News - 02.01.2019

How Good Companies Deal with Disruption

Pete Anniss

Brexit is sure to change everything for a lot of people, how do we deal with it?

For good or ill, the Brexit deadline is fast approaching. Nobody knows for sure what will happen, or what the causes or the effects will be. One thing we do know, however, is that when everybody knows nothing, everybody panics.

Everyone has their own opinions over the political uncertainty at the moment within the EU but I believe whatever they are, the common ground between everyone is that ‘uncertainty’ is not good.

Call it what you will. Uncertainty. Risk. Unpredictability.

Whatever it is, most companies aren’t equipped to handle it. Every company and each market is creating contingency plans or organizing stockpiles when nobody has any idea what is actually going to be needed.

For example, automotive companies ask basic questions regarding the supply of raw materials for car manufacture, and this feeds down the line to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th tier suppliers and sometimes even further. Each of these tiers will have some plan of how they are going to deal with the delays in shipping across the border and potential disruption after the March 29th deadline.

But even with the best plans there are always unforeseen challenges. These unforeseen obstacles will exist at every level of the supply chain, and each level will have a knock-on effect to the subsequent levels. These challenges and flaws inherent in planning will, in itself, introduce interruptions in supply regardless of whatever waves come out of the political world.

Just like everyone else, I am afraid that I do not have an answer here except, of course: forget the whole thing and carry on as normal.

But I don’t believe this will happen.

Instead, we are stuck here, observing the cost and completely unnecessary work that is being devoted within just one part of the market to prepare for situations we have never lived through before.

To quote someone I can’t remember: “if you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both.”

That’s why Datum Alloys has become singularly brilliant at dealing with uncertainty in our industry. We have excelled on being reactive to uncertainty and changes in our marketplace, and this one of the things that separates us from our competitors. It is when being able to react and adjust become difficult that companies and employees complain that they don’t know what they’re planning for.

Good companies, like Datum, who are able to predict the changes, and adjust accordingly, are able to give their employees a clear vision of what’s ahead, and provide them a feeling of confidence that they know where they’re going, and why they do what they do.

Most employees leave good companies because they lose hope and faith in the direction or the mission.

Don’t worry about what will come, and don’t focus energy on things that might be completely useless. Focus on doing what you do well, that way at least you’ll be successful now, and enter the new world on a strong base.

By sacrificing today’s business for a hypothetical storm in the future, you lost the initiative in both.