It’s widely reported that UK businesses are resorting to setting up in the EU as a result of the Brexit deal which has created unmanageable mountains of paperwork and additional costs for businesses.
An Institute of Directors survey found that nearly a third of British companies are now considering moving or setting up overseas operations – and 16% already have opened an EU office.
Meanwhile The New European has been reporting on just some of the cases of relocation that they say keep coming – the Sheffield-based climbing supplies firm headed to the Netherlands, the independent record label off to the Republic of Ireland, the Manchester silk firm on its way to France and many more.
Not only is this exodus damaging for UK PLC, it is dampening British business and diverting focus away from growth and innovation towards firefighting and survival.
So what are the factors driving this shift to the continent? We’ve been talking with our Mintsoft customer-base to find out about some of the challenges they are facing and looking to see how technology can alleviate some of the pain.
Driving the exodus
As referenced by the examples above, all sorts of businesses are being hamstrung by the practical implications of the new rules governing our trade with the EU.
Customers are required to complete onerous customs paperwork for each shipment being dispatched internationally, including product data, commodity codes and descriptions. In many cases businesses are filling in each of these forms manually using information saved in various spreadsheets, making it a time consuming and expensive task.
On top of this, end-customers are sometimes being double charged VAT, once at the point of sale and once at the point of import, creating a costly customer experience disaster; especially when it’s not possible to change websites to reflect different pricing for customers in different countries.
Then, couriers, struggling with all the new regulations, are charging import duties for items that should be included in the free trade agreement and parcels are being returned as recipients won’t pay the charges due. Some couriers have even started rejecting shipments outright for a huge list of products that they don’t want to handle.
So where can systems help?
1. Automatic data entry
Instead of completing all the customs paperwork completely from scratch each time, systems like Mintsoft, will enable you to automatically and digitally complete the required forms at the click of a button.
All of the required information can be stored in a database, and it’s likely the majority of it will be already, with product data coming from the channels automatically. This means data can automatically flow through the system rather than creating the need for endless hours of time-consuming data entry tasks.
This alleviates one of the main admin drains caused by Brexit – manual entry.
2. Paperless trade
A related benefit is the ability to do away with paper-based processes as most of the major courrier integrations support paperless trade.
This allows you to send all the customs data electronically without having to print off a physical piece of paper, which is quite big admin overhead, especially in warehouses where it’s unlikely there will be a laser printer in every shipping area where orders are packed.
In many cases, operatives find that when they need to ship something internationally, they have to take the parcel, or the parcels, into an office area to access the printer. Then someone has to print off the invoice and attach them to the parcel before they go back out to the warehouse. This is a really inefficient way of working, but it happens really often, especially in smaller warehouses not equipped with printers where they are needed.
A lot of Mintsoft’s major current integrations, for example with DPD, FedEx, UPS and DHL, support paperless trade, so all the data is sent electronically. There’s a digital version of the invoice, so when the parcel is shipped there’s no need to have the paper invoice attached to the parcel. When it gets to the customs agent, they can see the document online allowing for much smoother processing too.
This process saves a lot of time – and reduces costly overheads too.
3. DDP Shipping
Finally, we’d strongly recommend the delivered duty paid (DDP) shipping option, when sending items internationally – it can save lots of headaches. In fact, some couriers have only been accepting orders sent this way while they address challenges updating their own systems.
Essentially sellers don’t have to pay anything on receipt and goods being sent to the EU are delivered as if they were a national delivery. The seller takes on more responsibility for the risks and fees of shipping goods until they reach their destination.
Taking this approach is likely to reduce instances of end-customers receiving unexpected charges from the courier, for example being charged VAT more than once, and therefore it will reduce the likelihood of returns protecting all important customer relationships.
These are just some of our recommendations to quickly alleviate some of the Brexit red tape pain. For more information about how Mintsoft can help your business navigate the increased admin burden, book in a demo with our experts today.