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Service Provider Forum packed with advice

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BHETA’s first Business Service Provider Forum proved a popular event for supplier members with an excellent turn out at Federation House on November 19th. 

The event was billed as a showcase for BHETA’s comprehensive offer of added value and special rate business services for members, including an export clinic for those wishing to pose questions to the BHETA Export Committee.  In reality, the Forum proved much more than a showcase as speakers presented a series of radical insights into the probable effects of currency fluctuations, forthcoming legislative change, the impact of counterfeiting, the future of cross border fulfilment and the best ways to maximise the potential of Amazon as a route to market.

Trevor Charsley of AFEX set out the likely scenarios for currency fluctuations between Sterling and the US dollar and Sterling and the Euro in the wake of different potential election outcomes and the consequent implications for BREXIT.  Entitled ‘Getting a Good night’s Sleep’, his presentation outlined potential hedging strategies to mitigate the effects of exchange rate instability.

Salesupply’s Vera Costa looked at the factors influencing the choice between cross border shipping and cross border fulfilment for ecommerce traders delivering product into multiple territories.  A review of the options included the latest innovations in the industry including smart boxes, dynamic re-routing, fitting rooms on location and multi-label parcel shops, as well as a run down on the most important factors for consumers.  These were, in order of importance, intact, on time and low cost with 61% of customers willing to pay extra for next day delivery.  Vera also highlighted the importance of an effective returns policy.

Laura Chalkley of HR lawyers Ellis Whittam reviewed the implications for employers not only of a post-BREXIT scenario, but also of the The Good Work Plan.  In particular, she focussed on changes to company’s obligations in terms of employment checks and contractual rights in the so-called GIG economy.  The presentation blended a review of the legal position with advice on preparation for change and the importance of assisting good employees affected.

Jack Cooper of RT7 Digital which specialises in supporting brands trading on Amazon gave a clear demonstration of best practice on this channel, bearing in mind its use not only for purchase but also for shopper research.  Showing examples of brands maximising potential and others falling short, he exhorted suppliers to defend their brands to the hilt online; and recommended his preferred routes for keyword research.

i-CRC works with suppliers to combat counterfeiting and its services range from suggesting practical ways of prevention and identification, through to tracking down and prosecuting culprits on a global scale.  Lorraine Fisher of i-CRC provided a fascinating insight into the nature and scale of counterfeiting with examples of typical fraudulent scenarios.  In the context of many suppliers seeking to develop their export capabilities, the fact that counterfeiting is not only increasing all the time; but doing so especially in new markets is a sobering thought.

Paul van Danzig is a director and policy advisor at Wastepack, so ideally placed not only to explain the current compliance requirements for suppliers in terms of packaging waste – and why costs are presently ‘sky-rocketing’ – but also the implications of probable new legislation in this area.  Not only might this alter the definition of ‘obligated producer’ to include many more supplier businesses, but it is also likely to see the full cost of dealing with packaging waste transferred from the public sector to private sector suppliers.  Paul gave advice to BHETA members on options they could consider and he strongly suggested that all suppliers should take an interest in the proposals and make their views known to Government.

Commenting on the event, BHETA’s Member Services Manager, Nicola Adams-Brown, who chaired the Forum, said, “This was a very successful session, packed with timely advice for members on subjects which reach to heart of their businesses.  It combined longer-term strategic advice, with practical short-term tips, as well as being an excellent networking occasion.  BHETA will definitely repeat its Business Service Providers Forum event in the future.”

BHETA offers members access to a wide range of support services via its 29 business support provider members.  These service providers offer members significant discounts, free assistance or advice and guidance.  Areas of expertise covered include environmental advice, exhibitions, legal, HR, corporate risk, logistics, marketing, data, recruitment and software, as well as media and industry partners.

For more information about BHETA membership, contact the Member Services Team on 0121 237 1130

Source: BHETA, November 2019

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