The UK publishing industry is one of the largest in the world, generating more than £7bn for the UK economy and supporting more than 70,000 jobs. The books our authors write have helped shaped ideas around the world for hundreds of years. Last year, 36% of its exports were shipped to the European Union, making it the largest market for UK books.
Since the EU referendum result was announced in June 2016, we have been monitoring the Brexit process and considering how it may affect the services we provide to our customers and retailers, particularly in the United Kingdom. We also know that our customers worldwide may have some concerns about the impact Brexit may have on our services. Listed below you will find more background, as well as actions we’ve taken in an effort to continue to provide our customers with a high-level of service.
The political situation in the UK Parliament remains very fluid. At the time of writing this note, the UK and the remaining 27 EU member states have yet to ratify a transition agreement. If this does not change, the UK will leave the EU without an agreement . This would mean that trade between the UK and the EU would revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms. There are varying opinions about what this might mean in terms of day-to-day business and supply chains, but many forsee some disruption. However, the severity of possible disruption is unclear. We believe disruption to be a minimum, and won’t have an impact on our services, but we’ve taken some steps to maintain continuity of our supply chain.
Steps we are taking
Like many other companies, our contingency planning has been based on the UK leaving the EU without a deal and reverting to WTO rules. Our focus has been on taking sensible steps to prepare for such an event and minimise any disruption to the services we provide to our customers.
Our contingency planning for our business has focused on the following areas.
1. Supply of Materials for the Production of Books
We have been working closely with our EU suppliers to ensure they get the correct documentation in place so they can continue to import various materials they need, including paper, board, and inks. However, our suppliers have already taken steps to double the amount that they hold on hand in the UK. If there is a breakdown in supply of these materials from the EU, we have contingency plans in place to switch sourcing to a US based supplier.
2. Shipping Books into the EU in a WTO scenario
SRL Publishing and it’s supplier ships books into countries around the world who already operate under WTO rules so we are familiar with what is required. Our suppliers are working with their freight suppliers to be able to switch to WTO rules for shipping into EU countries, should that be required. In the event of a breakdown at the UK/EU borders, we have contingency plans in place to switch production to our US facilities and ship into the EU from there, should that be needed.
3. Other Supply Issues
We have listed more procedures we have in place in an effort to maintain continuity of supply into the EU.
a. Supply from the US
Our US based book supplier, has been selling books in USD to countries around the world for over 30 years. We have a number of retailers in the EU who buy direct from our supplier. As we already have our titles available in the US for US customers, our titles can be made available in the US to our EU customers, should this be required.
b. Supply from our EU Network
Our suppliers network includes four print-on-demand companies based in EU countries: Germany, Poland, Italy, and Spain. This enables customers within those countries to buy our books locally, priced in Euros, with manufacturing within the EU.
c. Review EU Accounts
We have been reviewing our EU accounts with our suppliers and retailers and checking to see if they already have a US account. If they do not, we have been talking about opening a USD account with them to provide another alternative supply chain in the event of serious disruption to our supply from the UK.