Beyond Brexit - Engineering and construction: An industry that needs to work together
01 October 2018
In my previous blogs, Where are my people? and Is my supply chain prepared? I've been sharing some thoughts on the impact of Brexit on Engineering & Construction. As I've mentioned before, this came from the fact that many industry CEOs and leaders I've spoken to are starting to express concerns about how ready their businesses are for life after we've left the EU.
The three major issues facing businesses are:
- People and talent: keeping the workers they have, and replacing the ones they lose.
- Materials: making sure supplies don't dry up when borders and customs arrangements change.
- Supply chain: knowing every step in the chain in more detail, to make sure it's robust enough for the coming disruption.
While each blog has dealt with some more specific ideas for how businesses can be preparing, I wanted to wrap up with some thoughts on what the industry can be doing to work together.
Convening the industry for a successful transition
Our ‘no regret decisions’ help to highlight some of the factors that businesses should be considering at an individual level. But we also believe there’s more the industry could be doing collectively at this critical time.
As I’ve reflected on the issues, I believe there are two kinds of collaboration that will help ease the transition to life outside the EU:
Come together - to change the things you can
The people and talent issue is something that the industry can start to deal with. As employers, it’s time to start thinking about ways to make the UK an attractive place to work. What can the industry be doing collectively to make workers feel welcome? What support and guidance can it offer to help deal with the administrative and legal burdens that workers now face?
In terms of materials and supply chain, the critical action for the industry is - as we’ve talked about - preparing a coordinated ‘plan for readiness’. Rather than overwhelming suppliers and contractors with demand for workers and materials, start thinking now about how the industry can think ahead, engaging with third parties and preparing them for a more predictable level of demand.
Speak with one voice - to influence the things you can’t change alone
There are some things that are clearly out of the industry’s control, certainly in the short-term. Things like the ongoing supply of labour in the UK workforce, or the supply of raw materials. These are the kinds of things that need Government support.
Right now, the best thing the industry could do is speak with one voice - a consistent and powerful voice, raising concerns and questions to Government. While it’s not always possible to solve problems alone, you stand more chance of making your voices heard if you speak together.
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