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European Games: Brexit Hurdles and How to Set Up for Success

Anthony O’Hara, Head of Business Architecture, Design and Analysis at P2 Consulting

24.09.18

A 400m hurdle race is a fair analogy for navigating Brexit. The race is long and uncertain. Hurdles can come packed together, spread apart, and at varying heights. Like a runner preparing for the race, your organisation and its’ competitors are starting to implement a Brexit strategic roadmap to clear each hurdle and progress to the next. This article will look at some of the hurdles that organisations face, and ways they can set up for success.

5 Major Hurdles for your Organisation
  1. Free Movement of Labour, Goods, Services and Capital: As restrictions are imposed on these freedoms, business costs will increase. For example, higher barriers-to-trade will result in increased costs of trading goods across borders – or trading terms imposed on modes of supply will force firms to restructure operations. The real impact on your organisation will depend on your current value chain and the agreement that government negotiations will secure (No deal, Hard, Soft). As the deadline approaches, it becomes imperative to prepare contingency plans to ensure the sustainability of your organisation.
  2. Talent Management: In the 12 months following Brexit, without a major shift in government policy, net migration fell by 100,000 people. The flexibility of movement within the EU has been a significant advantage to companies, as they could source, cost-free, talent from anywhere within the EU. However, going forward, compliance costs and delays are likely to be imposed on cross-border workers, increasing the overall costs associated with talent management. This will be felt strongly as organisations continue to demand skilled labour at a competitive rate.
  3. Regulations: Though much of UK regulation based off the EU legislation will remain in place after Brexit, there are some key decisions still to be made. For example, Passporting; if no agreement can be made then firms based in the UK could have their access to European markets reduced and would need to set up local operations both in the UK and the EU. As noted by Business Insider “The threat of losing passporting rights is the biggest concern for the finance industry.”
  4. Relocating Operations, Assets and Supply Chains: The CIPD has stated that one in ten companies have considered relocating operations overseas due to Brexit. Organisations are between a rock and a hard place, they can either foot the bill to establish new sites and transfer their workforce or wait and hope that the UK is left in a favourable position post-Brexit. Similarly, organisations need to understand how Brexit impacts their supply chains. Many firms have established cross border operations as part of their supply strategy, but the assumptions that underwrote this strategy may change, forcing firms to adapt or die.
  5. Uncertainty: GIUK has issued a statement warning they are reluctant to invest in Britain because of Brexit uncertainty. This statement, and others, emphasise the most critical and relevant cost today. The uncertainty around Brexit restricts an organisations ability to invest, expand, and perform BAU activities. Whilst forcing them to commit huge resources to risk mitigation and contingency planning.

Until a deal is reached, UK industry will remain exposed to the risks outlined in this article. Next, we look at how programme assurance can give you the tools to clear these hurdles without wasting time or resources.

Clearing the Hurdles

Organisations must begin assessing the implications of Brexit – and it is important to create a structure or framework that will manage initiatives and give confidence to stakeholders. This will ensure organisations do not falter on the hurdles. Below we examine the key elements of such programme frameworks.

Planning and Dependency Management: Organisations should implement standards for planning, scheduling and tracking programmes, and must maintain a consolidated high-level plan to ensure programmes are viable and are on schedule. By doing this, organisations can dispel some of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and give confidence to internal and external stakeholders. Furthermore, it will help firms understand and react to threats to their supply chain and operations.

Scope Management and Change Control: As strategies and requirements for Brexit are developed, it will be important for organisations to understand and document scope. This should include creating clear requirements for minimum viable programme products, and establishing a process for identifying, assessing and approving changes to the scope. This will be important as the erratic nature of Brexit will alter assumptions, forcing organisation to change the scope of their programmes.

Risk and Issue Management: Companies should maintain a robust and rapid mechanism for resolving issues and mitigating risks. This will help plans to remain on track and give transparency to senior stakeholders when deciding the company’s risk appetite and exposure. This is particularly important when dealing with regulatory changes and compliance issues.

Reporting and Governance: A clear and visible reporting structure is critical to allow decision-makers to be proactive when dealing with changing conditions, rather than reactive. Having good reporting and governance processes will be essential to all Brexit programmes and will ensure that the right information is used by decision-makers as they prepare for the coming hurdles.

Communication and Stakeholder Management: Effective communication across organisations will help provide internal and external stakeholders with the right information at the right time. The APM highlights that communication breakdown is a leading cause of stakeholder dissatisfaction. Furthermore, having a robust communication approach will allow programme leaders to effectively manage vested parties. This will be especially important when considering relocating operations or alleviating fear caused by uncertainty. These are typically two things that cause significant disruption to organisations.

UK / EU negotiations are an ongoing process and it may be months before firms have a clear view of all the hurdles. However, by improving internal capabilities and establishing programme assurance processes, firms can approach early Brexit hurdles with confidence and create a foundation upon which they can build on.

 

To learn more about programme assurance for Brexit, please contact us today

Anthony O’Hara, Head of Business Architecture, Design and Analysis
anthony.ohara@p2consulting.com
+44 (0) 7805 918905