It was an interesting day spent at the British Chambers of Commerce Global Business Network Live event this week, the theme was “learn, support, grow” and we certainly got the sense that these were all valid areas for UK plc given the current climate. Prodware were keen to attend given our manufacturing, distribution and service sector experience in local and multi-national markets, and how we help with business growth. With this global expansion ambition that we saw throughout the conference, comes complex supply chain and collaboration management.
Brexit – opportunity or challenge for growth?
A live poll taken in the room showed optimism of how Brexit might affect trading abroad, with 70% voting it as an opportunity rather than a threat. In his welcome speech, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of BCC focussed on the practical considerations of UK leaving the EU. Key issues he highlighted were currency fluctuations, labour and trade agreements. He stated that “business cannot wait for politicians” and must “get on with it”. He sees the role of the BCC as giving practical support and lobbying politicians at this time.
Lord Price, the Minister of State for Trade & Policy added that UK can now “place ourselves at the centre of a trading hub, if we want to.” He assured the room that Brexit would not be negotiated in isolation but that industry would get a view of what a good deal will look like. We also learnt that there will be a push for further liberalism in the digital economy whilst we are in the EU.
So there was much positivity and practicality in the room, but what does this mean, and what are the advantages of trading internationally?
Realising your global expansion ambition
We heard about how supply chains when dealing with multi-national strategies can be complex, Airbus components are manufactured and shipped and sold globally for example.
In the morning’s panel discussion “Secrets to exporter success” we heard about how Polyseam, a manufacturer based in Sheffield who supply into the construction industry were faced with a saturated UK market with tight margins; and looked at export model to provide growth. Neil Smith from Polyseam explained how they went from 20% export sales four years ago to 75% now. So exporting can re-balance your risk and reward strategy, mix up your growth areas and protect against currency fluctuations in one territory.
Neil Kuschel from DHL also pointed out the power of technology as your friend – that you can do a lot in countries you do not have a physical presence in. Think about partnerships, service connections and collaborations in order to extend your trading reach. Those who were “born global” are experiencing the fastest growth, but others choose to take their model bit by bit.
Digital transformation is key to going global
According to an export business survey by Deloitte, quoted by “Trade Ready”: “UK companies were 11% less likely to shut down if they were exporting, while in France a company’s probability of failure dropped 57% after they started exporting”.
In conversation, Harriet Green, GM of Commerce at Watson Internet of Things and Education talked about the current climate being a rich time for innovation and disruptive technology.
It’s an exciting time to be an international enterprise. Consumer behaviours are changing, globalisation is well documented and go-to-market strategies have been impacted by disruptive entrants (e.g. Uber, Airbnb, Tesla, Netflix).
This rapid transformation of the way businesses interact with each other and with their customers in an agile, flexible and accessible way has been supported by the use of the cloud. In addition to benefiting from a multi-browser user experience, using Microsoft Azure as the cloud platform for Microsoft Dynamics enables the use of a wide range of services. Having a business application that runs natively in Azure adds significant value to the SaaS investment. Having access to real-time data from your business management solution through a mobile device, provides employees and business owners with better information to make informed decisions on the go, without having to refer back to the office.
By enabling multiple users across multiple sites and territories to use a single application such as Microsoft Dynamics and complementary technologies on Azure, multi-national businesses and partnerships can align working practices, improve collaboration and eradicate silo operations.
For more information on going global with the cloud, download our Dynamics AX whitepaper and contact us for further information on cloud deployments, leveraging the power of mobile to help global expansion ambitions.