Following recent events, we have reviewed our Brexit strategy to ensure we are doing all we can to provide our customers with continuity of service regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU on 31st October 2019 with No Deal or whether there is a negotiated outcome.
As things currently stand, a No Deal Brexit is looking increasingly likely and we are taking all possible actions to ensure that in the absence of any agreed implementation period we can mitigate against the key areas of concern in relation to product availability, lead-time and cost implications (where these are within our control) and are able to continue to deliver for our customers.
We have updated our ‘Brexit review’ to ensure that we are as prepared as possible for a No Deal Brexit; including reviewing our Business Plan to determine what, if any, changes we need to make and to understand how leaving the EU with No Deal may affect our business and that of our customers. We have looked carefully at what a No Deal Brexit could mean for our operations, customers, suppliers and employees.
Many of our products are produced in the UK for UK customers. Others are imported from mainland Europe and non-EU countries via a well-established and robust supply chain. We already have an EORI number in use and are registered for the transitional simplified procedures / customs facilitations put in place by the Government for use in the event of a No Deal Brexit. We have every confidence in the skill and experience of our staff and their understanding of the impact Brexit will have on our business and our customers to be able to adapt swiftly to any changes necessitated by Brexit and particularly a No Deal Brexit.
With ongoing speculation about the limited movement of goods between the UK and EU and the impact a No Deal Brexit would have on UK port capacity, we are putting in place contingency plans to mitigate the effects of any potential delays for imported products. Where possible we shall be optimising stock levels of certain products and will be looking to increase our stock levels of those key products within the UK before the 31st October 2019 deadline to ensure minimum disruption to our lead-times.
Over recent years, notwithstanding the uncertainty over Brexit, we have
continued to invest in our growth and expansion plans which has enabled us to ensure that we have sufficient capacity across our Branches to hold additional stock and that a No Deal Brexit has as limited impact as is possible on our supply levels and customer lead-times.
We have an excellent working relationship with our key supply partners and their custom brokers and freight companies and we shall continue to work closely with all involved in relation to any extra requirements in terms of customs clearance and entry declarations.
We have asked our key supply partners to work with us on the availability of extra forecasted capacity for their products where feasible and we would also ask that our customers work with us on this by forecasting demand and planning in advance order volumes for Autumn and Winter 2019 where possible. Placing future orders now for ‘call off’ will allow us to ensure adequate stocks are already in situ and pricing is maintained for as long as possible going into the end of 2019 and possibly early 2020.
In the event of road blockages following a No Deal Brexit, we will use alternative routes where possible to enable customer deliveries to continue as normal.
We will be working with our staff using the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme: Employer Toolkit where relevant to support and assist with confirming their status in the UK and as part of that process we shall also be reviewing our employment policies and procedures to ensure compliance with any new immigration rules whilst supporting the use of a wide pool of skills and talent where possible to support future business growth and an agile workforce.
All our products are currently CE marked as a declaration of performance and compliance with European standards and will continue to be CE marked until such time as the Government consults with businesses and industry organisations such as the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF), of which FGUK is a member, over the new provisions and the notice period ending the limited time period that CE marking will be accepted in the UK market.
Whether as individuals we agree with the decision to leave or not, we must as a company embrace the changes and challenges the decision will bring in order to ensure that our business and customer service are not negatively affected and that we continue to ensure the strongest possible outcome for our customers and staff as Brexit takes place.
As the 31st October deadline gets nearer, and with new announcements and changes seemingly daily, we will continue to keep matters under review. We wish to assure our customers and our key supply partners of our ongoing commitment to continued ease of trade, both within the EU and with other markets.
We are keeping abreast of all Government and GGF advice and guidance on Brexit and, in particular, in the event of a No Deal Brexit and what steps we should be taking as a company to prepare for that.
We will continue to work closely with our key supply partners and customers to do our utmost to mitigate any impact of Brexit whatever the final outcome may be and would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your valued custom and support. We look forward to continuing our trading relationships for many years to come.