Brexit: The Journey Continues

As we set out towards Brexit, promotional suppliers and distributors should take stock of what they can offer overseas markets, says Phil Morgan.

As I write this, the Government has just published its white paper for Brexit, setting out the themes of its negotiation goals. I’m not here to offer my opinion on the principles set out, or our negotiation style. What I am still concerned about is how Brexit, and the journey towards it will affect UK promotional product suppliers and distributors.

We have two years to agree the terms of the exit, unpick more than 40 years of policies and agreements, and have all the terms agreed by 27 national parliaments. During the next few years, we have some big decisions to make for our businesses. The value of the pound is already having a big effect on the cost of imported items.

It’s a great opportunity to repeat the benefits of buying British. UK manufacturers shouldn’t be hit as hard by increased importing costs, since we’re generally bringing in product components, rather than complete products. Head to the Briman Group where you’ll find a great selection of UK-manufacturers.

There are fantastic opportunities for British-made products being sold into Europe. We have certainly found this to be the case in discussions with distributors at PSI. The opportunities in Europe are massive when you consider British talent for product design, innovation, quality and creativity, combined with the current value of the pound.

One of the areas where Europe has had a really positive impact is when it comes to compliance and product certification. We have found that the demand for ‘certified’ products started in Europe, and has become increasingly common in the UK. It’s something we can’t ignore. If you take compliance seriously, you can offer your customers peace of mind and boost your business.

As a UK manufacturer and exporter, product compliance has been something we’ve focused on for some time, and we have a dedicated product management team who are experts in this area. When you’re sourcing products, make sure you ask about REACH, SEDEX, ISO9001, COSHH, ROHS, to name just a few standards.

It can cost thousands to establish a fully compliant and certified product range, but it’s an investment that is incredibly worthwhile. So as we continue on our uncertain journey towards Brexit, I’d suggest that UK businesses focus on the areas we can control. Let’s champion all things Great, British and compliant!

Phil Morgan is managing director of SPS.

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