Brexit Blues - an update on stock
5 CommentsThursday, 14 February 2019 | Admin
***Update 14th March I'm really sorry but I've had to extend the expected delivery date on all kit pre-orders until mid-April. We've just been informed by our shippers that our delayed container of stock, which has already been delayed by a month due to issues in Singapore explained below and was due to arrive into the UK mid March, will not now arrive until 27th March at the earliest. This is because continuing high winds along the south coast of England have meant that Southampton port has been closing off and on as it's not safe to dock. The shipping company have therefore sent our container to Le Havre first. It will then take a least a week to unload, clear customs and be onwardly sent to our warehouse, where, as you can imagine, we have a massive backlog of orders to dispatch. If we have no further delays, then we estimate that we'll have all back orders dispatched by 15th April. We are so, so sorry. It's completely out of our hands and we're just as frustrated as you are. If you've got any concerns, please do drop us an email to email@example.com***
I want to give you an explanation and update on some stock level issues that we're experiencing at the moment. It's a bit long, but I'm a small business owner, who's responsible for the wages of my 4 staff and I don't want you, our lovely customers to think that our stock problems are down to them or me for that matter just not being on it!
Cheeky Wipes is a growing business, our sales turnover is on track to double this year which is brilliant, however that brings it's own challenges. The first of that is that we need to ramp up production levels, which is completely doable and we've been working with our main wipes supplier to do just that since last September.
It doesn't happen overnight. To give you an idea of the processes involved, they needed to build a bigger factory and employ and train more staff. Which they are doing (and I hope to be able to share pictures of their new factory and staff when I visit later this year). This new factory and new staff will be fully functioning by March, which is great news.
That's just part of the challenges that we face at the moment though.
As things stand, in 50 days we're going to leave the EU and we have NO idea what that will mean at this point in time. The government information available for small businesses is ALL about the possibility of us crashing out with no deal. As a business who relies on imports and exports this has been a real worry. And in all honesty, although I believe that what we get from being part of the EU outweighs any disadvantages, at this point I don't really care. What I do care about is the lack of current agreement and plan and the uncertainty it creates.
To explain this further, at the moment, 53% of all imports into the UK are from the EU and therefore don't have to have the masses of paperwork that's necessary for non-eu imports. From 29th March, if we crash out or default to World Trade Organisation trading terms, that's double the amount of paperwork for customs and excise to deal with, meaning they need twice as many people handling that.
Given that we haven't agreed this, with less than 50 days to go, we aren't ready for that. What I worry will happen (and many other companies, including all our major food retailers) is that we'll have massive blockages at our docks on items coming into the country. And whilst I'm sure that this would be a short-term (ish) thing, it's a worry.
What's been happening
To mitigate the risk of having stock left at dockside (which costs me £300 a day in quayside 'rent'), I've been trying to get as much stock as possible on hand before the end of March.
As is every other business owner in the UK who imports from abroad.
The impact of this is that the shipping lines can't actually cope with the volume. We found out today that a container of kits which was due to arrive on 17th Feb has been delayed now until March because the boat was overweight which is dangerous and the authorities simply removed some containers from the ship until it was the correct weight. Mine was one of those containers, hence the delay. And this isn't the first time this has happened, our last delivery of wipes was also delayed by a month.
What's the impact now
Unfortunately, this means that with immediate effect, our all-in-one wipes kits, mucky boxes and cloth sanitary pad full kits are on pre-order with an expected delivery date to you of the end of March.
I hope this explains why we're in this situation and you understand and can appreciate how stressful and disappointing it is for us as we hate letting our customers down.
If you've got any questions, just drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. It's my daughters birthday on 29th March and she is absolutely devastated that it's Brexit day, bless her.