On November 8th 2016, Mottie Kessler, 2M’s Chairman and CEO was invited to be part of The Economists’ Panel on Exporting the UK middle market to the European Union and beyond.
The Economist wanted Mottie’s views on how trade would be affected by Brexit. Below is a summary of the interview:
How well is your business equipped to deal with uncertainty?
MK: Brexit created uncertainty. However, uncertainty is not new to our business and many others. For example, prior to Brexit over a period of 20 years, the £/$ exchange rate fluctuated from 1:2 to 1: 1.5 and inflation fluctuated even more. When I started my business 12 years ago, interest rates were a different ball game altogether to where we are now.
Being involved in supplying the building blocks essential to everyday life, which are linked to global manufacturing and in many cases impacted by crude oil prices, we are used to uncertainty and fluctuations.
What’s different here is that there are ‘emotional’ feelings attached to Brexit, but from a business position, we remain as flexible as ever – that hasn’t changed.
How do you mitigate what still remains ‘unknown’?
MK: The mitigation strategy is nothing new to common practice and common sense in good business practice: Qualified and motivated people, good systems, flexibility, innovation, and a clear understanding of where and how to create added value to customers. Uncertainty and cycles in business are more ‘natural’ than certainty.
Is there a difference between the impact on the Chemical Industry and other sectors?
MK: To a degree, one can claim that the Credit Crunch was triggered by complex sub-prime lending models that created no added value, but only extra costs of extra hands in the supply chain which produced no real products. Maybe it’s a healthy awakening for Britain to revive manufacturing.
The first member of our group companies (Samuel Banner & Co) was established in Britain over 150 years ago and we plan to be here for at least 150 years more, that’s why we’ll continue to invest in skills and sites. The demand for our products will continue for as long as people need to keep drinking clean water, showering, taking medication and doing just about everything else required to keep living a healthy and happy life.