John Weedon, Managing Director of the Weedon Group, describes how his company is meeting the challenge of an imminent Brexit.
The transition period is coming to an end and Brexit is finally about to happen. Within the Weedon Group, we have been preparing for this event since the country first voted to leave back in 2016 and, with or without a deal, we are confident that we can continue to supply all our customers’ needs.
Many business leaders are concerned about situations which may or may not arise after the end of December. We have no crystal ball so, instead of trying to second guess, we have tried to anticipate all worst case scenarios and found appropriate solutions.
We have used the transition period to meet with our suppliers to ensure that all the relevant paperwork will be in place on schedule by the end of 2020 and that our supplies will continue to flow smoothly.
As an independent corrugated packaging manufacturer, we source our raw materials from independent paper mills around the world, which gives us greater flexibility. Over the years we have developed trusting relationships with these paper mills, which ensures a continuous supply. All of our paper suppliers have confirmed their support for us in the coming months.
As an independent business, we also have the freedom to select our own routes for incoming supplies from abroad and have for many years favoured the smaller ports around the UK, which anticipate fewer bottlenecks and disruptions if new border controls are imposed.
While we are not therefore expecting problems importing raw paper, large stocks are also currently being held for us in depots in the UK, and we carry a further six weeks’ supply in our own factories.
With our own in-house corrugator making our own sheet board, we enjoy significant advantages. Perhaps most importantly in the Brexit situation, it means we can control our supply of corrugated sheet board.
It is possible that changes governing the use of EU vehicles to transport goods around the UK may lead to a shortage of available road transport vehicles. But we have our own fleet of wagons, supplemented by our long-standing partnership with a logistics company, which gives us independence in the collection of raw materials and the delivery of finished products around the country.
Finally, the imposition of tariffs is one of the fears in a no-deal Brexit. However, we do not expect tariffs to affect our industry as they are unlikely to be imposed on either paper or our other significant imported raw material, starch.
Taking into account all these measures, the Weedon Group expects to be able to continue manufacturing at full capacity, even if there are initial teething problems elsewhere in the industry after 1 January. The New Year will undoubtedly usher in a new way of doing business for the UK but we are confident that, whatever the Brexit negotiators finally resolve, we will continue to provide a first class, uninterrupted service to our customers.
Weedon Group plant based packaging and displays