Developments - 05.16.2019

How Datum is Preparing for an Eventual Brexit

Given the uncertainty of when, and if, Brexit will happen, we have taken actionable steps to make sure that our customer experience doesn’t change.

Ian John

The future of Brexit and of the UK is up in the air, and delays until October of this year have given businesses a longer amount of time to anticipate what might be coming next.

There’s still an awful lot of uncertainty around what the exit strategy will look like, with predictions (and possibilities) ranging from another referendum, a no deal, to even just delays of varying length.

Because of the unpredictability of the situation, we at Datum decided to take the initiative and prepare for whatever might happen.

Given the continued delays, we haven’t been hearing too many concerns from our customers. After all, people will continue to do business. If there are issues, no one, not us or our clients, knows what those are going to be.

Therefore, top of mind for us is ensuring that we continue to do business as usual for our customers.

As an example, we’ve been cognizant of the probable customs delays for shipping items in and out of the UK. We’re making it our goal to ensure that nothing changes for the customer. When we guarantee three day shipment to Europe, we will have to take custom delays into account on our end – and deliver the customer the same experience they have come to expect. The potential customs delays don’t concern us since we’ve been complying with them for years, as we ship to customers in places like the US, Mexico, Canada, Asia and Africa.

To help us maintain these shipping practices, we decided to find ourselves a new premises in Poland, in the south of Warsaw. One of our processing machines (sheeting line) has arrived to the Poland facility and we also have coils there which are the key items that would be on long lead times. In other words, we will be prepared for Brexit long before anything actually happens.

We can quickly get packaging, hand tools, or other needed materials, sourced and sent within the EU. We also have staff members that will manage the operation very soon, along with Polish-speaking employees who have helped get this set up (one of whom is based in Kingsbridge and is actually our sales manager).

Setting up manufacturing capabilities (step stencil manufacture, frame manufacture, etc.) is more complicated due to the additional staffing, expertise and production equipment needed.  

We will continue to mount foils onto frames at our UK facility but will hold stock at our European site.  Datum will deal with the complications and any delays in customs clearance and port handling, but will still be able to supply our European customers on the short lead times they expect (possibly even shorter as the production lead time will be eliminated). The ports near our new facility offer fairly good access to the whole of Europe, which can also help decrease delays.

In addition, we’ve gone through the legislative process of setting up the necessary Polish entity and we’re hard at work upgrading our business software so that we can create shipping paperwork and invoices from the new Polish entity.

All we can do is anticipate what might happen, and be proactive rather than reactive. That’s what this new Poland office has afforded us. When, and if, Brexit happens, Datum has taken the necessary steps to ensure that we are prepared well in advance.