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With 90 days until Brexit, supply chain kinks could cost manufacturers dearly

In particular, they may find themselves unable to get their hands on the parts needed to keep production lines moving and the PPE that is now crucial to enable their teams to work safely.

We should not lose sight of the potential for PPE shortages to halt production. This is a new consideration to the Brexit preparation process and a new dimension in what it takes to meet the most important objective for any site or plant manager: uptime.

Manufacturers could find themselves in a position where production lines are up and running without any issues, but a hold-up of essential PPE at the border means that they must shut down until it has cleared customs. 

The EU continues to represent a large share of the supply chain across UK manufacturing. As the UK reaches the end of its transition period with the EU, additional costs and time at the border will add friction to existing supply chains.

Many manufacturers relying heavily on the delivery of just-in-time supplies from Europe will be particularly exposed. 

Companies must plan carefully to ensure they have the goods and materials required for the manufacturing process itself. However, to keep the wheels of industry turning, they must also ensure they have the products required for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of production lines – not to mention essential PPE.

Having access to these items is an essential ingredient in the long term for the sustained recovery of manufacturing throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond the Brexit deadline. 

With three months to go before crunch time, it is imperative that manufacturers work with their suppliers to identify the parts and products needed most frequently, to ensure that these are always available within the UK.

Given the time, effort and money manufacturers are putting into the recovery, it’s now more important than ever that they don’t fall short when critical parts are needed most.

Martin Gaarn Thomsen is chief executive of Rubix

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