PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
FROM THE BLACK COUNTRY TO THE WORLD
The world is experiencing unprecedented upheavals due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the same can be said of markets across the globe.
Historically, a recession in a country leaves companies vulnerable and at risk, as other countries across the world thrive and create a trading gap that becomes hard to close.
The fact that competitors, no matter where they are located, are facing the same challenges, makes the race to overcome these uncertain times, a much more level playing field.
The question is what can be done to ensure the business survives this period and creates a stable foundation for the future?
The International Trade Team based in the Black Country Chamber have continued to work throughout the recent period of uncertainty when companies have been unable to perform, employees are furloughed and there has been an air of panic about the future of our health and the health of the region’s businesses.
Initially, the team were focused on raising awareness of the local financial support available; CiBLs, grants and the furlough scheme, but it was evident from the start of the crisis that Black Country companies were not going to sit back and watch everything unfold.
In the first weeks, companies considered their options, deciding what needed doing to ensure that when the pandemic passed or became manageable, the business was in a position to continue to be viable and in a position to recover.
A number of companies recognised that they needed to diversify, a testament to the resilient nature of the region’s manufacturers.
Black Country companies began exploring manufacturing PPE to supply to the NHS, they offered these products at no profit, to help combat the strain that this country faced.
The International Trade Team in the Black Country worked to help these manufacturers achieve the recommended certification requirements for all PPE products, regularly engaging with the supply chain and working throughout to ensure that all manufactured products hit the specified supply chain guidance.
As the weeks have moved on, some of these companies have continued to manufacture PPE products and have developed products in collaboration with their core business.
There are many great stories; the unsung heroes whose first response was “how can we help our country”, has shown the Black Country as a region that should be proud of its people, products, and places.
During the same time, many companies have had to consider and indeed explore, through internal audits, if they can continue with their current supply chain and routes to market.
The DIT team have continued to work with companies, helping to ensure that their current client base, outside of the UK, is still alive, and they continue to work hand in hand with overseas colleagues, based in the Embassies and High Commissions across the world, to reach out to companies.
Reassuring overseas companies that the UK has remained open for business and that manufacturers continue to operate has been paramount to the overseas trade message from the region.
The Black Country team continue to support companies looking to identify opportunities outside of their current markets, helping them find their route into the various countries and engage with Agents and/or Distributors or work to find the end-users for goods on their behalf.
Working to a new kind of normal is paramount to success now.