We are six weeks into Brexit and I thought I would write about the issues we’ve come across so far.
- Delays, delays, delays. Our Italian notebook supplier sped up an urgent order for us which was ready on the 12th January. Today, 4 weeks later we still haven’t received it. The last time we ordered (in November 2020 pre Brexit) it took 5 days to arrive. The delays are due to a succession of paperwork and bureaucratic issues. I’m really hoping these will improve over time.
- Problems for our EU Customers. I think it varies from country to country but in Germany for example, our customers are having to pay a 20% tax bill and €8 admin fee before they can receive their orders from us. We’ve stopped charging them VAT when they order but it isn’t ideal as we are concerned the uncertainty of extra charges is going to put them off ordering in the first place. We've also had quite a few orders returned as the taxes and admin fees were unpaid including one urgent order which a customer was waiting for. UK customers ordering from the EU are having the same problems.
- Tariffs on components from outside the UK. We get our photo albums made in Germany. When we place orders we send the German supplier solid brass binding screws which we import from India and are used in the assembly. Now, these binding screws are subject to tax and duty when they get to Germany which is adding significant costs to the manufacturing process.
- Sending large orders EU distributors. Some distributors consolidate several orders placed with multiple UK publishers and get them sent as one consignment by freight forwarders. Due to the complexities of the paperwork involved some freight forwarders are refusing to do this currently so we are looking into alternative options.
- Giving up. One of our European suppliers has given up supplying the UK all together and I'm aware that some UK companies have paused EU orders. We are hoping this is temporary. We are continuing on but currently it is difficult.
So overall it has been a challenge! Hopefully we will find ways to solve these issues and any suggestions would be welcome.