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2 minute read • published in partnership with Irwin Mitchell

Supply chain report reveals what manufacturers need to know

A new report into the impact of Covid-19 on manufacturing supply chains has revealed the steps business took in response to the pandemic could offer a roadmap to success navigating Brexit.

The report on changing trends in relation to supply chains was produced by specialists at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, in discussion with a panel of UK consumer and manufacturing experts.

The panel discussed how Covid-19 created supply chain opportunities; how business supported staff through the crisis; why sustainability matters and what global trading will look like in a post pandemic world.

The UK Powerhouse report prepared by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) revealed that UK manufacturing lost 75% of its economic output every day at the height of the pandemic.

Irwin Mitchell’s report into the impact of Covid-19 on manufacturing supply chains has revealed the steps business took in response to the pandemic could offer a roadmap to success navigating Brexit / Picture: Getty/iStock


This latest report identifies that those already planning ahead, by stockpiling and taking steps to become more agile in anticipation of Brexit, found themselves in a stronger position than others.

When transport networks in Italy dropped by 40%, businesses who anticipated the move in the UK were able to look at supply chain diversification early, leaving them less vulnerable to the movement restrictions and travel bans that left many unable to source key goods.

In providing an insider view into the impact of Covid-19 and the harsh realities many continue to face, the report also reveals cause for Brexit optimism in the way business has faced the threat posed by the ongoing pandemic and the importance of the manufacturing sector going forward.

Dorrien Peters, partner and Head of Irwin Mitchell’s Manufacturing group, said: “Manufacturing has proven its importance to the UK economy and society as a whole during the pandemic. Yet with Brexit less than five months away, the report reveals the key things business needs to know now.

“Coronavirus accelerated the plans of many businesses to become more agile but new products manufactured in response to the pandemic will now need legal protection. In addition, furlough or streamlining measures retained post lockdown must follow proper procedure or risk legal action.

As it stands, EU company law will no longer apply to the UK from 1 January 2021, so companies need to factor this into their Brexit planning now.

Faye Bargery, partner and head of consumer and retail at Irwin Mitchell, added; “The report demonstrates agile resilient businesses are the ones likely to enjoy lasting success. We have seen this in the growth of e-commerce and alternative business models and while such developments are only likely to increase the dominance of players like Amazon, there is much for manufacturers to learn and take heart from.

“All these businesses need to factor changing consumer attitudes into their future planning also. As consumers become more responsible, so business must reembrace the circular economy and get advice on the financial benefits sustainability can bring.

“The next big political and economic hurdle is still on the horizon, but the report shows even Covid-19 could be turned into an opportunity for positive change. With the right planning and advice, there is cause for optimism the same can be done when it comes to Brexit.”

You can view the full report below