As many people know, the UK has voted to leave the European Union effective of Friday, 29 March 2019, with a 21-month transition period. There has been a provisional agreement over three issues, most notably budget commitments and EU citizens’ rights, and talks have now moved to agreeing on the future relationship between the UK and EU.
The UK has a productivity problem. We’re lagging well behind our European neighbours and have been for decades. One of the reasons? Advocates of the tired theory of taking the ‘path of least resistance,’ discourage businesses from trying anything new when a tried way of doing something is available.
2018 is not the first time our industry has come under fire. It’s had a colourful history from tales of cost-cutting to ethical arguments around driving labour arbitrage. Outsourcing has often been misunderstood and the whole industry blamed when things go wrong. But with the recent, spectacular collapse of Carillion we are seeing a renewed attack from certain corners in relation to the “failure of outsourcing.” A grand, sweeping statement, but is there any truth in it?
In a recent 4C poll* of 227 UK retail procurement executives, 89% responded that they either had no plan in place or were unaware that their company had a plan in place. What should you consider now so that you’re prepared for the March 2019 Brexit deadline?
Mark Pollack (MP): Jamie, tell our readers about yourself and your role within the organization.
Jamie Ogilvie-Smals (JOS): GEP is the largest provider of unified procurement solutions in the world, combining strategic consulting, managed procurement services and cloud-based procurement software. We have a rapidly-expanding, blue-chip client base of Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career, and why?
In the past, compliance risk was a top-of-mind issue among select industries: regulators appeared to have banking and financial services, along with energy and extractives, under a constant microscope. But as supply chains expanded across oceans and continents, and countries legislated regulations to address bribery and corruption, terrorist financing and human trafficking, compliance risk grew for all types of organisations. Now the pressure is on you.
In its campaign against the UK's continued membership of the European Union, 'Vote Leave' claimed that EU procurement rules, which govern the purchase of goods and services by public sector bodies, cost UK taxpayers £1.6bn a year. It also claimed that 1.9 million days a year are lost to red tape delays.
Is it likely or possible that the UK can save this money and time cost by changing the public procurement rules after Brexit?
As Brexit slowly begins to become a reality, there are worrying signs that British businesses are cancelling vital data protection reforms - in the mistaken hope that rules will change once the UK has left Europe.