Fortoak remain in a strong position to cope with changes that a deal or no deal outcome may bring.
The waiting is over, and despite deeply divided feelings about the referendum result, the UK is almost certainly on its way out of the European Union.
Fortoak has been positioning itself since the referendum result 3 years ago, to expand its partner suppliers from all areas within the UK, Europe, Middle East and the Far East. We currently operate with four partners within the UK, four partners within Europe, and 2 outside of Europe (The Middle East and the Far East).
The majority of Fortoak’s combined £15m turnover (based on its 2019 current run rate of trading) is manufactured from outside of the European Union. This means that Fortoak is already currently operating to WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules and importing outside of the boundaries of EU legislation.
Fortoak is also landing goods at ports from all around the UK (from the South to the North) which mitigates entry points which may have congestion issues due to normal circumstances. There has been a lot of focus on Felixstowe’s potential congestion. We have recently trialled Liverpool and Scottish ports.
During the normal course of business Fortoak maintains an operating stock level of 350 pallets per month. Since November 2018, we have increased these stock levels to 1000 pallets of held stock per month within our onshore warehouses.
The above levels are facilitated by four UK partners, each site has their own warehousing. Two of the four sites operate a full pick and pack distribution of both parcels and palletised goods. They provide next day deliveries for till rolls, labels, raw materials and other supplies.
In addition, Fortoak has a currency hedging strategy in place. This is based on an average of four months trading to cover 50% of its position with foreign exchange. By utilising the hedging platform, we can provide our customers with some additional stability for 6 months following the formal leaving of Europe on the 29th March 2019.
We have further strengthened our foreign currency position by encouraging a number of customers to purchase product in euros and/or dollars.
Finally, we have encouraged all our strategic customers to look at forward ordering against their own forecast to cover themselves with a minimum of 3 months supplies to land within Q1 2019.