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7th April 2017

Health Tech Trading in Turbulent Times – Battening down for Brexit

‘May you live in interesting times’ – Ancient Chinese Curse

The world is in a state of real change. Brexit, Trump’s presidency and uncertainty across Europe are all set to have a big impact over the coming years, bringing new challenges and opportunities for businesses in the health tech and medical industry.

In this first in a new series of articles about global change and opportunities in the medical and health technology sector, we take stock – providing a quick overview of current and upcoming events, and the potential impact for businesses operating in our industry.
We’ll then take a closer look at the potential implications of Brexit, analysing the potential impact on trade, and looking at what businesses can do to steer a safe course through the upcoming storm and take advantage of potential opportunities as they arise. In future months, we will consider each of the following global events in turn.

Global events – a quick overview

The world is at a crossroads, and big changes in the global economic and political climate that are already having a real impact on businesses in our industry:

• Britain & Brexit – We’re now firmly on the path to Brexit, and this could have far reaching impacts to the industry in terms of regulations, trade deals, currency valuations and the EU.
• Trump & Protectionism – The Trump administration’s commitment to protectionist trade policies and the changing dynamic of the US relations with the rest of the world could have serious implications for our industry, especially for those exporting to the US.
• Political Uncertainty in Europe – Upcoming referenda and elections in France, Netherlands and Germany could challenge the political establishment in Europe, with serious economic consequences for our industry in terms of cross border trade.
• International Relations – The dynamic is changing – emerging superpowers like China and India, global conflict and a clear shift in the relationships between the world’s major powers is bringing new challenges and opportunities to businesses in our sector.
• Confidence in Asia – Uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the future of the EU is beginning to impact on confidence in Asia – with far-reaching consequences to the supply chain.

Britain & Brexit – An uncertain future

The road to Brexit is now underway, and there has already been a huge amount of debate about the potential impact on the global medical and health tech sector.
Whilst there have been a lot of predictions from industry leaders about what could happen, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the shape that Brexit will take, and what it could mean to the industry in terms of:

• Regulations – how industry rules and regulations could change
• Trade deals – the trade tariffs and tax implications for cross border trade
• Currency valuation – the value of Sterling and the potential impact for importers and exporters across the continent
• The wider impact on the EU – how Brexit could influence European politics

In the short term, we are already seeing an impact. The weakening of Sterling is good news for exporters and bad news for importers, whilst uncertainty about the direction Brexit will take is having an impact on supplier confidence, especially in Asian markets.

Taking action – how Lime Associates can help

There’s a lot to consider in light of Brexit. Big changes come with unique challenges and opportunities – and if businesses in the medical technology sector are to thrive in these uncertain times, it’s vital that they take steps to manage risk, secure their supply chains and futureproof their organisations.

At Lime Associates, our experts are here to help businesses make the right decisions and to create an effective Brexit strategy, preparing their distribution networks, supply chains and purchasing for the impact of Brexit.

We can support you with:

Assessing the importance of Europe

Thoroughly examining your European operations, we can help you to make the necessary changes needed to do business in a post Brexit EU. Where appropriate, we can help you to find and assess new distribution and/or supply partners. It may also present a useful opportunity to find additional supply partners for critical materials – and these may be outside of Europe.

Securing the supply chain

By taking steps to improve the strength, stability and flexibility of your European supply chain, we can help put your business in the best position possible to face changes head on. Our team has an excellent track record in analysing supply chains, building new supplier partnerships and finding new sources for key materials and components.

Optimising the purchasing process

Currency fluctuations, changes in tariffs and taxation and the new trade deal with the EU will all impact on the prices you pay when buying goods and services from the EU. We can help to ensure that you get best value from your purchasing through effective sourcing, and the negotiation of robust, sustainable and favourable deals with your suppliers.

Next time – Asian Supply Chain

Over the coming months, we’ll be exploring all these global events in detail on the blog. Next month, we’ll be looking at Asia, and examining the impact of global uncertainty, fear of Brexit, currency fluctuations and changing trade regulations on the supply chain, supplier relationships and international trade.
We’ll also be looking closely at the steps businesses within the industry should be taking to shore up supplier relationships in Asia and create a flexible supply chain capable of reacting to big changes in the trade landscape.

In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about how Lime Associates can help your business to overcome supply chain and purchasing challenges, contact an expert member of our team today on +44 (0) 114 213 8306, or email



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