Economist Brian Beaulieu sees an improving economy over the next 24 months, with forward thinking companies expanding their capabilities. Is your supply chain ready for 2017?
The upcoming Supply Chain Outlook Summit 2015 will feature 10 different speakers who have their fingers on the pulse of the most important changes impacting supply chain management over the next 2-3 years. At the event, Brian Beaulieu will present a keynote speech detailing the upcoming economic forecast for the supply chain.
An economist with ITR Economics since 1982 and its CEO since 1987, Beaulieu has been providing workshops and economic analysis seminars in seven countries and to thousands of business owners and executives for the last 31 years. Over that period, Beaulieu has also consulted with companies that need a domestic and global perspective on how to forecast, plan, and increase their profits based on business cycle trend analysis.
In this Q&A with Supply Chain Outlook, Beaulieu discusses how supply chain managers need to prepare now for the projected economic growth – both domestically and in Europe – that’s in store for 2016, 2017, and beyond.
SCO: What main topic do you plan to cover in your keynote?
Beaulieu: As an economist, I’m looking carefully right now at the positive economic growth trends that are coming in 2016 and 2017. We expect the domestic economy to do better across this 24-month period, which means companies should be thinking now about how to scale up for and accommodate this expansion.
SCO: Why is this an important topic right now?
Beaulieu: Companies need to have the right levels of qualified labor, working capital, and equipment to successfully manage their growth and be profitable. If they aren’t prepared in advance, they’re going to find that these key resources (labor, capital, and equipment) are in short supply. Labor is obviously already an issue across many sectors, and you can’t get new capital equipment at the drop of a hat. The companies that have to scramble to create capacity won’t be as profitable as those that prepare ahead.
SCO: What does this mean for supply chain managers?
Beaulieu: Managing the supply chain means making sure you have enough materials and resources to produce at a profitable level. Going forward, supply chain managers will find that there are more throughput requests across every aspect of their supply chains. That will put added pressures on managers. For example, some will have to support growth at a time when they don’t have enough labor, or the wherewithal to handle the increase in business. They may be forced to deal with a host of challenges that will wind up draining their efficiencies and hurting their operations.
SCO: What else should attendees know about the potential impacts of your positive outlook?
Beaulieu: It’s important to know that all aspects of a business are profit centers, so be ready for the increased workload that’s coming your way. The U.S. consumer is in great shape and will be increasing his and her spending levels in 2016. Con- currently, we see positive indicators for the European economy. That means that the two largest global economies will be engaged in a new, rising trend that’s going to make its first run in 2016. In addition, as Mexico continues to supplant Canada as a manufacturing source/partner, the country will be a crucial part of everyone’s business plan for 2016-18. Near-shoring is a growing reality, and Mexico is coming on very strong within that context.