With Brexit pending, retailers need to be resilient and agile

Brexit has thrown a giant wrench in the economic, political and social systems throughout the globe, and everyone is trying to prepare for April 2019 when the U.K.’s departure becomes final. Retailers, in particular, are feeling the heat to quickly and accurately navigate the current and potential future impacts and possible outcomes of Brexit – from consumer behavior changes, to the unknown trade agreements that will impact supply chains. Retailers: You need to evolve if you want to survive in the post-Brexit world.


While the full impact of Brexit for retailers both in the U.K and the EU is still yet to be seen, the key areas of disruption come from both the need to navigate uncharted waters and the speed of the change necessary – and the results for those who can’t adapt could be devastating. With only 14 months left for the government to figure out all the details of Brexit – and for retailers to react to those changes – many are not equipped to speedily comply if there are significant changes to things like product specifications and quality standards, new custom declaration process complications if a “no deal” Brexit occurs, workforce churn if travel between the EU and U.K. becomes more arduous… the list goes on.


Some retailers are looking to product lifecycle management (PLM) tools to support them, but a PLM system can take six months or more to fully deploy – and even then, it may not be enough. For large, complex, global organization, the speed and accuracy of information will be crucial to navigating their sourcing under Brexit. In an industry where disparate Excel sheets track and account for products, retailers will need to embrace digital sourcing and what-if costing measures if they want to keep up.


All the variables surrounding Brexit create an enormous amount of uncertainty and risk for retailers. Now, more than ever, retailers need supply chain visibility and agile sourcing capabilities to quickly adapt to fast-moving changes in trade agreements and regulations that come out of the Brexit negotiations. While no one really knows what will happen between now and 2019, the world of U.K. and E.U. retail is going to change, and the best thing brands can do is ensure that they have the operational ability to keep up.


Read our latest whitepaper on what-if costing to help keep pace with the rapidly changing times – and keep your company thriving during economic uncertainty.