US, China trade war takes supply chains by storm
- The U.S. may be about to put tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, as a public comment period on the announced duties ends Thursday. China said it is ready to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of goods, the Associated Press reported.
- An escalation of the trade war could affect 11 million jobs in the U.S., according to an analysis conducted by Axios, with rural and low-population counties hit the hardest.
- The ongoing trade war has led many companies, including Harley-Davidson and Steve Madden, to shift sourcing and production, Financial Times reports.
For supply chain managers, the current winds of a trade war and the resulting shifts in strategy, planning and process are but the latest economic event that we need to deal with.
I don’t want to minimize the business disruption and uncertainty we are experiencing. Politics, economics and technology are combining in a perfect storm type of scenario. It's like the "French toast" storms in New England, when hordes of shoppers stock up on bread and milk amid escalating panic.
But panic needs to be kept to a minimum. As my father would say when I thought some adolescent event was rocking my world, "this too shall pass."
Those of us who have been at this a while, and for me decades (ugh!), this is just the latest in a series of supposed life changing events that would dramatically reshape our business world, with some claiming a new world order coming around the next corner.
I’m still waiting.
I’ve been on the buy side through economic expansions and recessions, the quality revolution, political swings to the right and left, offshoring, energy and precious metal shortages, a few wars, Y2K, horrific terror attacks and now the threat of robots taking over the world, or at least our jobs. But I’m still here ... as are most of my suppliers.
For the most part, the fundamentals of business have not changed that much. At the end of the day, we participate in the traditional dance of the buyer and seller, in a process that has gone on just about forever. And that in itself is comforting.
Business relationships work to figure out the best way conduct business despite all of the external noise. Most of my supplier small talk revolves around sports, weather or family, not United States-Sino relationships. While external pressures make us look through different lenses, it makes our jobs more interesting and our positions more valuable.
Waiting for today’s new world order? Relax. This too shall pass.