Stratford-upon-Avon-based Tappex, which makes threaded inserts for a variety of industries around the world – from marine to mobile phone networks, is one of only a handful of Midlands companies to secure Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.

The approval, issued by HMRC, is a quality mark that is recognised around the world to confirm adherence to a range of supply chain standards and evidence of compliance to customs procedures.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Hub is advising firms to investigate the AEO scheme in light of the UK’s exit from the European Union as it could help ease the movement of goods onto the continent.

And, in Tappex’s case, the company is looking to broaden its international market even further after receiving the accreditation.

Sharon Veitch, Group Customs Compliance Manager for Tappex, said: “We make 120 million pieces a year and 76 per cent of those go abroad. That includes Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

“We knew that leaving the EU could disrupt our European exports and attended the Chamber’s events on Brexit to see if we could mitigate that.

“We attended training courses with the Chamber and that also led to one-to-one support with David Hooper, of Hooper and Co International Trade Ltd.

“It became clear that securing AEO status was going to be a very important process for us as this could be crucial when it comes to exporting to Europe post Brexit. Not only that, it’s an internationally recognised accreditation that originates from the USA so we are confident it will open new doors for us too.

“Our threaded inserts are used in millions of products worldwide – including by almost every Formula One racing team – so they meet the very highest standards and this accreditation means we have all the international trade processes to match.”

Tappex Managing Director Tim Barnsdale said: “We pride ourselves on offering customers a solution before they even know there is a problem, and this is a further example of how we look to overcome an issue before there is one.”

The company is now looking to take on new apprentices to meet current and anticipated demand.

James Ahearne, International Trade Hub Manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is fantastic news for Tappex and we’re pleased to be supporting a local company that is taking proactive steps to prepare for Britain’s departure from the EU.

“Brexit has brought AEO status into sharp focus as a way of proving that all of a business’s processes around customs and security of supply chain meet the highest standards, and that is something that overseas customers are keen to have in place.

“So while the exit from the EU has spurred businesses on to achieve the status, it is pertinent to all international trade and this will stand Tappex in very good stead in the months and years to come.”

David Hooper, of Hooper and Co International Trade Ltd, added: “Tappex is one of very few firms in the region to have achieved AEO status.

“Companies might be operating a ‘wait and see’ policy when it comes to Brexit and the January 31 deadline but we would urge businesses to act now and move forward with getting AEO, because it is a process that brings wider benefits than just the status itself as it ensures robust practices and processes are being followed.”