May 19, 2020

[Comment] DHL Express CEO on How to Tackle the Real Life Challenges of Exporting

Supply Chain
how-to
Leadership
DHL
Phil Couchman, CEO, DHL Expres...
3 min
[Comment] DHL Express CEO on How to Tackle the Real Life Challenges of Exporting

Despite the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics revealing that the UK’s trade deficit hit £9.4bn in June, small businesses in the UK remain positive and the government’s export target of £1tn by 2020 is still very possible.

According to the latest BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, UK SMEs continue to feel confident about future turnover, with 70 percent of UK exporters believing that their turnover will increase in the next 12 months.

In addition, exporting activity in Q2 reached the highest level on record, demonstrating the huge demand for British goods overseas.

Thorough research and an in-depth plan before any foray into overseas markets are both essential to success, and following the guidelines below can also help SMEs to overcome some of the most common barriers to exporting:

Remember the benefits

International appetite for Brand Britain shows no signs of stopping, with the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow meaning that the world’s eyes are on the UK once more.

The UK is also currently the second most popular shopping destination for online shoppers overseas according to Nielsen, which demonstrates that it’s key for small businesses in the UK to have a strong online presence. In July, DHL committed a further £156 million to its UK infrastructure by 2016, which further proves its commitment to the UK market.

All companies that trade internationally are impacted by currency markets, regardless of size or success record, but the benefits of exporting regularly outweigh the risks.

Research suggests that companies exporting internationally are twice as likely to outstrip their counterparts that only stay in the domestic market. It’s therefore important to remember the long-term business plan when it comes to exporting, and focus on the benefits that it can bring.

Employing the export curve

Using the tried-and-tested export curve is something that we advise all fledgling exporters to use, which involves starting with well established, English-speaking markets such as America and Australia.

There are great benefits to starting your export journey with these territories, as they have relatively easy customs to navigate and many cultural similarities to the UK. By starting with English-speaking markets, businesses can grow in confidence before progressing to more challenging areas.

Seek help and advice

It is essential to seek advice before setting out to export and great deal of work, by both the government and independent bodies, has already been done to aid businesses looking to expand overseas.

There is a plethora of advice available, which includes the UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) Overseas Market Introduction Service tool and the British Chambers of Commerce training services, which both offer independent advice to SMEs.

DHL Express also offers help and advice to all businesses looking to grow internationally, and has a dedicated team of export advisors on hand to help small businesses begin their exporting journey.

For more information, please visit http://dhlguide.co.uk/talk-to-us/ or call our Export Advisor hotline on 0844 248 0675.

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Jun 8, 2021

UK office space slashed as hybrid working looks set to stay

offices
hybridworking
realestate
PwC
Kate Birch
3 min
As more UK firms announce a hybrid way of working, new research suggests a third of businesses will reduce their office footprint by more than 30%

With hybrid predicted to be the working model of the future, and businesses both large and small announcing that WFH will continue for employees into the future, the traditional office space is being re-thought.

Businesses are both questioning how much space they need for a hybrid working future, especially if it means they can potentially save money, and what form that space should take.

UK firms slashing office space

Back as early as February, HSBC – whose real estate footprint currently stretches to around 112 football pitches worldwide – said it would be cutting its post-COVID office space by half globally and by 40% in London over the next few years, as it looks to implementation of a hybrid working model in light of the pandemic.

Lloyds Bank followed suit. Following an internal survey where 77% of employees said they wanted to continue to work for 3+ days a week post-pandemic, the bank announced it was also moving to a hybrid model, and so looking to cut its office space by 20% over the next two years.

In fact, the latest research from consulting firm PwC reveals that a third of organisations surveyed (258 of the UK’s largest companies) believe they will reduce their office footprint by more than 30%.

The findings of PwC’s Occupier Survey indicate there is likely to be a sizeable fall in occupied office space with half of executives surveyed saying that despite taking into account mass vaccinations, employees will continue to work virtually 2-3 days a week.

And companies continue to announce the hybrid working model for their employees. Accountancy firm EY has just announced that its 17,000 employees are moving to a hybrid way of working, WFH for at least two days a week. This follows PwC which in March said workers could stay at home for half the time and KPMG which this month said it would expect employees to only work two days in the office every week.

More collaborative work spaces

However, what’s also clear from PwC’s research is that the role of the office is not going to disappear completely, but instead adapt to a new way of working, with half of all organisations with more than 100 employees saying they have a real estate and workplace strategy that considers the long-term impact of COVID-19.

“We may see an increased demand for flexible space as many businesses operating models may well need that option if holding dead space is to be avoided,” says Angus Johnson, UK Real Estate Leader at PwC UK.

According to the survey, more than three quarters of respondents said they are likely to reconfigure existing office with 43% of financial services firms stating that they are extremely likely to do so as a result of the pandemic.

“It’s also clear that the nature and purpose of office space is going to change. As occupiers seek new, different space to meet their accommodation needs, environmental aspects will be increasingly important. If the real estate sector is to truly succeed as a more dynamic, greener industry it’s imperative that creative thinking comes to the fore.”

And companies are already thinking creatively how they can utilise office space in a hybrid future. So while HSBC is cutting a significant amount of office space, it is not downsizing its prestigious Canary Wharf headquarters, and instead reimagining the space. In April, CEO Noel Quinn announced the firm was embracing an open plan floor, with no designated desks or private offices, and instead using hot-desks in line with the future hybrid working style. “My leadership team and I have moved to a fully open-plan floor of the building in east London with no designated desks,” he said on LinkedIn.

Lloyds also reported it was adapting its office space, so that rather than individual offices, it will have a more collaborative workspace. And just last month, KPMG announced it too was ditching desks and individual offices, and replacing them with meeting rooms and conference halls for a more collaborative workspace.

 

 

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