As the deadline for Brexit is looming closer and there is still no clear-cut resolution to exiting the EU with an agreed deal, the UK fears that it could leave under ‘no deal’, meaning that there could be no agreed trade deals. This has brought further uncertainty in terms of impact on the supply chain, and with no true plan in place for the foreseeable future, warehousing and storage services could be one of the industries affected the most. How can you prepare for such an event? FORWARDER takes a look at what you should consider…

Stockpiling

Since the results of the referendum, retailers have revealed that they have been stockpiling in preparation of trade barriers and high importation fees. Over 40% of Britain’s food is sourced abroad, meaning that reserving and storing goods is an attractive option for retailers. Wholesalers and grocers will not only be able to continue to sell a (somewhat) steady flow of goods, but will also help prevent any stock shortages should ports become congested or relationships between traders within the EU become difficult to manage post-Brexit. Fast food pizza restaurant Dominos, for example, has revealed that they have stockpiled ingredients in preparation for Brexit.

With this in mind, it can create a much higher demand for warehousing space to store goods. Not only will there be a requirement for physical warehouse space, but also connecting networks. Pallet networks connecting to major retail stores across the nation for major retailers is something that could be highly requested, as storing goods in a warehouse close to major retail hubs will ensure that stock can be transported as and when required.

Paperwork and files

Brexit has the ‘butterfly effect’ when it comes to warehousing and storage. The higher the demand for storage, the more paperwork will need to be completed. Government websites advise that all warehousing and storage services have the right supplementary paperwork and that companies are prepared for the high volume of compulsory admin. Furthermore, companies should prepare for labelling and update of technical files (which may change, post-Brexit).

Christmas demand

Whilst Brexit could bring business to warehouses, you also must remember the busy months ahead (how could you forget?) – Christmas! Christmas season is the most demanding time of the year for the entire supply chain. It also includes retail’s biggest event: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year’s statistics revealed that e-commerce giant Amazon hit the highest number of recorded sales on Black Friday 2018 than ever in history. Millions of Amazon Echo-Dots were purchased during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Although plans for Brexit have never been easy to predict, and it can become even more difficult when trying to ascertain how it will react with the demand of Christmas stock.

Preparing for Brexit

Any warehousing and storage companies (or any services linked to warehousing and storage, such as network pallets, for that matter) should do the best they can to prepare for the upcoming weeks of Brexit, as well as after October 31st. Despite the uncertainty of whether Brexit will truly occur at the end of October, companies should still plan the next few months as though the UK will leave the EU for sure, whether it be with or without a deal. Preparation may mean freeing up warehouse space or even implementing additional refrigeration. Due to stockpiling, temperature-controlled goods, such as dairy and meats, require perfect conditions to preserve its quality and saleability as long as possible. Make sure your warehouses are equipped with the latest technology to accommodate for goods of all kinds if this is something you wish to offer. It is also worth considering hiring additional staff to keep up with the workflow. Lastly, make sure you’re up to speed with the latest news and trade regulations over the next few months.  

Whilst Brexit will affect all stages of the supply chain, warehousing and pallet networks may feel some pressure over the next few months. If you’ve any news or advice on how to prepare for the upcoming Brexit plans, get in touch with us! 

Rachel Jefferies, Editor, FORWARDER magazine