The deadline for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in March 2019 seems to be coming up faster – can it already be 15 months since the surprise result of the referendum? But there still seems to be a great deal of confusion as to what type of deal the UK’s negotiators will get, and what the post-EU landscape will look like. Hard Brexit? Soft Brexit? Red, white and blue Brexit? Full-fat with caramel syrup Brexit? At the moment it’s anyone’s guess.
This uncertainty is far from ideal for small and medium-sized business, particularly those that trade overseas or have international suppliers.
Some things won’t change. Any company that was hoping they wouldn’t have to overhaul their data security systems to comply with the upcoming EU GDPR rules, for example, will be disappointed, as these regulations are still set to be implemented in full. But in other areas, the landscape could look very different from outside the EU.
So what impact could Brexit have on business’ ERP solutions, and how could having the right tools in place help steer companies through the expected tough times ahead?
Managing supply chains
One area of business that is likely to be particularly affected by Brexit is vertical supply chains, especially if key components have been outsourced overseas, if some parts of a manufacturing operations are outsourced, or if a business relies on ‘just-in-time’ inventory solutions. It may mean that companies need to rethink how they manage these changes, with greater advance planning. In this case, having an effective ERP solution with advanced forecasting tools will be highly beneficial.
Keeping international sales running
Here will also be a range of considerations for any company that is looking to sell abroad, be it manufacturers exploring the export market or e-commerce retailers accepting online orders from overseas. With questions such as taxes and customers charges yet to be resolved, an ERP system with have to be flexible enough to handle expected changes to the UK’s status, such as leaving the customs union.
Handling multiple regulations
Leaving the EU may also, in time, result in increasingly divergent regulatory landscapes between the UK and the EU, and this is something that ERP solutions will have to be able to cope with, especially in areas such as financial reporting. Solutions that have been designed from the ground up to support multi-national, multi-regulatory environments, such as Sage X3, will therefore be hugely useful in making any transition as smooth as possible.
Could the cloud offer the best solution?
In such uncertain times, it’s essential for business to ensure their software solutions are up-to-date and provide accurate information at all times. Therefore, it may be beneficial for businesses to opt for a cloud strategy when looking for ERP tools. These allow businesses to keep up with any changes to their requirements, such as shifts in accounting practices, that may be needed as a result of Brexit. Software-as-a-Service solutions allow businesses to rest assured they will always be working with the latest information – not to mention the potential for lower costs and better flexibility.