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Brexit, where are you heading?


At 22:22 GMT on 29th March 2019 the last Eurotunnel Shuttle will leave the UK and head for France. The only border checks will be for drugs and undocumented passengers. Except for having bags scanned, and needing a passport, passengers taking this train will be treated as if they are travelling between two cities in the same country. The next train departing at 23:36 GMT will make the same journey with every passenger being treated as if they are travelling between two continents. The legal framework under which that train, its passengers and the contents of their bags travel will be closer to that of people travelling between London and New York. Preparing for Brexit looks at five steps that can help an organization reach the point of being ready to be able to react to the challenges that the first weeks of Brexit will throw at it.

STEP 1: Undertake Business Mapping

and look at the geography of your business. Identify where and what keeps the supply of products to your customers right from the day after Brexit:

  • Suppliers of Goods: Who are your suppliers, where are they located, what goods do they provide and what is the logistical and regulatory pathway used to get them to where you need them?
  • Internal View: Questions such as where your manufacturing and service facilities are, what products and services do they provide. What effect Brexit has on contracts and possible performance penalties.
  • Services: Who provides services from outside of your country to your company? What is the nature of those services (i.e. financial, medical, legal, BPO, IT) and what are the Brexit mitigation plans of those service providers? Are those plans realistic?
  • Capital: The EU has no restrictions on capital which flows either within the EU, or between third countries and the EU. However, in some circumstances a non-EU country may feel the need to impose capital flow restrictions.
  • Employees: Which of your staff frequently must conduct their jobs by undertaking work at different locations in the 27 States of the EU? Will they need Visas after Brexit? What actions can be done in advance to ensure business is not interrupted?

STEP 2: Run Scenario Planning

as a multi-layered analysis, including war gaming, to find and build your organizational top down ability to handle Brexit day 1.

Work out who and what the right people, systems and processes are that need to be in place for Brexit day 1. This will drive the difference between a disruptive and inconvenient Brexit.

STEP 3: Execute Training & Change

This should focus not only around issues such as new customs processes but also the implementation of Day 1 governance models.  Provide training that empowers your staff to handle unexpected surprises.  These surprises may include staff who are unable to travel, goods that fail to arrive, or even regulatory infringements caused by human error in filling in a customs declaration.

STEP 4: Practice, Plan, Practice

what day 1 to day 10 will be like. This needs to be an activity led by the organization’s senior leadership and will need to be run across key teams. It should assume different levels of disruption; starting with the lorry which missed the last train just before Brexit through to the customer who refuses your product due to uncertainties about its rules of origin status.

STEP 5: Prepare Day 1 Plan Execution

which will be the culmination of your business’s preparation for Brexit. The setting up of a Brexit control tower with the informational and managerial empowerment to make decisions & allow your business to react to the demand of the first days of Brexit.

About the authors
Jonathan Eaton is a Principal Consultant in the CPRD practice of Capgemini and the Netherlands Brexit expert. He has 18 years’ experience in Consumer Products, Retail & Natural Resources.

Mariska Dessaur-Terwel is a Business Analyst in the Government division of Capgemini Netherlands. She specializes in Culture, Policy Strategy and Business Change.