South West manufacturers prepare for Brexit

By Anita Jaynes on June 27, 2016

Small and medium sized manufacturing and engineering firms across the South West must now prepare for Brexit says local specialist advisory firm SWMAS (South West Manufacturing Advisory Service).

57% said they wanted to remain in the EU according to a survey published just two weeks ago and now, according to SWMAS, the region’s manufacturers must rethink their plans and quickly.

Cressida Granger, the managing director of Bournemouth-based Mathmos, the creators of the lava lamp, said: “Britain seems very much diminished by this vote. However having survived over 50 years of change, I’m sure we at Mathmos will successfully negotiate our way though the many uncertainties that Brexit brings.”

Peter Russell, Partner at Stuart Interiors, leading designers and makers of period style joinery and interiors said: ‘‘My company exports design and imports finished products mainly from the EU.  This at the moment is straight forward and easy, I hate to think what it may become, with lots more paper work and customs clearance let alone the currency potential problems.”

On the other hand, some see this as an opportunity for change, with George Hamilton, Managing Director of the Delabole Slate Company in Cornwall stating that: ‘‘We can now look forward to an open relationship with the whole world once again’’ He also added ‘‘this will be a huge opportunity for small businesses of the UK and Industry as a whole.”

According to Simon Howes, Managing Director of SWMAS Ltd “The true impact of the decision to leave the EU will take weeks and months to become clear and will be different for each business. Those exporting should prepare for a potential boost in sales due to a weaker pound making UK goods more attractive to overseas buyers, whereas those relying on imported goods and services from the Eurozone should be planning to offset the effect of an increase in costs.”

“The availability of staff should also be reviewed, particularly if relying on skilled staff from other EU countries. Many of the region’s manufacturing and engineering firms have come to rely on workers from within the EU and we don’t yet know how and when any changes will take effect.”

He added that, “now is the time for businesses to review the impact of any potential changes and to develop new strategies to offset risks. Change often brings new opportunity and our manufacturing and engineering business must use their characteristic resilience, creativity and agility to adapt. Now is the time to act.”

To find out more about SWMAS visit: www.swmas.co.uk

Pictured above: Simon Howes, Managing Director of SWMAS Ltd