With ongoing uncertainty about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, many businesses are worried about the impact on their supply chains. Whilst we don’t know what will happen on the 1st January, there are some simple actions we can all take to help prepare. Best of all, regardless of the outcome, many of these actions are simple best practice so even if things don’t go the way you expect you won’t have wasted your time.

We’re aware in these challenging times budgets are tight so preparing for Brexit needs to be as cost effective as possible. Using the experience of our teams, the questions they are being asked and the solutions they are recommending, here are our tips to help make informed decisions on how best to deal with challenges and capture opportunities.

Speak to your suppliers: This has to be the first step in any preparation. Openly discuss Brexit with your suppliers. Ask them what it means to them, the risks they might be facing but also any opportunities. Find out what they are doing to mitigate the risks whilst taking advantage of any opportunities. Work with them on common actions and agree early alerts.

We sometimes forget how important our suppliers are to the smooth running of our organisations so if they face a problem, it’s going to impact you down the line. Finding new ways of working will ultimately ensure you have what you need to continue servicing your customers.

Collate your contracts: Many businesses hold contracts in different teams so start centralising them in one place. Once done, start detailing what each supplier provides, it’s importance to your organisation and basic contact details. Most importantly, detail key points in the contract such as cancelation costs, renewal dates, SLAs etc.

Identify your core suppliers: Who are the key suppliers from point 2 who would cause the most disruption if there was a problem? This is simple due diligence but it’s purpose is to try and identify risks early. You might want to look at company reports or keep an eye on the news for potential impacts on their industry and ability to service you. Try to find out what their plans are for Brexit or if they’ve even made any. If you get a list of questions together you can even roll this into point 1 and make it a friendlier, collaborative conversation rather than an interrogation.

This is not about replacing your suppliers but proactively spotting risks and planning against them. If this means a new way of working, or a new process kicks in under certain circumstances you’ll be far better prepared. Moving suppliers might be the answer but more likely you’ll simply not have addressed the potential risk.

Develop a plan B – For critical suppliers you should identify a plan B should they not be able to service your demand. Who could help if you needed additional or replacement capacity? Put in place terms and conditions, agree prices and set them up as suppliers so payment and delivery is easy. In short, make it so if demand increases you can activate them as a supplier straight away.

The most important thing is to be open with them that you’re building resilience again possible impacts and ensure they are OK with this.