In this month’s 5 in Five segment of the Small Business Edge podcast, I interviewed Rudi Leuschner, Associate Professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management and Program Director for the online Master and Science and Supply Chain Management Program at Rutgers Business School.
His research focuses on end-to-end supply chain and the integration of its three primary flows, products, information, and finances. I asked Rudi five questions about supply chain management and logistics. Below are highlighted excerpts from our conversation.
Brian Moran: What is the current state of supply chain in America?
Rudi Leuschner: Things are certainly less disruptive than they have been over the last two years! The transportation issues we’ve seen have largely resolved themselves, so hopefully it is smoother sailing up ahead. However, disruptions can always happen whether they are weather related or labor issues or logjams at the ports.
Brian: Were there any silver linings in the supply chain mess?
Rudi: Businesses today are more resilient because of the supply chain disruptions. They learned that holding extra inventory, finding alternative suppliers, or arranging for alternate modes of transportation should be more of a proactive measure rather than a reactive one.
Brian: What should American businesses expect when importing and sourcing materials from China next year?
Rudi: For decades, American businesses have built factories and relationships in China. In 2023, U.S. companies will look to move operations and partnerships to other countries in Asia or Central America, for example. However, China will still play a key role as exporter to America. In some cases, exiting the China market is either too costly or not possible for American businesses.
Brian: What is your outlook for importing and exporting around the world next year? Are there any specific opportunities or obstacles that you see specifically for American companies?
Rudi: I believe that global markets will welcome any stability or normalization they can get next year. There are still many financial and labor obstacles that exist today that will still be issues in 2023.
Brian: What's the best approach to supply chain financing for business owners next year given higher interest rates, ongoing inflation concerns, and higher variable costs?
Rudi: Supply chain financing has been a critical topic for importers and exporters over the past two years. Small and midsize companies that dealt with inventory delays turned to supply chain financing to help ease cash flow concerns.
Brian: Thanks Rudi for your time today and sharing your insights on what business owners can expect from their supply chains in 2023.