Is Supply Management the Economic Cure Everyone is Looking For?

In a recent article over on the ISM site that asks [if] your supply chain [is] ready for stagflation, the authors state that the current economic outlook for the long-term is stagflation, which they also state is practically unavoidable because the drivers are difficult to reverse. However, they also state that it may be shortened if the right actions are taken.

What are the right actions? According to the authors, the period of stagflation may be shortened if investments are geared toward revamping and improving supply chains, a task which falls under the purview of Supply Management. Why will this help?

Consider the situation, as summarized by the authors:

  • we’re in a recession that is the deepest since WWII,
  • the NIA thinks we are headed toward hyperinflation, but the US Federal Reserve believes otherwise; regardless
  • a long recession builds pent-up demand for consumer goods, at a time when
  • interest rates are at a historical low,
  • unemployment is still high, and
  • the Federal Reserve Bank has pumped significant capital into the economy.
  • Historically, increased consumer spending pulls the economy out of recession, but
  • consumer confidence, and spending, usually improves with expectations of (near) future improvements in the economy. When this occurs
  • if companies cannot meet demand, we’ll see “demand-pull” inflation and
  • if inflation occurs, the Federal Reserve will likely increase interest rates.
  • Right now, inventories are too low and
  • manufacturing is experiencing significant cost pressures. Thus,
  • the outlook is low profitability for manufacturers and
  • low profitability and inflation will result in slow, or no, economic growth — stagflation!

Now consider what will happen if Supply Management is allowed to invest considerable dollars in revamping supply chains.

  • Increased efficiency and optimally balanced inventories will prevent the “demand-pull” inflation that is predicted to occur and
  • as a result, interest rates will likely stay reasonable.
  • Cost pressures will decrease as a result of re-balancing of production to minimize logistics costs, increase efficiency, and use more affordable materials which will result in
  • profitability for manufacturers increasing.
  • A resurgence of corporate faith in the economy will lead to more hiring,
  • which will renew consumer confidence, and since they will have more dollars to spend as a result of decreased unemployment levels,
  • spending will increase, releasing the pent-up demand for consumer goods, and then the
  • economy will rebound.

No stagflation. I think the authors of the piece over on the ISM site that asks [if] your supply chain [is] ready for stagflation are brilliant. Because, with a careful analysis, it really does look like better Supply Management, with investments in supply chain improvements across the board (which result in more job creation immediately), can pull the economy out of the funk it is in.