Managing Brexit: Shippers relying on digitalisation to mitigate impact

How can shippers and carriers make the most of the UK leaving the EU?

UK stockpiles for chaotic Brexit that may never happen, Emerging Europe value chains under threat due to no-deal Brexit, Shipping industry unprepared for new regulations… A quick skim of Brexit related headlines makes for grim reading for the transport industry. 

Uncertainty is the one constant and whatever ends up happening, it won’t be clear sailing for anyone involved in transporting goods between the European Union and the UK. But that doesn’t mean shippers can’t do anything to prepare, in fact they can do plenty.

At Transwide we’ve been speaking to our clients to understand their pain points, how they’re dealing with the situation and how our products are helping.

Delays and lack of visibility 

With talk of another Brexit extension until October 2019, it’s clear that there is no quick fix solution to the movement of goods to and from the British isles. It’s likely that new rules and regulations will impact transit time leaving companies on both ends unclear when their goods will show up. 

This will particularly impact any businesses that rely on a just-in-time process, where even minute delays at customs borders can have severe consequences. To give you an idea of the extent of the issue, 1,100 trucks cross the Channel each day, transporting deliveries for car and engine manufacturing plants in the UK. In our annual survey of Transwide customers, we discovered that the main reason shippers chose to implement a TMS is to improve visibility. Knowing where shipments are at any given moment in time allows the logistics team to only step in when it’s really needed. 

Papers, please

Speaking of red tape, shippers have long been warned that exiting the European Union will, at the very least, lead to a short-term increase in documentation needed to cross the border. Transwide’s upload doc functionality is designed precisely to manage multiple documents and formats. Users can upload any type of document directly into appointment bookings or transport orders, including packing lists, transport documents, certificates, load pictures and any other necessary paperwork. Once added to the system, documents can be viewed or downloaded on demand.

This not only ensures compliance and visibility for each relevant party, but significantly facilitates and speeds up the entire process. This single hub for all documentation will prove increasingly important as shippers look to streamline processes as much as possible to deal with increasing complexity. 

A premium for warehousing

When uncertainty rears its head, a common response is to start stockpiling goods. According to a survey by an IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, UK businesses stockpiled raw and finished products at a record rate in March 2019. Fears over a potential inability to source products post-Brexit continues to fuel the practice, with more and more warehouses being filled up. 

To make sure you get the most out of your transport and warehousing, Transwide’s Smart Booking solution lets shippers book slots 24/7 via a web app. It also provides an overview of peak times and congestion, allowing shippers to optimise their flows to take advantage of off-peak moments to load/ unload. This key functionality will only get more important as warehouse space and drivers become increasingly scarce. 

Analytics and KPIs

A number of KPIs will come under threat as a result of Brexit. Perfect order fulfilment, made up of metrics such as punctuality, lead times, accuracy and shipment visibility, will all come under pressure as a result of the changes. The cost of logistics as a whole is also likely to rise, at least in the short term, impacting pricing for transport, warehousing, demurrage, customers clearance and more.

But data is only part of the story. Turning information into actionable insights demands a deeper understanding in order to outperform the competition.  Transwide provides a tried and tested analytics platform, designed to enable smarter decisions based on actual data. This information allows shippers to make quick, informed decisions – an essential ability in a turbulent environment where parameters are constantly changing.  

An opportunity to digitalise

Brexit is yet another reminder that the transport industry needs to embrace digitalisation. In this instance many of the pain points listed above can be mitigated by implementing the right technology. And we’re not talking about costly, one-off solutions. The technology needed to combat Brexit’s uncertainty can form the basis for any businesses’ long-term competitiveness.

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