Solving the Brexit Problem Means Realizing Brexit Isn't the Problem

The Resilient Enterprise | The riskmethods Blog

The potential effects are widespread, but supply chain organizations are paying especially close attention: As reported by Supply Chain Digest, 17% of UK manufacturers identify supply chain disruption as the single biggest post-Brexit business impact.

If we all had a Euro—ahem, sorry, a pound—for every time Brexit was in the news, we wouldn’t have to worry about its impact on our businesses. Unfortunately, we don’t, and the constant uncertainty around this particular political situation—deal, no deal, a second referendum?—is keeping companies everywhere on edge. 


Brexit and Bodybags: Really?

A quick scan of the headlines about Brexit and supply chain disruption will find countless stories with countless implications: The impact of a No Deal Brexit on Welsh ports like Holyhead Port, the gateway of goods from Ireland to the rest of Europe (learn more about the world’s riskiest ports). Announced impending UK plant closures (from the likes of Honda, Nissan and Dyson). Huge tariffs on everyday food items. And even—yes, even—a national stockpiling of…bodybags. That’s right. “Brexit and bodybags” dominated the Brexit news cycle for a solid two days.

But here’s the thing that no one seems to realize: the real problem isn’t actually Brexit. The real problem is uncertainty. If everyone knew what the final outcome was going to be, everything would be a whole lot easier. Whether it’s a deal or no deal, and whatever the details of that deal or no deal are, organizations everywhere would be able to make plans, take action and do what they need to do in order to mitigate Brexit’s effects on their business. Again, Brexit isn’t actually the problem.


The Problem of Brexit is the Problem of Risk

In other words: The problem of Brexit is the problem of risk. And that means—the solution to Brexit is exactly the same as the solution to risk. You monitor it so that it doesn’t take you by surprise, and you make plans around it so that you know what to do when it occurs. Make a list of your potentially impacted business partners, understand how each Brexit scenario will impact them (and if you don’t know—collaborate with them to find out!) and then identify a plan of action for each one. Brexit is just another risk, and you can handle it like you handle all the others.

Other experts concur. PwC’s Johnathon Marshall states: “Businesses that are well prepared, [and] have modeled the scenarios will be able to adapt effectively in response to the challenges brought about by Brexit, as well as being equipped to capitalize on the opportunities that will arise.” Having a set of action plans based on various scenarios “could provide you with a tangible ‘first-mover’ advantage if your business has the response plans ready and can adapt, switch or remodel at pace.”

Everybody Just Take a Deep Breath

Stop building your panic room. Quit reading sensationalist articles about bodybags. Assess your business partners, understand how different Brexit scenarios might impact them, make a plan—and then enact it when the time comes. You should manage Brexit the same way you manage any kind of risk—intelligently. And if you can do that, you’re in very good shape.

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