Dunlop: Back to business

Dunlop: Back to business

Debi Boulton, Sales & Marketing Manager at Dunlop, gives her opinion on the fallout from the Brexit vote, arguing the need for an end to the procrastination which is fuelling a potentially damaging period of uncertainty.

“Brexit means Brexit” proclaims Theresa May, but business also means business and I firmly believe that in 2017 — despite the lack of any detailed plan from the Government — we just need to get on with it. Indeed, businesses of all sorts, whether merchants or suppliers, are facing their own types of pressure from the Brexit vote from the falling value of the pound to the uncertainty surrounding Britain’s membership of the single market.

Business thrives on certainty, and the referendum has played havoc with long-term planning decisions. Every day we are reading new stories about potential deals and what we could or couldn’t end up with — but focusing purely on the ins and outs of the (future) negotiations could leave us taking our eye off the ball.

We must all be reminded that Brexit hasn’t happened yet, and as such it is difficult to make any predictions, whether positive or negative, over the future state of the economy and the RMI market as a whole.

 “Suppliers and merchants need to look positively at the future, because while consumer confidence may have taken a hit, demand continues to hold up pretty well.”

From a supplier perspective, the market can change so rapidly that you have to be flexible enough to make quick decisions in terms of product mix and so on, that by purely focusing on what “may” happen with Brexit deals there is the potential to miss a trick or two — which in the short term could harm the business.

Suppliers and merchants need to look positively at the future, because while consumer confidence may have taken a hit, demand continues to hold up pretty well. Dunlop, for example, has had a successful year with very positive sales growth and this provides us with a really good platform for the rest of the year, giving us the opportunity to move forward progressively with our merchant partners — with new products and services ready to be launched to the market.

Whilst all the predications of Brexit are negative, we may find that some consequences are positive for the merchant sector — and that means we have got to look forward, not backward, to prepare ourselves for the impact of exiting the European Union.

By moving forward and never standing still, the sector can keep innovating to meet with the ever-changing needs of tradesmen and women to satisfy the requirements of homeowners and developers where cost and time savings are going to be needed more than ever.

The RMI market will never stop and people will never stop needing their house redecorating, or a new kitchen or bathroom, even if the economy slows down significantly. We must embrace the future — and this includes investment in people, products and services.

At Dunlop, like many other manufacturers and suppliers I’m sure, we are more determined than ever to make a success of 2017 and continue our current growth trajectory — and we can only do this by being positive and forward-thinking. By putting in place proactive plans and working in partnership with our merchants, we can continue to deliver great products and services for the trade whatever the year throws at us.

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