With many businesses reportedly unprepared and uncertain about the future when Britain leaves the EU, we caught up with Director of Client Management, Phil Harland, to discuss how Dimensions is preparing for Brexit.
What steps have the team at Dimensions taken to prepare for Brexit?
The Brexit subject is a really difficult issue for businesses to get their heads around, as there is still a lack of clarity on the exit plan and in particular the trading agreements which may or may not be in place. We have met with many of our blue chip clients, and collaborated on scenarios of what a BREXIT may look like for them as well as Dimensions. At Dimensions we have always looked at our business as an International business that has a global sourcing strategy as well as a global customer base. This means we are well placed to adapt to any trading rules and tariffs that may come along, as we have that international trading experience, much of which is already beyond the EU.
What potential impact will new trade deals have on the business?
As previously mentioned new trade deals will have an impact on all businesses who import and export, it’s very difficult to see to what extend until the detail is released by the Government. However Dimensions have been in business for 30 years now and have a vast experience in managing Imports / Exports as well as managing quotas and trade restrictions. Dimensions also benefits from an office base in The Netherlands, as well as other global locations, and we have already seen many other business setting up trading offices outside of the UK, as a contingency to support a more varied Import / Export regime.
How can you establish a degree of stability in these uncertain times?
Stability is key to our client base and we are working hard to ensure we can offer this to our customers; however, we just do not know yet what BREXIT may throw up as a challenge. Stability comes through great planning and an understanding of the potential risks and how they could be mitigated. At Dimensions, we are looking at various scenarios, which could evolve, and ensuring that we have thought about how to deal with them. These cover subjects such as Foreign Exchange rate volatility as well as contingency manufacturing across the globe. What we do know is that we are confident that we have all the right people in place as well as the professional advice to allow us to be as prepared as we can for what may happen.
How will changes to net migration affect your workforce and how will you mitigate this?
In June, Dimensions invited nearly 100 of our clients to a conference day, to hear from key speakers on a number of very relevant subjects. These included Fabric technology of the future, Design influences on a modern workforce, The importance of CSR and also a view of a potential post Brexit economy. The latter subject delivered by an eminent behavioural economist. At the conference, we discussed the effect of net migration and how this may affect the workforce in the UK.
At Dimensions we believe that key to managing workforce requirements in the future will be the integration and utilisation of autonomy and AI, alongside the Human workforce, which will completely reshape the working environment. This exciting area is a subject our technical and design teams are exploring with many of our clients and looking at how the uniform of the future will support these changing conditions.
As a global manufacturer, how will Brexit affect your supply chain relationships?
We hope very little… Dimensions have established, long term relationships with our supply base and our supply base is truly global. We have always had a policy of primary and secondary manufacturing locations, often in different countries; this has allowed us to manage risk in the past and will be supportive of risk management in the future.
One of the biggest factors to consider will be whether the EU will impose tariffs on garment manufacturing in EU countries? EU country manufacturing features in our global supply chain, as it offers lower volume, rapid responses but our bulk manufacturing remains outside of the EU region at present. We have already developed alternative rapid response, lower volume manufacturing in other regions of the world as contingency against such a move.
What advice would you give other businesses who have not yet prepared for Brexit?
BREXIT is coming and it is highly unlikely that there will be any change to the exit strategy voted for by the UK people. Whilst there are still many unknowns, I would suggest all businesses should be identifying the potential changes to their trading environment that an exit from the EU may cause.
For further information on preparing for Brexit, sign up to read our article Brexit – is your business prepared?