Back in May of this year, Scanprobe were approached by Bridget Summers at Footprint PR and asked to contribute a piece on Brexit to feature in the June edition of Drain Trader, with a view as to what it means to us currently and what we are doing to safeguard our business interests in amongst all of this uncertainty. Whilst a lot of the country are inevitably tired of hearing about politicians and self-professed experts speak about Brexit what seems like every day, we saw the opportunity as one of a few UK businesses who are UK-owned to give our perspective on this landmark in UK history as not just something interesting to partake in, but also to see how others in our industry align. As the owner of the company, who better to give his and the company’s take on Brexit than our Managing Director, Jon Barry:
“To be honest we are growing very tired of hearing or reading about the “B word”. Ever since it was created amongst the confusion of what it meant, what would happen and what wouldn’t happen it has been used as both a reason not to do something and an excuse as to why something has happened. As we are still firmly in the EU for the time being, for us the problem sits strongly with the scaremongers (behind the politicians who we will just side-step for today) because until Brexit passes it is clear that we in the UK, as with the rest of the world, do not know the real implications of it. Let’s not forget just how tragic the year 2000, aka Y2K, was meant to be, with planes falling from the sky, power stations melting down and so on. But this does not mean that when the UK finally leaves that we will be at the front of the line waiting to complain about how bad it is, if indeed that is the case. We want to be as best prepared as possible. And just to give you some context, I began writing this article in France, continued as we crossed over into Belgium, took a break in Holland and it was then completed in Germany as we travelled to a large international trade show to support one of our international distribution partners.
To be fair, long before “Brexit” was a glint in Peter Wilding’s eye, we were already on the road to preparation, simply because our product range is manufactured in the UK using British-made parts and labour in our Surrey-based factory. This is where we see the true value in the term “family owned business”; it is not a term reserved solely for our marketing department to plaster all over their posters and videos, but instead it means that we have a vested interest in where our materials are sourced for a number of reasons, including but not exclusive to sustainability and quality. Where possible this helps to keep production limitations within our control. Obviously when it comes to selling to the European market no-one, including ourselves, know what the implications of Brexit will be, so we have been hard at work building a strong international distribution network spanning North America, South Africa & Europe helping to take our expanding product range to the wider international market. We identified this as a key objective moving forward, simply because these partners have an absolute understanding of their respective markets, and we are fortunate enough to have aligned ourselves with partners who are also leading the way through market share and inventiveness. Late last year we were also part of an EU trade initiative to Japan organised by the Department for International Trade as we look to break into the Asian market with our camera systems. Having the support and organisation of the DIT was vital in this exercise as the cultural differences between our two countries is such that one wrong move could put an end to such a venture, but instead we had a team of people advising us of the correct customs, assisting us with translation and arranging networking events in order for us to maximise the opportunity. Ultimately it was a very productive and enlightening trip for us, and hopefully has set us on our way to appointing our first distribution partner in Asia.
When it comes to selling internationally, it is not always as simple as just putting the Scanprobe product range into different international markets, sometimes compromises need to be made in order to slot in seamlessly. In our case we have allowed for our products to be re-branded in colour and/or name in order to meet with our distributors own brand and product naming strategy. This relates directly back to my earlier point that these distributors know their markets completely, and how to approach their (prospective) customer base and how they are likely to best react. Proof of this can be seen with how our latest push-rod camera system, the TrapJumper, has been received in the US through our distributor Spartan Tool LLC. We worked closely with them when developing the name which both has a clear meaning to their market but at the same time is catchy for our own domestic market, and in order to meet with their company branding we manufacture it in their own distinctive deep red. Since it was released in October 2018, the TrapJumper has sold over 300 units in America alone. So to summarise, whilst it seems as though the majority of the country is nervously awaiting the day that the United Kingdom finally leaves the EU, at Scanprobe we are working hard to make sure that we can not only make the best of it, but find a way to work with it. We take great pride in being a British company in terms of ownership, location and sourcing of materials, and this should be a pride that resonates across the country to make British products and services highly sought after for their quality and ingenuity.”
With the latest and seemingly final date for Brexit set for 31st October 2019, Scanprobe’s intentions are to make sure we are prepared for it as best as possible, rather than sit back and be amongst the first to complain about it. Of course, with all of the uncertainty surrounding exactly what Brexit will mean to the people and businesses of the UK, and indeed the rest of Europe, it is almost impossible to prepare for it fully.
Come what may.