Simon Geale

09 July 2018
Topics in this article
  • Government & Public Sector
  • Risk & Resilience

What you can do to get smart and get ahead

Déjà vu?

Here’s some advice on how to prepare from across the pond: Have enough food and water on hand for at least seven days without refrigeration or heat. Don’t wait to hit the supermarket – shelves could be virtually empty. Plan for one gallon of water per head per day, plus soup, meats, fruits, veggies, juices, trail mix, white rice and back-up baby food. Be ready for a power outage, overcrowded hospitals, or mass-transit stoppage. Introduce yourself to neighbors you don’t know – it’ll be a lot easier to get them to open doors for you in an emergency.

Brexit? Of course not, the advocacy of white rice was the giveaway. The above was published in October 1999 to a readership of millions on the subject of…. Y2K, remember that? Different issue, same hysteria.

With nine months to go, is there anything to learn from 1999?

If history has taught us anything, it’s:

  • Don’t expect the noise to die down
  • The period leading up to the event may well be when market volatility is at its greatest and may be worse than the event itself
  • Nobody actually knows what is going to happen.

So now is the time to act, because;

  • The potential scope of impact is wider than ever before
  • Supply markets are already reacting to volatility
  • There is no time to procrastinate
  • Finally, and perhaps, most importantly, you are going to read about it more and more, and be asked about it more and more – so start thinking, start acting.

What should you be thinking about?

After 40+ years of marriage to the EU, there are 40+ years of law and hundreds of areas of administrative overlap to unwind. There are also a lot of opinions out there, but it’s not much more than opinion. So let’s try some advice… whilst it’s important to understand the macro themes and their impact, it’s even more important to translate these into actions that you can undertake now to both protect your business and take advantage of current volatility.

  • Macro Themes are the big impact areas of Brexit; things which affect the nation, business, the public, etc. but also the things that the media pick up on. These can drive currency instability, share price volatility, consumer panic, etc. Be aware of these and their timings. You may need contingency plans in place.
  • This is where our Procurement Themes come in. These are the things that we know well and sit right within our sphere of influence (These are by no means exhaustive). In volatile markets, such as now, this is what we should be assessing as our risks and opportunities. Do we need agility or security? Or, do we need something else?
  • And then we have our Act Themes. In short, based on your assessment, this is what you need to do now! And it’s not just new deals, it’s right across your value chain; your strategies, deals, and current relationships.

So, your challenge is quite simple: deal or no deal

Understand these themes and how they relate to your business, translate this into your commercial activities, and most importantly do something about it.

Who can help?

In 1999 suppliers made vast sums from playing on our uncertainty. The same couldn’t happen again, could it? History also shows that procurement can thrive. This is our time.

So who can help you to understand, assess, and act?

In October 1999 you could’ve called the Y2K hotline; thankfully we’ve learned a lot since then. If you are wrestling with what Brexit means for your business, and how to do something about it, get in touch.

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