Roland Berger, Europe’s largest management consultancy firm, is urging its clients to adopt a “flexible” and “light footprint” approach to Britain amid uncertainty over the country’s withdrawal strategy from the European Union. Roland Berger’s CEO, Mr Bouée, stated that businesses operating in the UK should be rightly concerned by the impact of tariffs and other barriers to their supply chains, while “large capital expenditure investments that are not easy to move” are being postponed. Mr Bouée continued by saying that businesses are ‘under-estimating the complexity and duration of Brexit negotiations’ and the need for caution is further enhanced by upcoming elections in Germany, France and the Netherlands. Mr Berger stated that “we’re advising our clients to try to adjust and to be flexible – uncertain and complex as it is, the best thing is to be agile – we’re seeing a lot of uncertainty ahead of us and asking clients to be looking at their business model for opportunities to be flexible, which by the way is a global trend, not only for Brexit”. Responding to Britain’s better-than-expected economic performance over recent months, Mr Bouée said –“it’s true when you look at UK growth that the latest numbers are very, very good – but I think we’re really entering terra incognita for the UK and the EU – business people are wondering how this will take place and hoping and lobbying”. Adopting a ‘networked business organisation’ going forward is therefore advisable according to Roland Berger as it allows companies to manage risk and walk away from assets are under-performing – “if things go wrong you may not want to carry on – if you don’t own an asset you can let it go – if you’re completely integrated it is difficult to let it go”.
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