The 11th Day of Christmas – Potential Supply Chain Impact of Scottish Independence

Procurement Strategy for Pipers

As you know, we are one of the UK’s largest buyers of Pipers Piping. We have sourced our Pipers for many years from a number of traditional suppliers, all of them based in Scotland, perhaps not surprisingly.

However, we now need to consider the inherent risks in this situation. With less than two years to go before the Scottish population vote on independence in 2014,  we need to consider our sourcing strategy given the possibility that the country could leave the UK within 3 or 4 years.

The European Union has already intimated that Scotland will need to re-apply for membership of the Community. This could take anything from two to twenty years we believe.  In the meantime, there may be a range of issues that could affect the supply of Pipers.

1. We may see export tariffs imposed by the UK or the EU meaning that genuine Scottish pipers will become considerably more expensive.

2. Scotland may itself impose restrictions on the sale of Pipers – if they are considered a strategic national asset – and let’s face it, they don’t have much else – there could be a move to “keep our Pipers in Scotland”.

3. Other legislative issues might also cause sourcing or operational problems – for instance, if we lose the harmonisation of health and safety laws, we may find that kilts that are acceptable in Scotland become seen as a hazard in the rest of the UK.

4. Scottish professional and technical qualifications may no longer be recognized outside that country. Pipers may have to re-take their piping exams in order to be permitted to play south of the border.

5.. We may even see civil unrest or a renewal of the ancient border hostilities in the North East of England – trucks highjacked on the A1 in Northumberland, the partitioning of Berwick on Tweed...

Given all of this, we are developing a strategic sourcing plan to put some appropriate risk mitigation in place. My team will be visiting Ireland, Brittany and Northumbria to test alternative Pipers, and we will report back to the Board in the Spring.

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Voices (3)

  1. Ian Burdon:

    Funny you should say that – some of the earliest references to Morris Dancing in the UK are in the Scottish Treasury records. Alas, the Reformation swept them, and much else, away. I blogged about it once –

  2. JRTomlin:

    Actually, since it is plain that Scotland will have to give something up in the post-vote negotiations, since Scotland will be keeping all the oil and gas, there are strong indications Scotland will force England to keep all the pipers. There are rumors England will try to force Scotland to take the Morris dancers but I’m pretty sure Scotland will resist any such move.
    (Editor’s note – Love that idea!!)

  3. Ian Burdon:

    A word of warning: watch out for freelance German pipers available under the usual consultancy arrangements. The last time any of them got a gig (in Hamlyn I believe) there was substantial civil unrest following the still unexplained disappearance of a large percentage of the school-age population.

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