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SCRC Meeting: Mapping the Road Ahead in a Time of Daily Disconcerting Tweets

This week we announced the theme of our upcoming Supply Chain Resource Cooperative meeting.  The theme of the meeting, “Mapping the Road Ahead in Uncertain Times”, brings together a number of industry experts to share insights and develop some thoughts on how organizations can plan ahead to deal with the many surprising events that pop up every week in the news.

The current political and economic environment we find ourselves in is indeed full of surprises, both positive and negative. The election of Donald Trump surprised the pundits, the general public, and I believe, Donald Trump himself! The global community has also expressed the uncertainty imposed by these events, which is stoked further by the on-going ad hoc communications from the new President.  Not a day goes by without Trump’s Tweets sending individual investors and executives scrutinizing the press, trying to understand the impacts of what the sudden changes mean for their industry, their company, and their jobs.  Our loyal readers of Supply Chain View from the Field have also expressed surprise at what this means for the supply chain.

On the plus side, the markets have reacted favorably. The new administration has promised to spend more money on infrastructure, highways, airports, and other elements that could ease the ailing logistics networks that have been sagging under the pressure for years. He has also promised to revisit Dodd Frank, improve the clogged approval processes of the FDA, and lower the corporate tax rate which could generate a boost to the economy.

But everyone is holding their breath for the budget to come out. It costs money to build infrastructure, yet Trump has stated he wants to cut taxes, which could produce a deficit. He has taken to attacking specific companies on their globalization strategies. In fact, he seems to be on the side of eliminating all trade agreements including the TPP and NAFTA. These changes produce uncertainty, and could impact not only the balance of trade, but also the regulatory environment and tariffs that could impact many companies. There are many questions that arise in this environment for supply chain executives.  This is an example of the types of questions on the minds of many executives I am speaking with.

  • What does Trump’s withdrawal of the TPP mean for domestic and international trade in the U.S.?
  • What is the likely outcome of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act for the healthcare and life sciences industry?
  • How will the global economic community react to the changes that are likely to occur?
  • What will be the overall impact on global and regional economic growth?
  • How will the ban on immigration, as well as the construction of “the wall”, impact the domestic labor force? Which sectors are likely to see labor shortages, escalating wage rates, and capacity constraints in the market?  I have spoken with numerous supply chain students who are very worried indeed about their chances of landing a job in this environment.
  • How will regulatory changes in the energy and agriculture market change the flow of goods and services in the domestic economy?
  • What will be the likely impact of Trump’s impact on acquisitions in multiple markets, (AT&T and NBCUniversal being the most recent)?
  • What are the key triggers and events that supply chain executives should monitor and be aware of that will impact supply and demand in the economy?

My Keynote Address, “Impact of the New Administration on the Supply Chain” will kick off the meeting, followed by a number of presentations by economic and industry experts who have deep knowledge of these issues. The meeting is a private forum for open discussion of problems faced by executives with a common interest in driving intelligent solutions to a largely undefined and challenging public sector environment.

The meeting agenda will include:

  • An SCRC Board of Advisors meeting (by invitation only)
  • An update on SCRC programs and services since the last meeting.
  • The Keynote address “Impact of the Trump Presidency on the Supply Chain” by Dr. Rob Handfield, Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management and Executive Director of the SCRC.
  • Timothy Barnes, Asia Pacific Consulting, on “What Does the US Departure from the TPP Signify?”
  • Jason Schenker, Prestige Economics, on “Planning for Fat Tails: Economic, Financial Market, and Policy Expectations in a Time of Uncertainty”. (All participants will receive a free copy of Mr. Schenker’s online book)
  • Industry Perspectives on the Trump Presidency.” An industry panel will follow with insights and opinions offered by a group of cross-industry professionals from the electronics, manufacturing, energy, and government sectors.
  • Supply chain professionals and practitioners networking opportunities.
  • The meeting will culminate with the Poole College of Management Gallery Walk, known as the “Leadership and Innovation Showcase” presenting ~70 graduate and undergraduate practicum projects completed by all academic concentrations within the Poole College of Management this semester.

A networking reception with presentation of student awards will follow the gallery walk on Thursday, April 20th and will be attended by supply chain professionals, as well as a number of NC State administrators, faculty and students. This is an enjoyable event that showcases our students and facilitates an informal networking opportunity for them to interact with corporate executives and to learn about supply chain issues in person, face to face with executives who are also seeking insights from these young people.  You won’t want to miss this one!