Brexit strategy

In the second in a series from Enterprise Ireland, Richard Keegan explains how the lean methodology can help Irish SMEs brace for Brexit.

It was Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who wrote, in 1994: “Productivity isn’t everything in business but, at the end of the day, it almost is.” For Irish businesses facing into a post-Brexit world, his words ring especially true.

Exporters to the UK know they are faced with competitiveness challenges. It is why Enterprise Ireland has launched its Brexit SME Scorecard, an interactive online platform that can be used by all Irish businesses to assess their exposure to the departure of our main trading partner, the UK, from the EU.

The Brexit SME Scorecard helps management assess their business under six pillars: strategy, operations, innovation, sales and marketing, finance, and people management. Of these six pillars, operations is the one that focuses on productivity, and productivity is the key to competitiveness.

‘Where operational excellence might have been an aspirational “nice to have” for many Irish management teams, it will be a “must have” post-Brexit’

That’s not business jargon. It is rooted in practicalities. If we are not effective or efficient in our businesses, how can we hope to address the challenges we are now facing, such as the additional cost of shipping stuff further? If we are struggling to compete in the ‘war for talent’ – which is particularly true of our tech companies – then how can we manage this valuable resource better, to ensure we are not wasting it?