As if we weren’t already well and truly fed-up with talk of Brexit, media coverage of the various party conferences over the last few weeks has been adding more fuel to the ever-increasing panic about what’s actually going to happen for UK businesses.
Here at RDZ HQ we accept that these are challenging times, and no-one can as yet see what the ‘final deal’ is going to look like; but we ‘re not quite in the panic mode that the doom and gloom reports are telling us we should be. Just to make sure that we aren’t existing in a ‘chilled-out bubble’ of our own here (or perhaps just in total denial), we thought we would ask a few of our manufacturing-based clients to see just how much of a tail-spin Brexit is inducing within their businesses.
Now, it’s perhaps worth mentioning here that our collective Brexit opinion can be distilled to it merely being something which will happen and we’re not of one particular political persuasion or another and therefore do not believe that there is one specific party which should be sailing the Brexit ship, so to speak. This has allowed us to stay neutral – and avoid making enemies- and it encouraged the discussion to be more about the actual effect of Brexit rather than how we got into this mess in the first place…
So, what did we find? Firstly, it seems like the word ‘Brexit’ could be interchanged with ‘significant distraction’ and businesses are, in the main, treating it in the same way as any other challenge they face on a day-to-day basis. That’s not to say that they (or we) are belittling the serious nature of our exit from Europe, more that it is simply one more thing to overcome and plan for. Until we know the entire detail of the final agreement, everything is just conjecture so, as with any other uncertain variable, possibilities are discussed and potential impacts strategically considered. Yes, there may be current markets which may not be quite as easy to access as they were before, but things in manufacturing change on a regular basis and, if anything, generally result in the appearance of other opportunities.
The resounding feedback we gleaned from our admittedly informal survey revealed to us that the UK manufacturing base will cope with Brexit, whatever its final form. Up until the point where change is required, the entrepreneurs running this most dynamic of sectors will continue to serve existing clients and look for new business; will innovate and restructure as necessary. In doing so they will be here in 12 months’ time to tell the tale of how Brexit was simply one more challenge in the 10 or so they faced as the year progressed… Looking on the bright side, it could well be the case that preceding financial ‘disasters’ (think credit crunch, recession, austerity) have developed, within our industries, a kind of tenacity and robustness which will see them through just about anything that’s thrown in their direction.