Brexit not Brex-hate

Phil Storer, file photo.

The UK boss of a European supply chain company said that political posturing and pre-BREXIT antagonistic rhetoric does not represent the true state of the nation when it comes to cross-border trade.

Phil Storer, the UK director of Pooling Partners, Europe’s largest pooler and manufacturer of sustainable wooden pallets to the supply chain, said that despite the continued political fallout of the June 24 referendum and the resulting UK General Election, it was ‘business as usual’ with no disruption to the ‘entente cordiale’.

“Of course there is concern as to what will happen, but the antagonistic rhetoric between the politicians does not reflect the day-to-day discussions between UK and European companies – it is business as usual and that will continue to be the case in real terms,” said Storer, whose business manufactured and repaired 20 million pallets last year.

Storer, who is based in Meriden, near Coventry, said: “Pallets are sustainable as are the stable relationships that companies like ours have built up across Europe over many years – that is not going to change. We all need food on the table and business will find a way – trade deal or no trade deal.

“To listen to the politicians, you would think we were at war with Europe when the reality is that we are closer now than we have ever been. Relations continue to be warm. Yes, there will inevitably be BREXIT, but that does not mean Brex-hate.”

“We coined another phrase to describe our continued relations – we are Brag-nostic – which means, whatever happens, we will remain pragmatic.

“One example of this pragmatism was recognizing the inherent issues surrounding over-stretching supply chains in order to mitigate and reduce costs.

“All that did was to increase the business carbon footprint while at the same time reduce the quality of the offering and the reputation of the participating brands.

“Globalisation has sometimes become a dirty word because of the poor way it has been implemented. The trend towards right-shoring call centers back to the countries of origin was a recognition that they simply did not work and took businesses too far away from what really matters; customers.  It was a lack of empathy rather than an antipathy.

“This also goes for business, where the common-sense rule of thumb is that where customer interaction or deep domain knowledge is required, an advisor who knows exactly what the day to day local issues are (as well as what the all-important local weather is like) where the caller is based is preferable to somewhere where there is both a knowledge gap and a cultural divide.

“Our own world of pallets in the circular economy – their use, repatriation, repair and re-use by some of the biggest manufacturers and retailers in the UK – is a case in point. Being told as a fait accompli that they have to deal with an offshore customer service desk manned by people who simply process calls or emails with little empathy with a customer, often in a language that is not their native and do not understand the nuance of their individual customer’s business requirement, is galling. Customers will no longer tolerate being put in a queue or given a ticket number as a token of a promise of contact, but not resolution.

“In the real world, treating everyone fairly and professionally – without name calling, is the best business methodology. Governments will come and go, but fair trade is a continuum which is why BREXIT without the Brex-hate must be our watchword.”

Source: Pooling Partners