Way back in June of 2016 shortly after the UK voted to leave the European Union we wrote a small piece on our thoughts about leaving the EU.
Almost three years later we're still really not sure what the effects might be, despite being a couple of weeks away from crashing out of the EU. We can tell you what we've seen thus far though.
What we say for sure was the short term because the value of the pound dropped, prices of a lot of parts rose. That was predictable as most all of them are priced, basically, in Euros as they are sold into and all over the EU but often distributed by EU divisions of manufacturers or EU distributors. So, it's all in Euros then converted to GBP.
Therefore, the Pound drops in value, part prices rice. Simple.
Not "Project Fear" but the stark reality.
More Busy Doing Nothing
Leading on from what we said back then, one thing that has been noticeable by its absence (think about it for those in the industry) is that, nothing's been going on.
There has been a dearth of news.
Nobody is swapping horses with contract work.
Not many people are moving jobs.
If like us you've wondered why, about the only conclusion we can draw is, nobody's doing anything as they're all terrified to make a move, caught like rabbits in headlights and startled into standing stationary.
No job swapping or moving, no big hirings and firings, no contract changes and really not all that much in the way of products either.
It's just dead quiet. Mostly.
We don't expect much to happen until Brexit is done and dusted (however that happens) and business has clarity on what the land looks like.
Scuttlebutt and rumours abound (as well as a few reliable sources, the usual "people familiar with the matter") about manufacturers stockpiling millions and millions of pounds of stock, taking on huge premises to store them in, in case supplies are disrupted by events. Mostly, in case we crash out the EU we suspect.
So the really big boys with the cash to do so won't be caught short and others get a jump on them or, if you believe some people's opinion, so that they can hike the prices as supplies get tight and the competition dwindles.
Manufacturers seem, from what we've been hearing, more engrossed in sorting that out than much anything else which is understandable as, if they've nothing to sell, they don't have a business.
Just In Time
Just in time (JIT) ordering is a thing. It's been a thing in the industry for decades for both appliances and spare parts but, what we can talk about with authority is parts.
Many of the top, say 3-500 spare parts lines will be in the UK held on shelf, in stock and normally there will be a month or so's worth sat there waiting to go.
The going on for 20 million or so other lines, not so much.
They will be ordered in from EU hubs, distributors and so on if not from factory outside the EU and they take an age anyway so we're not bothered about those. We are bothered about the huge number that come from the EU hubs.
Normally people will get those within a few days as things are now. 24-48 hours for most commonly used items.
What will happen if the UK crashes out the EU, honestly, we've no idea. How long will they take to arrive, we've not got a clue.
And, this is the very, very important point to make, we do not know and neither does anyone else!
Government tells us to "prepare for any scenario" or words to that effect which when planning a business is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard.
What concerns us is that customers may well not understand that, if we crash out, there will most likely be delays and at this stage we have no idea what form they will be in, how long they will be or if there will even be any.
Normally we're not political on here, other than industry politics. We try to stay away from it as it's too polarising and causes strong opinion., often not pleasant as people do tend to get up on their high horses instead of holding a reasoned discussion so, best not to say anything and avoid the unpleasantness.
But on this, we're getting a bit concerned that people might not understand the real world ramifications of the politics that are ongoing now here in the UK. Nor get the gravity of it.
All we're doing is pointing out, in advance some of them.
Meanwhile the industry is still holding its breath waiting to see what happens, just as we reported almost three years ago.