Let me state immediately I am against Brexit. I believe that the European Union makes us safer and provides many opportunities for commerce and travel. And although Brexit would have a minimal direct impact on my business, it will have a much larger impact on my clients.
The EU gives us world class food safety legislation, has raised the standards of health and safety and, most importantly, ensures a common policy regarding waste, its classification and disposal, which is great for the environment.
Every other year I go to Interclean, the biggest cleaning and washrooms trade show in the world which is held in Amsterdam and allows me to meet suppliers and contacts across Europe.
Last year was more important than most as we had won the contract to provide washroom services at the Ryder Cup (in France) and I needed to find a local company similar to my own to help with installation and removal of equipment. I did this by networking with various suppliers and contacts who were all at this amazing show.
Had the Ryder Cup have been this year we would probably not have been able to deliver the services that we did and in the future, if Brexit goes ahead, that we will be able to tender for any specialist events on mainland Europe, and I was looking forward to Rome in 2022.
We also have several suppliers that are European based. Vendor, based in Tilburg, Netherlands and Mountville who are based in Belgium are two of my biggest. With Mountville we can design a logo entrance mat (using our phone) whilst at a client’s premises, have it approved there and then and then have it shipped and installed within 7 days. This cannot be done by any UK based manufacturer of entrance mats currently. So ultimately we will have to hold more stock and expect longer lead times but none of this is life threatening and we will get by.
Some of my clients may be less fortunate. An inevitable down turn in the economy will affect many of my clients so they may just not have the funds to buy a new logo mat for their entrance or install an air freshener next year or worse, will be forced to close their doors – hopefully their account will be up to date.
In a previous life I was an export manager for Eastern Europe. I recall the paperwork required to ship goods to non EU countries, the issues with tariffs, the delays at the border, applying for visas to go visit. I really don’t want to go back to that at all. I want to do more events in Europe, not less. I still want to be able to go watch a rugby game in Paris at a moment’s notice or go play golf in Ireland or Belgium if invited (hint hint). There are less than 80 days to put a stop to Brexit – let’s hope that someone sees sense.
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