I think we can all agreed that 2019 has not been without its challenges.
Lindum work across multiple sectors and speak to our core customer base on a weekly if not daily basis and the common themes this year have been, frustration at the uncertainty of political decisions and the knock on effect of business being able to plan effectively beyond the current month.
Although we have all lived through the experience, the recent figures from the ONS give the evidence to those anecdotal views, reflecting a flat UK economic performance in the three months to October, which no doubt is a reflection of the current political and economic uncertainty we have faced. However, it is too risky to simply wait to ride out the storm.
We have seen a business uplift during our final quarter and particularly after the election results and our conversations have now changed to how we can support our customers who have been left with little time to develop robust plans before the winter shutdowns. Having tried to juggle multiple plans for a variety of outcomes, many are now dusting down their Brexit plans from March and September this year and ramping up their forward ordering to cope.
Our team have had a busy quarter visiting customers and helping to set their plans for 2020, so that they and we are ready to react in the new year once the trading blockages are removed.
However the most important service we have been offering has been our audits. These allow us to work directly with customers, new and old to reduce their costs and manage their stock level requirements. So that armed with facts they can take one level of uncertainty away from their 2020 plan. Our quarter 1 diaries are filling up fast but if you feel like we could support your planning, please get in touch.
Whatever our personal views on the recent election, there needs to be a greater focus on productivity for the UK to remain competitive on both the domestic and global stage.
This result finally closes off the increasingly narrow path that could have led to a second EU referendum in the near-term. So, the key task ahead is to define the future trading relationship – of vital importance to the UK’s food and manufacturing sectors. Although we will leave at a point of full alignment to the EU’s rules, it would be naïve to pretend that the next few years of EU rule-setting will be devised in a way that is compatible with the UK’s interests.
Although one level of uncertainty may have been removed with the unpredictability of a Hung Parliament, it may be replaced by a new permanent guessing game around which way the PM will swing on the key decisions that await him over the next five years.
One of our focuses for 2020 is to increase our service offerings to customers so that we can remove more uncertainty and offer more facts to help them plan in confidence. Look out for some marketing leading announcements in the new year!
In summary 2019 has been a difficult year but one which has been full of learning opportunities, which will mean we all enter 2020 leaner and more hungry to drive productivity.
The Team at Lindum, thank you for working with us during 2019, wish you a restful festive break and a happy New Year!
MD – Lindum Packaging