Brexit: how to stay on your feet in the gathering storm

Various recent developments have increased the uncertainty within our sector: Brexit, higher wages, trade wars and new entrants such as Uber Freight that are keen to gain a foothold in the transport sector in the Netherlands and beyond. There seem to be more and more clouds on the horizon. Although Brexit has been postponed until after the summer, you want to be optimally prepared for the gathering storm. Is there reason for concern and, if so, what is the best way to deal with these developments? The answer is to take control of the supply chain rather than leaving yourself at the mercy of all the external forces.

Loss of trust

Many recent regulatory developments within the EU are changing the way the sector works, sometimes for the worse. Besides the impending Brexit, the cabotage regulations are being tightened up and there are changes to the rules relating to rest periods for drivers in secure parking areas. These developments will further intensify the shortage of drivers in Europe. The plans of the American company Uber Freight to expand into the Netherlands and beyond have also sent ripples through the industry. Uber Freight’s app service makes it possible for truck drivers and clients to connect directly. These developments will not only contribute to the worsening driver shortage, but will most likely also disrupt the entire market by creating a ‘race to the bottom’. The solution in this case is better cooperation, but cooperation requires trust. And although revenue growth was stable last year, it comes as no real surprise that exporting companies are less positive about the future outlook than they were a year ago.

How can you retain control?

As mentioned in our previous article, horizontal supply chain collaboration not only generates savings but also enables companies to jointly reduce carbon emissions. But how can supply chain collaboration be improved without a foundation of trust? The solution is to take active control of the collaborative partnership rather than remaining passive, and that’s exactly where a control tower adds value. Logistics managers can take control of their own supply chain while also further shaping their logistics framework by analysing data, hiring specialized transport partners and applying strict quality controls. Armed with professional insights into the inventory, planning, warehouse management and available carriers, they are in a much stronger position to adapt to the changes in the sector.

Make a difference in the run-up to Brexit

It was recently announced that Brexit has been postponed until 31 October to prevent the potential chaos of a ‘no-deal Brexit’. That date is now fixed, unless Prime Minister May gets the divorce agreement ratified earlier. This postponement gives our sector more time to make the necessary preparations and to develop collaborative partnerships. Much will still depend on the type of deal eventually reached between the UK and the EU, which makes it all the more important to have a good understanding of your freight requirements and all the possible scenarios. Irrespective of the particular scenario, each one will undoubtedly require flexibility and thorough preparation. In our IDS control tower, we already have scenarios in place for a large number of our customers and these will be deployed as soon as there is more clarity. You too can benefit from these scenarios and the insights we have gained from developing them.

To find out how, please contact Arno Spoek.

Ps. We have written about Brexit before. Feel free to re-read our previous articles: No-deal Brexit is a big deal for logistics and Brexit: All or nothing!