SNC Installations reports overseas manufacturers pricing for ‘worst case scenarios’ amid Brexit uncertainty
While the UK moves ever closer to 31st January, when it is due to leave the European Union, the import/export landscape is still suffering from uncertainty. In light of the referendum vote, overseas manufacturers have often increased prices for UK companies since 2016.
The Parliamentary Review spoke with Stuart Conduct, managing director of SNC Installations, a Southampton-based SNC Installations have been supplying and installing racking systems, shop equipment, pallet racking from stock, cantilever racking and anti-collapse meshes since 1999. On the topic of Brexit uncertainty, Stuart said:
“We are confronted with a number of challenges. For example, when the prospect of Brexit became a reality, a panic was caused among our suppliers who source from overseas. Immediately subsequent to the Brexit vote in 2016, some of them raised their costs. However, this did not occur across the board, and we are uncertain whether the overseas manufacturer had changed its pricing or the UK supplier had taken the opportunity to increase its costs. Nevertheless, prices in general have risen in anticipation of a worst-case scenario.
“Uncertainty is the main culprit here, and because much of our supply line has routes in Europe, we have to be especially vigilant of what happens in this area of politics.”
When asked about other challenges SNC Installations are facing in the sector, Stuart went on to comment:
“More broadly speaking, the retail and building industries – which we play a role in – are particularly susceptible to changes in spending. When these sectors suffer, we feel the effects too. Fortunately, this panic didn’t turn out to be as destructive to our business as we first thought it might be. For instance, turnover in 2018 turned out to be roughly the same as it was in 2017, which was itself a good year in terms of revenue.
“Labour supply is another issue to contend with. It’s always difficult to find good and sufficiently qualified installers. With regard to this issue, though, we have also been extraordinarily lucky. Our staff are fantastic, and the retention rate is similarly good. In fact, this is one of the aspects of the business that I’m most proud of. We’ve played a role, even if only a small one, in keeping local people busy, employed and active.”
The hope from some within industry is – whatever your views on Brexit personally – the UK officially leaving the EU will lead to more certainty and clarity in the mid- to long-term when it comes to importing and exporting from overseas. And closer to home, another priority for the government could be to look at the labour supply issues nationwide.