How can Irish industry protect itself from Brexit?
News of Brexit has sent shockwaves through Irish industry, with many businesses bracing themselves for the difficulties and uncertainty that lie ahead. With negotiations on the horizon, and the UK political landscape in disarray, it can be hard to predict with any level of certainty what kind of climate businesses are going to face.
Given that Brexit may not come into effect for some time (approximately two years depending on negotiations) now is the time for Irish industries to effectively prepare.
Here are some important ways in the effects of Brexit can be minimised:
1. Lean Process Development
It goes without saying that wasteful spending and inefficient processes can be disastrous when competing in a turbulent market. Waste can happen in every sector of a business, and often goes unnoticed or is accepted as part of daily procedure. Areas which are vital to target are time, labour and materials that are not being used effectively.
In order to withstand Brexit Irish businesses must be willing to audit and reorganise accordingly, ultimately leading to more efficient processes.
The UK market has long been the mainstay of Irish industry, particularly that of the agriculture and food industry. This reliable stream of trade, and Ireland’s unique monopoly on the British market, has somewhat minimised the need to branch outwards. In the wake of Brexit Irish industry must be less reliant on the UK market.
One important investment that should be considered is developing more comprehensive transport links to continental Europe. Shipping and transport routes which demand going outside the customs union, will be crippling to the Irish food industry.
3. Organisational Agility
Post- Brexit the market will be more changeable than ever and companies will need to be able to adapt accordingly. Organisational agility allows business to react to new competitors and market conditions.
An example of where this will be more important than ever is the emergence of new competitors in the agricultural sector. Countries such as New Zealand and Argentina will now have access to the UK market with the same tariffs as Ireland.
The presence of new competitors means that Irish businesses must be ready to seize upon new opportunities, technology etc. faster than ever before
4. Political Strategy
Irish industry must reimagine itself within the political landscape of E27 and position itself at an advantageous angle. With its traditional ally within the EU on issues such as corporate tax set to depart, Irish industry must shift its diplomatic efforts from the UK to the continent.
An example of how Ireland has been doing this is its bid to obtain a single market in services. Late last year Ireland and the Netherlands jointly initiated the writing of a letter to the European commission calling for further progress on this issue.