SINCE January 1, firms across the UK have been adapting to the new trading rules put in place at the end of the Brexit transition period. Getting ready ahead of time has helped businesses to seize new opportunities and keep things moving.
One of those businesses is Control Techniques, based in Powys, which designs and manufactures electric-motor control technology for industry.
With the company exporting its products to 77 countries around the world, its president Anthony Pickering decided to begin planning early.
He says: “Planning has been the root of our success since January 1. We had to check that our suppliers were ready and had contingency plans in place – for example, if the port at Dover became blocked.
“They had to prove that their suppliers also had a plan, reaching all the way back down the supply chain.”
Despite the effects of the pandemic, Control Techniques has gone from strength to strength, moving an entire factory from China to mid-Wales last year.
Anthony says: “We’re absolutely flat out, with orders coming out of our ears. There are some delays, but we have not missed a beat and I think it will all figure itself out.
“Since uplifting our factory and then reinstalling it here to increase our capacity, our commitment to Europe has actually strengthened. It means that we are a truly British manufacturer now, which is something we’re very proud of.”
And making sure supply chains remain strong is a key step for businesses that trade with Europe, such as ocean technology firm RS Aqua, based in Portsmouth.
With his business dependent on importing and exporting millions of pounds worth of goods every year, RS Aqua owner
Martin Stemp secured a UK Government grant to help complete new customs processes. The firm also spoke to its shipping companies and suppliers to make sure it was ready for the changes.
Martin says: “Being able to import smoothly is essential to what we do. In some ways we’re fortunate because we’ve been exporting to countries outside the EU for decades.
“So we already have some internal resources and customs facilities to allow us to operate within and outside the EU.”
What’s new for you?
Get on top of these key areas for action and your business will really be going places
- Prepare for trade and customs procedures
- Learn how to make customsdeclarations, oruse a third party such as a freight-forwarder
- For trade with countries outside the EU, check for tariff changes
- Make sure you have an EORI number starting with ‘GB’
- Check your goods meet origin rules
- Check the rules on hiring and working abroad
The Brexit checker tool at gov.uk/transition has helped many businesses identify steps they still need to take.
When Alison Wood and Mhairi Cochrane launched their sustainable hygiene brand Lilypads in Edinburgh last year, they were aware that they wouldn’t have long to prepare.
Theirs is a truly international business: its reusable period pads are manufactured in Lithuania, and it exports to Spain, Holland and Denmark.
Meanwhile, the company donates 10 per cent of its revenue to subsidise sanitary products in places such as Kenya.
Towards the end of last year, Alison made thorough preparations for building a new trading relationship with the EU. Along with business partner Mhairi, she used the Government’s Brexit checker tool to make sure that their business was ready when the new rules came into effect.
“It was good for pinpointing some of the things we hadn’t thought about,” Alison says. “It has been a few months of growth and change for us – but other than that, things are looking just fine.”
Find out more at gov.uk/transition