans and the potential consequences of a lack of a UK-EU trade deal.

 

"We would, therefore, prefer a deal that would give us certainty about the free movement of goods and provide a managed exit from the EU. We have, at the same time, been preparing for a potential no deal."

–Patrick Forbes

Director of Supply Management, Sodexo UK and Ireland

 

Working With Supply Chain Partners to Identify High-Risk Products

 

Patrick Forbes, Director of Supply Management for Sodexo in UK and Ireland, commented that whilst Sodexo doesn’t have the same level of exposure to Brexit as many manufacturers as they do not export goods or services, they do rely on some imported goods from the EU. Approximately 10 per cent of Sodexo’s employees are from the EU.

He told ThisWeekinFM: “We would therefore prefer a deal that would give us certainty about the free movement of goods and provide a managed exit from the EU. 

“We have, at the same time, been preparing for a potential no deal. Our Brexit Taskforce has been in place since the result of the referendum and it has reviewed the potential impacts of a no-deal Brexit. We have been in close dialogue with key supply chain partners to identify high-risk products, working out how we could find and use substitute products if necessary.”

The taskforce Forbes refers to focusses on four key areas:

 

  • Potential disruption and delay in supply chains due to disruption at ports
  • Potential shortage of some food products, particularly fresh fruit and veg
  • Price rises due to a fall in Sterling, shortage, administration costs and tariffs
  • People impacts

 

Forbes also spoke about his concern about the impact of Brexit on Sodexo’s people, particularly those from elsewhere in the EU:

“We have sought to keep our colleagues and clients informed about the potential impacts of Brexit. This has included HR guidance for local teams to support EU colleagues with application forms and signposting to additional information from both the EU and UK government.”

Additional measures in place at Sodexo includes webinars for senior leaders and management chain and guidance for operations managers.

 

The Best FM Firms are Those That are Equipped to Deal With a Constantly “Fluctuating Landscape”

 

“There will be inevitable disruption if the UK leaves the EU under WTO terms, this is a given, but the emphasis now has to be on decisive forward planning. Situational awareness is key to implementing a successful strategy."

–Glenn Napper

Procurement Director, Atalian Servest

 

Glenn Napper, Procurement Director at Atalian Servest, commented that the company’s focus has not changed throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and it will not change as they deal with Brexit:

“Being part of a wider group operating in 32 countries means that Atalian Servest has the support of a global network of suppliers and this gives us innate confidence that not only can we deal with the implications of Brexit, but that we are well placed to capitalise on opportunities.”

Napper explained that the best FM firms are those that are equipped to deal with a constantly “fluctuating landscape” and that the FM marketplace in the UK “epitomises its strength in its diversity.”

 

 

Glenn Napper

Picture: A photograph of Glenn Napper

 

He continued: “There will be inevitable disruption if the UK leaves the EU under WTO terms, this is a given, but the emphasis now has to be on decisive forward planning. Situational awareness is key to implementing a successful strategy. 

“By ensuring that we have a robust UK supply chain of preferred partners that consists of both distributors and direct suppliers, Atalian Servest is never solely reliant on just one partnership. This also supports healthy competition, a constructive tension point that improves our ability to source products at competitive prices for our customers. 

“Resilience to stresses in the overall no-deal Brexit landscape can be built through diverse relationships.”

Picture: A photograph of the EU flag

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 27 August 2020

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