Brexit…take action now or wait and hope for the best

 In Articles

Do you know how your business operations will be impacted by Brexit and what needs to change?

You have two choices: sit tight and hope for the best, or act now to help ensure your business is ready and able to adapt to whatever Brexit will bring.


A customer recently told me that due to the higher cost of importing materials, they plan to reduce the content of some of their products by 20% but without any change to price AND without notifying their customers! Consumers are highly price sensitive, hence why this customer wants to make an “invisible” price increase in order to protect profit margins. This is known as shrinkflation and it is happening in many industries. 


You can’t stop Brexit, however you can mitigate the impact it has on your organisation and try to get ahead of the game without resorting to shrinkflation. How? Aim to achieve Process Excellence in your company through effectively managing business process change.


To mitigate Brexit by using a Process Excellence approach I suggest 3 critical elements:


1) Be ready – Understand how your business needs to operate in the future

Gather subject experts together to jointly map each of your end-to-end business process flows. Highlight risks or required changes in the process flows that could arise as a result of coming from Brexit. Create and collaborate on future state process flows and appoint end-to-end Process Flow Owners. Use these flows to clearly explain to the workforce how they will need to work differently moving forward. Lastly, establish metrics to measure efficiency of the flow of people’s work across the different functions.


2) Make your workforce agile

Whilst the first point makes sense, it will be tough to achieve without the right competencies in place.


Your workforce needs to have the skills to quickly change the way they work as decisions are made and the future becomes clearer. If you organize training and coaching for a small number of employees to become Practitioners of Business Process Management, in effect you are arming your company with the internal competence to breakdown functional barriers and create leaner ways of working. In my experience, improvement opportunities can leap out at you simply by having a Process Practitioner in a room with Subject Experts and using a structured approach to visualise end-to-end ways of working.

In very few situations do you really need a Six Sigma guru. In fact, in 90% of cases with our customers it is their own employees who spot the opportunities and design improved ways of working.


3) Improve the business by 1%…CONTINUOUSLY! 

In the midst of this unstable Brexit environment, businesses must ensure that operational ways of working are efficient (smooth flow) and effective (delivering what the business needs). Process Owners must monitor areas of risk and identify improvement opportunities in their business processes. A regular “Opportunity Review” can check the performance of KPIs and assess feedback from process users and customers.


Employee feedback is vital. Employees are on the frontline and will witness first-hand the unravelling of Brexit; their experiences of what works well and what is failing will be incredibly useful to help identify gaps where people can work in a more sustainable and measurable way.


In summary – what can BPM do for you?

This 2 minute “Monty Python” inspired video is a very entertaining way to understand the benefits of Process Excellence!


The most resilient organisations will be proactive rather than reactive. BPM doesnt have to involve major changes or anything too complicated; it is simply a structured approach to discover opportunities and implement smarter and more efficient ways of working.

How are you preparing for Brexit? I would be interested to hear your ideas/suggestions so feel free to leave a comment in the comment section.

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