A lot has changed because of Brexit. While uncertainty still lingers around how Brexit has affected or will affect the business’, Merenda has been preparing for Brexit since 2019. There have been few teething problems (not necessarily down to issues on our end); however, we have worked hard over the last number of years to gauge the range of challenges and looking at opportunities that would put our customers and partners at ease, and as such, we have had a relatively smooth start to the year which was undoubtedly down to our Brexit preparations.
Throughout 2019/2020, we continuously worked to understand the requirements logistically both with our shipping partners but also through engagement with Government agencies like Intertrade Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. As a business, we are constantly innovating and working towards providing the best possible solution for all our stakeholders, so when the Brexit question arose, it was no different. Happily, we can say that our proactive approach to Brexit not only helped our business but also strengthened our relationship with our customers.
So, what did we do Pre- January 2021?
We focussed primarily on (a) collaborating with our customers and suppliers to consolidate orders, review stock levels and (b) communicate with our UK customers on administrative matters like commodity codes and customs clearance requirements.
Now that we are in a post Brexit phase, we are confident to say that we are well informed and comfortable to address concerns that have brought a lot of uncertainty to some companies. ‘Delivery’ and ‘Extra Clearance costs’ were the two prominent points of friction we knew we would encounter after Brexit. It is true that the post-Brexit red tape has delayed deliveries; however, our liaison with the support network keeps our customers constantly updated. As the orders are dispatched, relevant paperwork is emailed to both the customer and our courier partner on matters regarding VAT, invoices, and relevant commodity codes. The key has been regular communication with all stakeholders regarding any disruptions such as extended lead-times (as best we can).
In the last quarter of 2020, our strategy was to recommend our UK customers to forecast their requirements and increase their stock holding. Openly communicating with our customers and urging them to prepare with us made this Brexit transition period much more manageable. The strategy was a success. Not only were we prepared for the demand, but also gained time to strategize for the coming months. Moreover, our knowledge put us in a position to educate our customers overseas effectively. While there are still many uncertainties regarding Brexit, everyone here at Merenda is continuously working to be flexible and ensure there are a range of options in place.