The biggest concern for 1 in 10 businesses in 2021 is supply and logistics.
This figure has risen by 4 percent in the last year, partly due to Brexit uncertainty and the ever-evolving Coronavirus Pandemic. Approximately 37 percent of SMEs we spoke to said that they fear how Brexit, in particular, will impact imports and exports in the year ahead.
As we will see shortly, numerous sectors have voiced trepidation towards the on-going availability of supplies, including media, healthcare, consulting, and beauty.
Only days into the new year, UK and EU fishing boats were still tangled in a heated debate surrounding on-going trade agreements. While negotiations in the Channel have advanced, many people will view the predicament as a precursor to more legal issues.
It’s perhaps for that reason 34 percent of business owners said they are worried about any potential changes to rules on imports and exports. Our survey also showed that around half of all media and internet companies (50%) fear the impact of new trade laws, as do 45 percent of beauty businesses.
“Our biggest concerns for this year is how COVID will continue to disrupt our stock and deliveries as well as the impact that Brexit could bring. Last year we had a lot of delays with our stock suppliers due to the ongoing pandemic which we predict will continue into 2021.
With the new Brexit regulations, we are already seeing delivery delays into Europe as well as delays in stock arriving from Europe, which is an ongoing concern and we also now have to think about our safety procedures in line with coronavirus, so making sure we are we implement the right PPE measures when packaging orders, taking deliveries and handing over to couriers.”
While statistics from our latest report show that fewer companies have a business plan that relies on the import of goods (down from 42 percent to 36 percent), there is still a significant proportion who will fear any future developments.
What’s more, over a third of businesses (36%) stated that they had to change their business plan for 2021 due to the global health crisis.
My business plan for 2021 relies on import of goods
My business plan for 2021 relies on export of goods
The end of the transition period means that UK businesses now need to file customs declarations when importing or exporting to Great Britain. These additional custom duties could bite into many businesses’ sales, with around 30 percent stating that they fear future supply chain troubles.
To make things worse, 36 percent of companies say that finding new suppliers and contacts is difficult, which could prove to be dangerous should they run into logistical issues.
Eight percent of businesses expect to expand in 2021. Yet, 35 percent say that their current suppliers would struggle to meet demand if they were to grow in 2021. Part of this apprehension has arisen from the recent disruption to transport links.
But while 48 percent of businesses relied on good transport links in last year’s report, only 33 percent stated the same this time around — suggesting many companies might now have additional provisions in place.
I find it difficult to balance quality product or service with costs
Business, consulting and management - I find it difficult to balance quality product or service with costs