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Opinion: Making your supply chain as efficient as possible

Opinion: Making your supply chain as efficient as possible

With a huge amount of uncertainty in the market and many companies and individuals wondering what the market is going to look like post Brexit, planning ahead and preparing for what might happen is now one of the most challenging tasks for retailers. Businesses will need to understand the impact on their supply chain and ensure they have the flexibility to deal with the sudden or unexpected changes that are likely to occur.

Global Logistics Manager, Paul Bambrough-Smith has been with CML for 24 years and during his time in the business has been involved in many areas. His specialities include supply chain management, expediting, import and export accounting, customs compliance, bonded warehousing, Letters of Credit, providing training in customs management and consulting. His in-depth knowledge across these areas is a real asset to the business and also provides a unique opportunity for CML’s customers, who are able to take advantage of this.

To help retailers gain an idea of how to stay one step ahead of the game during this time of uncertainty, Paul discusses the ways retailers should use this as a catalyst to explore the opportunities that are available to their business, and advises on how they should capitalise on them.

Cost savings

With potential customs and tax increases on the horizon, plus a soaring exchange rate, this is the perfect time for retailers to be looking into where savings could be made.

Businesses have become used to the ease in which they have been able to move goods around Europe and this has lead to a focus on areas such as imports, exports and internal aspects such as merchandising and production. However, as Brexit approaches, companies will need to begin to delve deeper into the areas which may have been overlooked to help cut costs and ensure there are no hidden expenses which may arise once Brexit comes into play.

The starting point for this should be a thorough end to end supply chain audit. This will allow your business to prioritise and analyse any risks, as well as see where extra savings could be made. This should also include a review of all current contracts, taking into account any deals which are imminent so that a ‘plan B’ can be drawn up should Brexit have a major financial impact on these relationships.

Improving efficiency

Although the UK’s future relationship with the rest of Europe is still uncertain, one of the likely outcomes of Brexit will be additional customs checks for items imported into the country. These extra measures will not only increase transport times, but they could also cause high levels of disruption in the supply chain and leave retailers facing costly delays.

Taking steps now to improve efficiency throughout the business will not only place retailers in a much more comfortable position, but it will help create a smoother transition once these changes take effect. By claiming back time in other areas, retailers are able to offset both the time and monetary cost of future disruptions.

Undertaking a full audit of your import process, including import documentation, may highlight areas for improvement and reduce risk of delays at ports where documentation needs further examination.

A global network

To take advantage of the more beneficial offerings as well as the ability to develop and execute innovative solutions for import and export, it is important to work with a freight forwarder who will manage the end to end process with close attention to detail.

For example, CML works with a luxury fashion brand, managing the inbound freight from point of origin to final delivery point - often as a home delivery direct to customer. We handle all import documents, customs clearance of the goods into our bonded warehouse, effectively postponing payment of duties and taxes until the goods are ready for dispatch or avoiding payment in the UK altogether for goods that are re-exported. This is possible because of the array of HMRC simplifications and authorisations that CML holds.

Customs compliance

Ensuring that your business is compliant with all current customs rules and regulations is now more important than ever. Being non-compliant can have a devastating impact on businesses and leave them open to heavy fines in serious cases and place a variety of smaller, but equally damaging, restrictions on them.

Offenders could be subject to an increased number of audits, delays in the clearance of goods and the removal of duty reliefs, which when combined with the additional checks placed on international shipments due to Brexit, could prove disastrous. In the run up to Brexit, retailers should use this time to make sure all aspects of their business are fully upto date and insure that they are not over or under paying duties and taxes.

To allow retailers the opportunity to make big savings, understanding the relevant customs rules is essential. With a number of HMRC regimes and duty discounting procedures available, businesses and retailers should ensure that they are taking full advantage of any that they are entitled to.

A strong logistics partnership

To stay ahead of the competition, retailers will need to have a quality logistics partner in place that is able to manage expectations and knows the company inside out. CML prides itself on the ability to thoroughly understand each of its customers, and provide them with the best possible advice and solution for their needs.

Alongside this, a widespread agent network means CML can offer advice on local regulations anywhere in the world, allowing businesses to trace shipments seamlessly without the burden of excessive costs.

Whether you’re importing or exporting goods and want to ensure you’re ready for your next HMRC visit, or simply want an assessment of your supply chain efficiency or considerations for Brexit, we’re here to help. To discover more, please give us a call and speak to Paul Bambrough-Smith.

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