APICS is the premier professional association for supply chain management.

In Financial Environments, Ambiguity and Doubt Prevail

by APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi CSCP, CPA, CAE | N/A 2011 | 0 | 0

This week the news headlines speak volumes for the uncertainty that dominates business markets as of late. Tuesday's Washington Postheadline reads "Worst Day for World Markets Since '08," in response to Monday's 635 loss on the Dow. Wednesday, the same paper tells a contrasting story: "Stocks Rally as Fed Pledges Low Rates for Two Years," describing Tuesday's Dow gain of 429 points. Later this week, we saw "U.S., European Markets Plunge Again " and "U.S. Stocks Stage Dramatic Rebound."

This week's Economist cover features a bleak picture of a woman getting ready to take a swim with a menacing shark just underwater. The headline is even bleaker: "Time for a Double Dip: The growing fear of another American recession."

"This ought to have been a good week for the American economy. The country's leaders at last ended a ludicrously irresponsible bout of fiscal brinkmanship, removing the threat of global financial Armageddon by agreeing to raise the federal debt ceiling," Economist authors write. "Yet far from heaving a sigh of relief, investors are nervous. Stockmarkets around the world have tumbled."

The article goes on to describe how the recovery in the United States has been slow and fragile, with the 2008 recession deeper than originally thought and the recovery more level than first predicted and output growth only at 1.6 percent. In fact, over the last six months, the US economy has grown only 0.8 percent. 

The Economist
 doesn't paint an entirely dire portrait of the US financial state of affairs; yet it does chastise political decision makers. "If America does manage to avoid recession and slowly begins to pull out of this mire, it will be testimony to its underlying strengths. It sill has huge advantages over other rich countries: younger, less taxed population; a more innovative economy; and, for now at least, the dollar as the global reserve currency. If only it had the political leaders to match, its chance of avoiding recession would be far better than one in two."

Holding your ground

The 2008 recession forced operations and supply chain management experts to grow as professionals and stretch their understanding of supply and demand. Now the threat of a double dip leaves us all uneasy. However, in part because of that knowledge gain, supply chain and operations management professionals stand poised to help businesses better withstand an economic crisis.

Still, this doesn't make the situation easier to stomach. The thought of facing, let alone withstanding, another recession can make professionals feel beat down. APICS doesn't have all the answers, but it can provide a community of peers who are facing the same challenges. Supply chain and operations management professionals have a big role to play to ensure the international economy functions more like an international community. 

I am looking forward to seeing you at APICS 2011.  It is where we all need to be, together, advancing productivity, innovation, and competitive success.

In other news

How APICS Operations Management Now relates to you

Operations management is everywhere. Today, operations management professionals have unprecedented impacts on the global economy. Consider these questions and how today's edition of APICS Operations Management Now relates to you and your career. 

  • What lessons have you learned from the global economic downturn of the past few years?

  • In times of economic uncertainty, how do you enhance your value to your employer or to prospective employers?

  • Have you met colleagues and formed lasting connections through APICS? What are some other ways that your APICS affiliation has helped you in your career?

All comments will be published pending approval. Read the APICS Comment Policy.


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